Conference Centre @ CityWest.

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    • #706717

      Judging from what was shown on RTE last night they are trying to pass off a huge shed (without planning permission) as a “National Conference Centre” some shed, some neck some location !!

    • #739021

      It’s not technically in CityWest at all. I have great respect for Davy-Hickey properties who have developed one of the worlds finest buisiness parks.

      The traffic generation potential from this adjoining and piggybacking project is frightening.

      Allow the risk takers behind the original project get paid,

      A number of appeals have been forwarded to ABP who haveb reversed many SDCC decisions in the past. Most notably on Liffey Valley on numerous occaisions. The CC who brought you the single entrance ParkWest Fiasco

      This could prove that acting before due process has been served can be costly

    • #739022

      Frank Mc Donald in today’s Irish Times:

      …It was to consist of a large shed-type building, two storeys high, with a neo-Georgian front, flanked by surface car parking….

      Sounds like a National Conference Shed… full stop is right… let’s hope Frank is right by saying.. It WAS to consist …

    • #739023

      The thing is the government’s inability to agree to build a centre has lead to this situation where any developer thinks they have a chance to get in there and put up something…anything! Personally I dont think the Government have any business building a conference centre… it is nothing to do with them.. However there has to be some sort of coordination of the private sector to develop an appropriate centre… or else we will end up with this type of muck.

    • #739024

      I agree fully with all three of you.

      Let us analyse the governments efforts to facilitate a National Conference centre.

      A competition was held in 1996 and won by the RDS consortium there was I think a £20 EU grant to be supplied to the successful consortium towards construction costs.

      Mary O’Rourke then Minister for Public Enterprise decided that the RDS bid was not ‘Right for the City’ (she of LUAS Fame) and declared another competition.

      This competition was won by the Spencer Dock Dev Corp using Kevin Roche’s excellent cylendrical design.

      SDDC submitted a plot ratio of about 5:1 for the site massing urban wallpaper around the conference centre which was rejected by ABP.

      This is scrapped and the Carlton Cinema is to get it, only that Treasury own a bar on Moore ST which is part of the Carlton Site and use it to block the Carlton project so that they have more time to resubmit the other buildings for the Docklands site.

      Now this

      Where is it going to end?

    • #739025

      “Kevin Roche’s excellent cylendrical design.” ????

    • #739026

      The proposed National Conference centre at Spencer Dock incorporated into it’s facade an angled cylender form.

      A tribute to the Gasometer that was taken down to facilitate the redevelopment of the former Bord Gais works on JR Quay.

      It was and remains an Excellent design I would really like to see it being built. Given that so many feel that the dockland architecture in Dublin is Bland

      It is certainly better than a ‘Barn’ with a cheezy mock Georgian facade complete with guilded lettering saying the crass councilors Ard Fheis Mart

      You reckon this one is a viable runner?

    • #739027

      I suppose ye have to kinda admire in a way Jim Mansfield for going ahead with this in the way that he did, despite breaking the law, but considering the governments gross inadequacy in dealing with the issue of a National Conference Centre (as well as a National Stadium )
      The design of it however is bloody awful ….the framework of a warehouse ….just as well it was stopped.
      The best proposal was Kevin Roches Conference Centre for the docks, it is a far better location too….and a somewhat striking design for the Liffey front give or take a few design modifications.

    • #739028

      It’s just ludicrous in this country that when we want something built, paid for by the State, we have to wait years and years and years.

      When the private sector have a project, as soon as outline permission is granted they’re on site digging!
      I agree it is like a warehouse – when completed the interior will be little more than a cavernous shell, with Regency-striped wallpaper.
      I’d love to see how they’re gonna wrap that in mock-Georgian – if anyone’s any pictures for a laugh.

      Any time a ‘worst buildings’ thread crops up here, there’s always one that’s in the back of my mind but I never think of it.
      So while I still remember – the City West Hotel.

      It is offically the worst building thrown up in this country in the 1990s – it is mind-boggling in it’s crapiness, dripping in the worst cliches from the pastiche rulebook.
      The PVC, the frilly facias, the pillars, the gold lettering, the red doors, the ‘charming’ Victoriana yellow walls, the pitched roofs, the lanterns….shudder

      The increasing emergence of these small to medium sized conference centres will probably quash any plans for a national centre.
      The State should facilitate private developers in aquiring a site for such a centre, but that’s it. They have no role in such a development, especially considering the reason they got involved in the first place – to attract tourism to the country – is largely irrelevant now.

