Re: Re: what now for Irish Times D’olier Street buildings?

Home Forums Ireland what now for Irish Times D’olier Street buildings? Re: Re: what now for Irish Times D’olier Street buildings?

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GrahamH
Participant

The curious little doorcase around the corner is one of the delights of this terrace. A real charmer. It has been beautifully conserved.

Some images of the rear area during construction. If there is one overriding sense of awe about this project, it is the immense skill, dexterity and professionalism displayed by the contractors, architects and project managers in working with one of the most challenging, dense and sensitive urban sites conceivable. It is of enormous credit to them to have executed this project under such testing circumstances.

Most of the cement render appears to have been removed and renewed in lime to the interior of the new atrium. The rabbit warren of the former The Irish Times offices is clearly apparent.

The demolished 20th century houses and retained red brick façade to the centre.

The site of the former 1950s printing works, looking west to the rear of the former EBS offices on Westmoreland Street.

Back to the front and the finishing touches that make every development, the developers saw fit to apply for planning permission for the erection of LED lighting strips the entire way along the terrace’s street façade, at both shopfront and attic storey level. Naturally, any design professional with an eye in their head would never propose such a brutal concept on a spartan, classically ordered Wide Streets Commission terrace, nor would an informed planner even consider it, or an active conservation office approve it under any circumstances. But this is Dublin.

One could not conceive a greater slap in the face to this elegant terrace if one tried.

Again, the very concept of applying floodlighting to a group of buildings such as this demonstrates a risible lack of understanding amongst design and planning professionals of what this terrace even is. This is streetscape. It is not a signature building – it is not even a building. It is a collective, an amalgam – ordinary street grain designed to complement wider urban set pieces. To increase its status in such a manner is to distort the very hierarchical design philosophy of the Wide Streets Commission that brought the terrace into being in the first place. The lighting’s addition so late in the day was merely the icing on the cake of a thoroughly misguided project.

John Spain Planning Associates spuriously claimed: “The classic lighting design will enhance and highlight the façade of this historic landmark in keeping with the area’s Architectural Conservation Area status and will bring life to the existing relief decorations of the façade.” “The proposed small lighting units’ size will result in an unobtrusive addition to the building”. “It is submitted that the proposed lighting scheme will provide visual interest, an increased feeling of public safety and accentuate the site’s local and national importance as a landmark structure.”

What?!!

What is more frightening is that the case planner backed it up, in the process erroneously stating that “the units shall be mounted on and concealed by the existing corbels at 1st and 4th floor levels.” Corbels? Concealed?

In some fairness, one cannot expect a planner to know all the ins and outs of historic building stock, so again we must turn to the Conservation Office for advice, only to find that no report was submitted on this case. Thus, there was no conservation input at DCC’s end into this critical planning decision. Yet again. The sole consolation is that that the lighting has a permission of only four years, after which time its impact shall be reviewed. I couldn’t be bothered going to the effort of taking a night time photograph of the lighting, as it is so gobsmackingly awful – even worse than the daytime impact of the units – that it would be unfair to disturb people any more than is necessary.

The shop units have great potential. The dual aspect corner shop would make a lovely café, with a charming shape and aspect, and bathed with sun until midday.

Running mould cornicing seems to survive in many of the units, and was well repaired/reproduced.

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