Development or not? [Warning: Rant]
August 5, 1999 at 2:21 am #704628
In my opinion, a culture of objection is evolving in Dublin. Objection to anything and everything planned, that is bold or architecturally innovative. Anything that doesn’t blend in exactly with its surroundings is deemed unacceptable by certain crazed residents’ groups and government quangoes.
I believe that many of the recently rejected planned schemes in Dublin should have been built. The Spike is one such plan [see other topic posts]. I am also in favour of the Smithfield plan [including its slender 23 storey tower] as I think its an opportunity that is too good to be missed, a plan that will further rejuvenate that depressed quarter of town. But no doubt, An Taisce and numerous local residents will petition An Bord Pleanala [spelling?] to scupper it on the grounds of height blah blah……
Please dont get me wrong….Im not in favour of large-scale building in sensitive, historical locations of the city, but I strongly object to the way that certain groups in society are getting away with architectural murder, in stopping worthwhile, interesting schemes, on the basis of height alone. Meanwhile these same groups ignore the pox of banal, poorly designed schemes of legoland flat blocks [with those awful uPVC windows that look grubby after a year] that are springing up everywhere.
Dublin Corp shot itself in the foot by not getting proper planning permission for the Spike but I still resent those small-minded fools who have successfully [so far] objected to it being built – those fools who are akin to the thousands of objectors to some of the world’s great landmarks [Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House, Tower Bridge to name but a few]. Aren’t we all glad that those same buildings were built in spite of such huge opposition at the time of their construction?
The city of Dublin is changing. Yes, nobody wants Manhattan recreated on the banks of the Liffey, but certain areas will take prominent buildings with strong vertical emphases – with the possible exception of the overly dense Spencer Dock Proposal.
Alas, as long as Ireland remains a nation of begrudgers, positive development in Dublin will undoubtedly be stunted, and the urban sprawl of cheaply-built, outrageously expensive ‘houselet’ estates will continue to mushroom exponentially.
August 5, 1999 at 11:17 am #711922Paul ClerkinKeymaster
I’m in complete agreement! Well said!
August 5, 1999 at 8:15 pm #711923john whiteParticipant
You’ve made some excellent points.
It IS amazing that the Spike is denied and yet, that Ulster Bank plastic lego heap is crapped onto the Quayside.
I still worry about the wisdom of the ‘educated’ sometimes though. I mean, look what Sam Stephenson did. Ughhhh..
Maybe though, someday in a 100 years they’ll thank him and twin Woodquay with St. Paul’s!
We need all sides of opinion. We all have to live here don’t we? It’s unfortunate that we won’t always get what we want.
A final point:
Do you think most of the huge buildings that we hate are permitted out of ignorance or are there some other underhanded shenanigans going on?
August 5, 1999 at 8:37 pm #711924danielParticipant
I wholeheartedly agree.
If there are no deviations in a city one is struck not of a place where its people are united in their aspirations but one where dreams are suppressed.
August 6, 1999 at 1:44 am #711925
John, I doubt if Wood quay will ever be twinned with St. Paul’s!
Excellently expressed point Daniel!
August 6, 1999 at 8:02 am #711926MGParticipant
It seems as if in many ways we’re going down the way of England whereby English Heritage gets its way often preserving what is shite against new developments that would add to an area.
This is happening here – An Taisce and Lancefort Ltd are not picking their fights carefully enough but objecting in a splattergun fashion. Ultmately though, this will weaken their positions when something worth saving or objecting to comes along….
August 7, 1999 at 1:52 am #711927
True MG, but English Heritage have a much greater number of buildings to protect and at least the conservation of buildings law in the UK stands for something concrete.
In Dublin, the replacement of traditional sliding-sash type windows in 18th/19th/early 20th century buildings with those with modern opening, uPVC, ones with the cheap imitation “Georgian” pane effects, is widespread. Often you’ll see two period red bricked homes side-by-side, one intact, with traditional wooden windows in the original style and the other, recently sold and subsuequntly ‘refurbished’ with plastic, ugly windows only suitable for modern buildings. Its all the more visually offensive when the try to disguise it with unconvincing leading.
In the UK, to its credit, any alteration other that cosmetic decoration carried out on buildings in specially designated conservation areas is forbidden. It turns out that almost every housing scheme over about 40 years of age is listed for conservation! My brother recently bought a house in South London [run-of-the-mill Victorian mid-terrace] and found all sorts of preservation orders in place for the whole area on the house’s deeds! Hence he can do virtually nothing to it without specially approved planning.
30 years ago this kind of heritage preservation was unheard of so I suppose in another few decades – like everything else – we’ll catch-up. But will it be too late?
August 10, 1999 at 7:55 pm #711928kaytayParticipant
i think cian makes a very valid point with a solution.
without historical districts with review committees to oversee the modifications and protect old valuable buildings, the developers will come in and build with only the money in mind.
this developer mentality makes every design descision based on building code minimums and maximums. old buldings are expensive to maintain and renovate. building new with similiar features as the older buildings is very costly.
unfortunately even our contemporaries lack a level of quality in thier work. it would be nice if all architects were ethical and had good taste, but they are often only puppets on the developer’s payroll.
government regulations and urban planning are the only way to regulate the shape, flavor, and style of city.
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