    • #739029

      the adjacent housing development, named ‘Coolwater Lakes’ is equally horriffic …. you’d have to see it to believe the pastiche vulgarity of these ‘trophy’ homes.

    • #739030

      Some ideas here, in California how to improve their planning department.

    • #739031

      Fantastic article Brian,

      Are sure it wasn’t written on South Dublin Co Co?

    • #739032

      I don’t really want to go to deeply into this thread quite yet, but I divide this issue into two parts:

      1) The involvement of the government in having conference centres.

      2) Conference centres themselves.

      Any thread like this, is going to get all muddled up very quickly in confusing those two issues, so one should only start a thread about conference centres by qualifying which area, the thread is meant to be about – then posts tend to stick more to a common line of argument.

      Perhaps start dual threads and just cross reference them.

      Anyhow, the point 1) above is part of a larger debate about moral in relationship to the planning process in general. And because of this, I think it is just too over-simplified to start all shouting, “I hate SDCC or every CC” without first at least trying to present how these government organisations fuction. I mean, they deal with many, many, many, many different issues and as such never seem to have nearly as much of a clue as architects have in relation to specific buildings.

      What that linked article does do, is present to all readers to this thread, at least some idea of how the administration, that is a Planning department actually is. I.e. We have to put ourselves temporarily in the shoes of a planning executive, responsible with the organisation of his/her department. Until you actually do that, all off-loading of criticism and opinions here on this board does become a bit of a farse.

      On the subject of point 2) above, I am currently working on a specific post, about conference centres. Why? Because, besides all the Planning department stuff, that has become embedded into the discussion topic of Ireland/conference centres – there is quite an interesting architectural discussion buried in there someplace about a conference centre as a building type, which fills a certain need by a modern western society in 2004 – which I am very interested in debating about, on-its-own, and distinctly separate from the whole Irish Government/Planning department/Conference centre talk.

      It would be a shame, if this recent government intervention mess, would cloud too much over the debate about the Architecture of conference centres as a building type. In fact, I would go so far as to say, noone has ever gone into a study of conference centres around the world, the places where they occur, what events are held in them – at least, I don’t have any links to discussions/articles/reviews of this at my finger tips. Do you?

      Even Magazine article issue dates/vols/no.s would be much appreciated thanks.

      Typically, the problems associated with any government department or structure are very similar to the ones decribed on the links here.

      I think the comment made by what? about the 32-storey thread, and the debating style used here at Archiseek was all too true.

      im continually amazed at the opinions on this website about highrise buildings. there seems to be a strong vein of height lust fuelled by (in my opinion) some sort of insecurity amongst the architectural community here that we dont have any tall buildings in dublin. the reason we dont have tall building is not solely down to overbearing planners. it is because we have never had the economical needs that create high rise buildings.
      if you want to solve urban sprawl a much more purtinant issue is the density of suburbia rather than the city centre. the attitude of “lets build a 60 storey skyscraper because we can” in the middle on 2storiesville is a futile self-indulgent excercise

      I mean, it is all a bit too ‘Frank McDonald’ in its format – sure Frank can include the whole wider political argument in most of his articles about Irish architecture, because for the simple reason, it draws in a much larger target readership/audience for his articles in his newspaper, but does it make the debate about the architecture any bit better?

      I think Architects are good at realising what buildings function or are used for, or might be one day used for – that is their unique facility – just sticking to the basics sometimes, is a better format for architectural debate on-line, than trying to piggy-back, a political scandal newsbreak ontop of an interesting debate about a building type.

    • #739033

      On the topic of architecture and conference centres

      I think the conference centre is typically one of those places, you tend to see more often in photographs having returned, than at the time of the visit itself. Conference centres are a lot about lots of people getting together, who normally only exist as on-line communities like Archiseek.

      Just doing a search of Siggraph San Diego 2003 photographs, of the thousands out there, most following along the very same lines, like this particular University of Florida computer department group who made the journey to sunny, water side San Diego like thousands of others. Now does city west really have that same ‘aura’ about it, that make bad Conference pics look that bit much more enjoyable to look at?

