Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches
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This appaered in todays Sunday Independent. Unfortunately, the same more reflective appraoch to planning and development has not yet reached Cork County Council or Cobh Urban District Council and most certainly has dawned on the Heritage Unit of the Cork County Council, especilly in its approach to Cobh cathedral. The same old procedures are applied again, the same fascist attempts to keep the public (especially the interested public) out of the planning process, and the same justification of works on historic buildings based on the assessments of Council employees who, let’s face it, would not be likely professionally to survive in the open market context.
At least recession has made us think about proper planning
With construction slowing, maybe now we will think twice before scarring our landscape with more architectural eyesores, writes Eamon Delaney
Sunday March 15 2009
NOT everything about the recession is bad — one immediate good effect is on planning and architecture. Some terrible eyesores went up in the last decade, buildings erected with little care for design or the environment.
The fact that everything has slowed down is surely a good thing, for at least now we’ve a chance to properly look at the plans.
Already postponements have been made which can only be described as positive, and others have almost certainly been put on ice. Meanwhile, the rampant ‘bungalow blitz’ around the country which was ruining the landscape has also slowed.
Getting ‘maximum space’ was the key thing during the boom: building as far out on the pavement as possible, endangering pedestrians and giving no sense of space or perspective to the actual buildings. And, of course, less art was commissioned.
While some landmark buildings did go up, there were also shocking eyesores, such as the awful glass box and sterile plaza at the end of Dame Street, next to Dublin’s classic City Hall. It is completely out of scale and character with the street and with Dublin Castle behind it, and yet the authorities got away with it, because it is a city council building and so immune to the planning laws!
Thankfully, with the downturn, this sort of building, which everyone was too busy to question, has stopped and the cranes have stalled on the big important sites, just as the cement mixers stand idle next to half-finished Dallas-style houses all around the countryside.
Now that the money has run out maybe we’ll have a chance to think a bit more about proper planning in the future.
Other monstrosities put on ice recently include:
â€¢ The proposals for the old Dun Laoghaire Baths site caused major local controversy, and led to the subsequent rise of independent candidate Richard Boyd-Barrett.
The plan was for a high rise, private development with a hotel attached and was totally inappropriate to the shoreline.
â€¢ The plan for the Carlton cinema on O’Connell Street is technically active. It envisages ‘opening up’ the street and blowing a hole in the Victorian frontage worse than any damage done by the 1916 Rising. In an area already saturated with declining retail, yet another shopping centre is planned, but this time with a garden on its roof!
Anyway, as many have pointed out, the old Carlton site should rightly be the place for the new Abbey Theatre, rather than sending it off to the docklands.
â€¢ The Bank of Ireland HQ plan was a particularly shocking proposal as it involved an institution wrecking their own already acclaimed building.
Unveiled back in 1972, the Bank of Ireland’s distinctive black bronze headquarters on Baggot Street is rightly lauded as a landmark piece of Miesian modernism, with three separate blocks and big abstract sculptures in the spaces in between.
But the philistine bank planned to roof over the open spaces and put glass cladding around the bronze — ostensibly for ‘environmental reasons’, ie to get more space and value for money.
The poet Seamus Heaney was among those who spoke out against the barbarous changes, which have now been put on hold.
Given the current banking crisis, hopefully this will stay the case.