Re: Re: The Opera Centre

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@vitruvius wrote:

It’s not beyond the bounds of imagination to conserve these buildings AND to add infill behind.

It’d certainly make for a nice shopping experience (rather) than some glass and marble, air conditioned, security-guard patrolled shopping centre.

I agree with you there vitruvious, and I had thought that what you describe was the way that shopping centre design was heading. I thought we were moving away from enclosed malls into a new ‘sheltered street’ future.

Slightly askew plan of the Opera Centre, with the few retained buildings in brown.

The published street montages and the blurb (most recently in the cover article in ‘Built Environment’ Jan/Feb. 09) argue that the cull of historic fabric, and neo-Georgian in-fiil, is all for the purpose of creating a vibrant, innovative, contemporary, ‘Urban Mall’, but The lay-out and the published images of the interior look anything but innovative, or vibrant.

Published view across the Abbey River to Bank Place.

The internal ‘mall’ with the out-sized glazed entrance on the corner of Patrick St./Ellen St. doesn’t even run all the way through to Bank Place! The big glass box from the images of Bank Place isn’t the northern end of the ‘mall’ spilling out onto the ‘sculpture garden overlooking the river’, but instead is just a department store, or ‘anchor tennant’, that creates a cul-de-sac arrangement at the top of the ‘mall’. This would make the Opera Centre even more reminiscent of the miserable ‘Omni Centre’ in Santry, than the miserable ‘Crumlin Shopping Centre’ in Drimnagh!

Not only that, but the surprisingly heavy roof design of the truncated ‘mall’ looks like something out of a grim futuristic prison movie!

If you stand back and look at this scheme, the Opera Centre incorporates almost every bad idea from the last fifty years of urban regeneration:

Demolition of a entire ‘Georgian’ streetscape (the north side of Ellen Street).
Disembodied facade retention (Patrick Street & Rutland Street)
Reversal of 15 year old? ‘Georgian’ urban repair (Patrick Street & Rutland Street)
Aggressive (”bold”) architectural in-fill at ultra-sensitive locations (all street frontages)
The open invitation to misuse that is the fully glazed facade to multi-level retail space.
Out-dated enclosed cul-de-sac ‘mall’ typology instead of contemporay ‘sheltered street’ ideas.

On the positive side, this is a great location and a progressive regeneration proposal here would, without question, have the potential to massively reinforce the commercial heart of city centre and re-focus this centre up at the Abbey River, which is the linchpin of the historic city.

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