      Airport terminal like interiors.

      External skin

      Views away from the site.

      Big open spaces

      This is your average group of conference centre users, not really business execs and not really Shamrock Rovers supporters either.

      I couldn’t resist including this pic:

      These give a good idea too or what to expect of a convention centre;

      Is it my imagination, but do these spaces seem a little unused to you? I have heard that Siggraph 2003 didn’t pay all that well and next year they are going to move it back to more familiar territory in San Francisco, not as nice in terms of convention centres, but more profitable.

      bit of a nerd’s convention for sure, but these events do bring a heck of a lot of people from all over the world, into the city. Just imagine these same kinds of photos been posted up of some convention in Dublin?

      The need for nice open spaces is important as you can see – me and the others having lunch in the Park type of pics – the docklands area in Dublin does have this going for it, and is only going to get even better. That is what I think, the Roche design could have been a really good direction to go.

      I have only used the geekie, siggraph graphic artists conference as my example – even the geeks have their days out, but there are plenty more out there from shoe salesmen, to Micro Chip conventions. It at least, could add a very colourful ‘New Orleans’ kind of feel to Dublin city from time to time. The only thing we currently have is a few Rugby matches each year. (Beer drinking)

    • #739034


    • #739035

      I agree with you on discussing the architectural merits of the various conference centres.

      The RDS one was OK if not unspectacular.

      Spencer Dock was exceptional.

      The Carlton Cinema was OK if a little plain.

      This one at City West is an example of how not to design prestige architecture.

      You are absolutely right Brian, the architecture is very important both internally and externally.

      Good luck with your project send me a mail I know someone who would be worth talking to if Kevin Roches Spencer Dock design interests you.

    • #739036

      Thanks for that, but I will have to ‘partition’ the political issues of conference centres from the architectural, if I really, seriously ever want to get my own head around ‘the whole conference centre thing’.

      I will post up some more images, and comments some time later on this evening, so stay tuned. To do with developing large public spaces and buildings in relation to the existing city etc.

      Thom Mayne is just one of the people, who have looked at the problem of large new projects in opposition to existing town and cityscapes.

    • #739037

      Here is my take on doing something as large as a conference centre in an urban context

      That is, the idea of bringing very large armies of peole into a city for some kind of event.

    • #739038

      City being the operative word.

      Large armies in City West sounds a bit like an Ard Fheis

    • #739039

      Listoonvarna in Dublin, Ploughing match in Dublin, I remember going to the ‘Spring Show’ in Dublin years ago. Those kinds of events went out for a generation or so, but if you go back a bit, they were absolutely huge, long before anything like a conference centre was ever invented.

      I am really aware of the importance of these big shows nowadays from taking an active interest in the IT world. These events are huge in that sphere. There is one coming up soon in Dublin at Croke Park called NITES:

      Description of Event
      N.I.T.E.S is the National IT and e-Security Summit organised by The Sunday Business Post. Now in its third year, the 2004 forum has a line-up of national and international speakers sure to keep you up-to-date on all emerging issues and trends. The summit runs workshops and has presentations by experts who will share their knowledge and experiences on topics such as: privacy, building trust, fraud and digital evidence, SPAM, network security management and more.

      I remember when that famous painting by Caravaggio was found, there was quite a large seminar in Dublin which I attended a long time ago. It was very well attended and that really large room in the National Gallery really did get used for once. Now that the whole centre of gravity has shifted over to Nassau street, the importance of that great room has been very much diminished I think, in one’s overall experience of the NGI.

      But to take up your point, I guess that Merrion Square is a very fitting arrival point for such a seminar – which City West would find difficult to match. In fact, what really good public spaces are there in Dublin now that could work like that. College Green does the same thing for Trinity. There really is a sense of arrival when you attend something at Trinity, before you ever even get there.

      I still think that digital design applications used nowadays are still far too obsessed with things like steel beams, concrete slabs and so on. Yeah, those are certainly the nuts n’ bolts of any good design, and so forth. But I also think the nuts and bolts of any good design, are the dynamics of the people using it.

      How does that get represented in current computer design systems? Is that a stupid question?

    • #739040

      When you are hosting events such as e-security conferences you really can’t have something that is modelled on the old Cow Sheds at the RDS.

      Really conferences are for products and services that have high weight to value ratios.

