C4 ‘Demolition Detectives’ Tower blocks

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    • #705758
      DARA H

      Did anybody see the programme on channel 4 tonight about two (council) tower blocks in Hull in Britain being demolised? I was struck when watching the commentators walk around the building – after it had been completely stripped down to its bare concrete surfaces – walls. columns etc – how relatively new it all looked. There was also no mention of it been in any way not structurally sound. It was the usual story – a ‘social experiment’ gone wrong. THe council had moved everybody out and into two storey houses again ‘cos of the usual problems.
      It got me thinking though – was there once some proposal to keep one of the Balymun towers here for students? One of the problems mentioned in the Hull example was that its was isolated – Balymun isn’t that bad and nothing that a shuttle bus service couldn’t solve. In one university campus i stayed in for a year they ran late nite (private hired) buses – including univeristy mini-buses to take students back at the end of the night. From the campus -(council) tower blocks were visible in the not so far away distance – there was only some security – vehicle access securty card controlled and i never saw any problems. The campus had c.2000 students in 20+ buildings up to 4 storeys. Another block in another part of the city was over ten storeys.
      Quite a few tower blocks in Br. are being renovated & there’s even some voluntary(?)group dedicated to it. I studied some innovative ideas on such aswell.
      End – point, third level students seem to have a desperate time getting accomodation – some of the Balymun flats could have been made into a closed off student campus – not socially/ politically correct but…. never saw any problems in the place i was at and, in any other case i would have said it would have been a nightmare slum!
      Are there any tower blocks left in Ireland where this could be done?!

    • #721271
      Luke Gardnier

      Saw this myself last night but the most puzzling thing to me is that the architect(s) designed solid walls with the consequent resulting condensation (frozen air outside warm moist air inside) and health problems. For that major design fault alone it’s a wonder they stood so long. The problems relating to waste disposal (bottles rattling down the chutes at 2am) was another that should have been envisaged. But I agree if properly built and managed similar blocks in Dublin could have provided much needed student type accommodation and then probably six packs been hauled up the chutes at 2am !! Another scheme of these type blocks stands on St. Michaels Estate, Emmet Road Dublin 8.

    • #721272

      Great programme. As for Ballymun being turned into student accommodation, surely the cost would be astronomical given the scale of the development. And I can’t see that there would be a demand for 15,000-odd student flats beside DCU…
      By the way, Fingal County Council recently turned down a planning application by the Ballymun regeneration company for a concrete crushing plant for the towers near Dublin Airport.

    • #721273

      Interesting show, but how quickly people forget. Tower blocks were also to free up surrounding land for recreational space, as well as city space. However Corbu had sun and sea to offer, while Hull & Ballymun seemed to offer treeless mud as a preferred landscape architecture.

      Same condensation problem in Ballymun, intensified by use of portable Gas Heaters, remember them?

      Stranger still was the decision was to knock the Nurses Home at St Vincents Hospital, rather than use it as student accomodation for nearby UCD. I guess this was still in good shape as Matron would have ensured standards maintained.

      Useful reminder of lots of money down the drain.

    • #721274

      Up close the nurses home looked awful, but I liked its distant shape as you came in on the DART. The new developement in Merrion has a very monotonous skyline. Did everything have to be the same height?

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