Re: Re: Should the Clarence Hotel redevelopment get permission?
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The An Bord PleanÃ¡la Inspector’s Report includes some devestating criticisms of the design and its impact on its surroundings:
“In my opinion, the design of the proposed development is conceptually brilliant, but contextually illiterate. The result is something architecturally exquisite on its own but completely self-gratifying in a location that demands much less. All of the great monumental buildings along the quays stand independently aside from the traditional terraces. Indeed, they stand back from the quayside and from their separate independence they offer their own statement. In truth, the proposed development, for the very reason that it is proposed to be sited within a terrace of structures of historical significance on the quays (within a terrace that it cannot and should not disassociate itself from), proves to be misplaced. It cannot be a monumental building in this context without the iconic terraced streetscape of the quays at this location implodingâ€¦.
In my opinion, it is fundamental to the legibility of the quays that this terrace is not adversely distorted, that it reads as a terrace, and that new interventions maintain a degree of respect for the urban grain, height, bulk, mass, finishes and scale. Regretfully, the proposed new hotel clearly seeks to break from the form and function of the terrace. The new design offers an independent expression, an attempt to produce something separate from the remainder of the terrace. The most fundamental constraint for the proposal is its terraced context. Once this is recognized the physical representation of the design concept loses its acceptabilityâ€¦.
If one looks at the new roof component proposed there are several important aspects that undermine the acceptability of the proposal. A single roof is intended to span the site in its entirety. The effect of the proposed development would be to raise the profile of the existing hotel itself by about 2 metres and then to extend this roofline across most of the site on its east to west axis, in effect raising the roofline of the Georgian section (Nos. 9-12) by about 13 metres, and that of Dollard House by about 9 metres. This seeks to create a uniformity and a height unknown to this quay and unknown to the terraced quays generally. With this, it presents a substantive introduction of bulk, mass and scaleâ€¦.
In my opinion, it must be recognized that the difficulty with the skycatcher is that it makes a significant architectural statement but does not unify the presence of the overall development to create a great structure in the manner that is achieved by the other great monumental structures on the quays. It is a victim of the constraints of its site and of its failure to adhere to a prerequisite that demands development to have a reasonable association with the quayside terrace structures in the vicinity. Its presence would assure omnipotence in its own self-representation but would condemn the coherence of the terrace as a feature of the Liffeyâ€™s iconic streetscapeâ€¦.
The impact on views along the Liffey would be profound. This is a new building designed to be seen. It is a building concept worthy of being seen, but not here. There is a distinctive, noticeable presence expressed by the design which I feel is ably demonstrated in the montage representations produced by the applicant. In the context of defining a structure within a terrace on the quays, this design is a big statement. It is for this reason that I find it particularly difficult to accept the applicantâ€™s references alluded to at the beginning of this assessment. I just do not get the impression that there is a necessity to tidy up and enhance the urban silhouette on Wellington Quay in the form now pursued. Yes, the mid-1990s roof level created a visual mess but to redress that demands a little more subtletyâ€¦.
The city centreâ€™s principal unifying design element is its quays. Preserving and enhancing the remaining historic fabric of pre- 1900s structures must form part of the cityâ€™s continuing development. Sympathy with and respect for the existing built form in terms of design and scale is crucialâ€¦.
The overall development cannot be seen to relate to the urban grain of this area. The character of this area is, thus, not reinforced by this proposal. As a consequence, the value of the Conservation Area is diminished. The developmentâ€™s incongruity in terms of design, scale, height, roof treatment, use of materials and general failure to respect the character of the existing architecture is unpalatable. It is my opinion that the proposed development has been adapted in isolation for isolation, to be read as a self portrait not as part of a landscape composition of terraced quays corralling the cityâ€™s river.”
(Inspectorâ€™s Report, Section 13.3, pages 73-76)