      You need hi-spec architecture. Something to the same standard as The Spencer Dock proposal.

      Croker has a good exhibition centre but if the tourism policy review group are to be believed 2000-5000 capacity is about the size.

    • #739041

      2000-5000 people eh?

      Bearing in mind that 90% of this kind of trade in the states is being done at Las Vegas. What better excuse to sample Las Vegas, than go to some business conference. Ahemm!


      But the whole backup system keeping Las Vegas going, well, well, well. . .

      2000-5000 people, I will have to play around with my Land scraper Wal Mart templates in CAD to see what kind of sense that makes, in terms of areas.

    • #739042

      This looks to be the future possibilities of computational power, moving down onto desktop systems:

      While ‘image processing’ is historically a classic example of a 32-bit operation and ideal when optimized for the AltiVec unit, 64-bit code is commonly associated with ‘computational fluid dynamics’ (CFD) which includes weather modeling, airflow studies as applied to aircraft design, fluids and particles in motion as with high energy plasmas, nuclear reactions, and hydraulics.

      That is just a quote from a NASA project to assess the possibilities of using Apple G5 systems for that kind of task load.

      In our situation, with architecture the particles are the people moving around the building itself. They are already using that kind of technology to render the photorealism you see in the Shay Cleary render of a tall building. But I think the uses for technology could be a lot more for architects too. Given time, i.e. not my generation. 🙂

    • #739043


      How much investment would the necessary IT systems cost for a conference centre the size of that proposed for City West?

      Big bucks one would think, if it were to be able to attract serious IT conferences.

    • #739044

      Judging from some of the articles I have read, people I have spoken to etc, the IT infrastructure behind running a place like Las Vegas is pretty phenomenal.

      The IT guys there size the system required around the job it is doing, and not the other way around. Normally you have people who just order something from the Dell catalogue and then try to make it fit.

      It doesn’t work that way with a Conference centre etc. Even the power supply requirements of such a venue on its own would be huge, to actually host all those systems and machines buzzing away for all the awe-struck visitors to drool all over.

      We aren’t too bad in Ireland as regards power though. But things like good Wi-Fi connectivity and plenty of power points for people to re-charge devices, that is all part of this global tech-show band wagon nowadays. Because you practically are having the tech show reported live through various web sites all over the galaxy, as it happens so to speak! 🙂

      In Las Vegas, this is all par for the course and you have all the guys you need to make this happen. That is the hardest part here in this country – hiring the expertise. My best guess, is that you are talking about hiring in short term contractors from London at the nearest to provide that necessary connectivity to make things like this actually happen at all.

      yeah, when you consider the airport, the hotels, the catering etc, etc. It would certainly one hell of a techie ploughing match! 🙂

    • #739045

      Originally published by RTE News
      Citywest centre planning to be appealed

      February 25, 2004

      (15:49) An Bord Pleanála has ruled that An Taisce is entitled to appeal against developer Jim Mansfield’s plans to build a convention centre beside his Citywest Hotel in Saggart in Dublin.

      Mr Mansfield had claimed that the environmental group had no right to take the appeal as it had not objected to South Dublin County Council about his plans.

      However, the board has ruled that the council should have notified An Taisce about the planning application.

      The Board has yet to make a decision on the 6,000 seat convention centre.

      A decision is due by 20 April. South Dublin County Council is taking legal proceedings against Mr Mansfield for failing to comply with an enforcement order preventing him from carrying out work at the site.

      Proper order the last thing this Country needed was conferences being conducted from a barn.

    • #739046

      I dunno!,

      I was listening to the debate on electronic voting in the Dail yesterday and it sounded more like a ZOO, so why shouldn’t the conference centre be like a barn!!!

      (Especially since Fianna Fail will probably hold their Ard Dheis there next year!!):D

    • #739047

      Still on the Treasury Website National Conference Centre
      The National Conference & Exhibition Centre located in the heart of the city, on the banks of the Liffey and Royal Canal, at Spencer Dock, Dublin.

      This is perhaps the finest landmark building ever planned for the capital city. Designed by world renowned architect Kevin Roche, this award-winning international conference and exhibition centre, is likely to be the best of its type in Europe.
      Size: 844,000 sq. ft.
      Completion Date: 2006/7

      Now thats a conference Centre worth having

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