Gehry for Smithfield

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    • #704981

      I think to really put Smithfield on the
      international map, Frank Gehry should be the
      one to design a flagship project and finish
      off the plaza

    • #715965

      Oh yes, I can just see it now, something magnificent and irregular to offset the plaza!

      I wish!

    • #715966

      What type of programe would you give him??
      Would it be bucket loads of tiny apartments,
      a tall tower perhaps, a hotel-conference even..Or would it be more cultural? How about
      a project that would actually relate to the
      “Locals”? Something very “Dublin”, something
      more pertinent to the monthly horse fair.

      What would you give him. The entire west site
      at Smithfield or just a part of it?

      Try to imagine what his reactions would be..

    • #715967

      I agree with e. We should commission more foreign architects to build here. Would’nt it be a good thing if one were to walk any street and one say say ‘Oh there’s a Gehry’ there’s a Calatrava, there’s a Foster, etc….Now that would’nt be a bad thing for the city would it,in all honesty. Sure who was the last reknowned architect to have worked here….Lutyens probably!

    • #715968

      I agree with e. We should commission more foreign architects to build here. Would’nt it be a good thing if one were to walk any street and one could say ‘Oh there’s a Gehry’ there’s a Calatrava, there’s a Foster, etc….Now that would’nt be a bad thing for the city would it,in all honesty. Sure who was the last reknowned architect to have worked here….Lutyens probably!

    • #715969

      Really what it seems you are all saying by suggesting that foreign architects work here is that architecuture should be on the top of the agenda when it comes to the design of buildings. When big name architects are invited to work here it is on the basis that their added design value will justify the often higher fees associated with hiring them. If expectations were higher from the public at large right down to the people buying the one bed apartmetns then developers and the more everyday type client would not be able to treat architecture as an optional extra.
      Architects in Ireland can deliver buildings on a par with those elsewhere in the world what we need is the demand for them at home.

    • #715970

      But put it this way, would you prefer a Picasso or a Frank Clarke to hang on your wall, would you like to watch Juventus or Finn Harps play soccer,Bacon & Cabbage or Cordon Bleu, how about Frank Gehry or Scott Tallon Walker to design a national conference centre. Who’s would be more striking do you think? I understand the point you make but do you not think that having a big name does put one on the map, after all are we not a more international city/country now or are we still insular and insignificant.

    • #715971

      The last renowned architect to work here….

      Ian Ritchie … now if they only let him build it.

      Attitudes have to change including those to planning.

    • #715972

      I presume you mean attitudes OF planning have to change?
      Not ALL planners ( incl. the student kind) are of the ‘keep it the same/ fits in’ ilk i can assure you.
      Some may however, may feel under pressure to follow this ‘policy’ in every situation because of the views of peers/bosses, local politics, or the hassle of NIMBYISM etc.

    • #715973

      I resent Finn Harps being brought into this argument. Being premier divison you have a whole division of teams below them to pinpoint as being sub-standard.

      But with the gaffer Gavin Dykes turning his back on mediocre international stars like Avidu & Nesovic (failing to give 100% but have so much potential), and opting for home grown talent like Kevin McHugh (who has grabbed this oppurtunity and produced some sterling performances)I think the parallels between this discussion, and soccer on these islands has been cleverly pointed out by Greg F

      PS Avidu is from a Kosovon background and Nesovic from a Serbia. For some reason they never struck up the right relationship

    • #715974

      Big architects can bring bigger headaches. Kevin Roche proved that (though I wouldn’t put him as a big architect). We have plenty of good homegrown talent, albeit a little young.

      The last good international architect to have something actually built in this country would have to be Paul Koralek, really the Berkeley Library in TCD is one of the very few good buildings in Ireland.

      Calatrava is trying to build a bridge here but our ridiculous system of bickering and back stabbing that we call Planning has all but killed the idea. It is a much needed bridge and project.

      We really just need to give someone a chance. SOM may have designed a building that was out of context but lets face it I certainly would have preferred to have it to the monstrosity that is going up in its place. Two wrongs don’t make a right but the lesser of two evils…

    • #715975

      On a more particular note and to be more specific, who do we consider,be it Irish or
      International to have an approach to architecture with the type of charge and energy befitting Dublin if in an ideal world the planners were not even an issue????
      A formualaic Richard Meier, Scot Tallon Walker or a more flamboyant Zaha Hadid, Gehry,Steven Holl or even a technophobe like
      Foster. Your call

    • #715976

      To answer Greg’s question above it is not a question of whether you prefer Picasso to Frank Clarke it is more about creating the environment for Picassos to flourish. When you think of Picasso’s own life he had to leave Spain to move to Paris to find a city that provided the right creative stimulus for his art. That is what I mean as architect working with often disinterested clients you can only slip so much good design past them before the usual worries raise their head of cost, construction difficulties, and of course getting planning permission. If the prevailing culture in Dublin demanded interesting buildings the promoters of these buildings would be pushing us for new ideas instead of the other way around.

    • #715977

      Well I think that if we had a few more pieces of signature architecture by the ‘Big Guns’ here and there it would add greatly to the city of Dublin (or elsewhere throughout the country) and would be a great stimulus for budding new Irish architects too, would it not. I don’t wish to run down Irish architects but since independance the output and quality has been very questionable. When things become a bit stagnant a catalyst is needed now and again to awaken those deep in slumber (whether they be architects or the general public) After all did’nt Picasso have as already said, Paris, a jewel of a city as a backdrop to stimulate his mind to produce sublime work. Somehow I think that if we have complete blanket approaches of doing things the ‘our way’ of mass house estates, shoddy appartments and run of the mill offices blocks,it will not encourage new minds to blossom but rather stunt them as can already be seen. A bit of artistic foreign influence to dilute ideas can be good.

    • #715978

      Gehry, Hertzog, Holl, Liebskind, Hadid etc.
      We know these names because guys are the best architects in the world.
      If you were to give Liebskind a comission in Smithfield, for a museum, conference centre, whatever, you can be reassured that it will relate to the city, the locals, the enviornment and still be an awe inspiring thing of beauty. We do need more international architects to add to our city.
      When they come to Dublin they will design for Dublin, their own personal background is irrelevant. You dont need to be called Paddy Mac Eire with green blood to design relevant Irish architecture, all you need is a site in Ireland and an architect with the wit to respond to the site, the brief and the landscape(urban or otherwise)QED

    • #715979

      Much as I distrust the idea of ‘signature’ architecture I think that in discussing the issue a very interesting question has been raised, namely why are the ‘big guns’ so desirable in an Irish context.

      I’m afraid that my own opinion is that the majority of Irish Architects are ‘hacks’ basically clients men, bought and paid for. I see any number of contentious, poorly designed, and downright bad schemes emanating from very well known Irish Practises.

      There is a very obvious lack of will on the part of the Irish Architectural profession to produce the very best architecture possible. As an Architect myself I am convinced that the level of mediocrity in the Irish profession is the greatest problem facing tthe profession in this country.

      All too often I hear my contemporaries in practise in Dublin whinging on about An Taisce, the planning system, developers, ‘locals, objectors etc and almost no criticism of the generally lousy standard of architecture in this country which by and large has contributed to the distrust of the profession among these bodies.

      Yes Gehry Foster, Liebskind etc – whether you like their work or not are driven by he need to produce the very best architecture that they are capable of indeed one of the cogent features of this type of architect is the constant development of ideas technologies form and design emaniting from their offices.

      Likewise if you look, for example to the UK you will find, particularly in London, that the standard of design and more particularly – realisation – is incredibly high among the general profession.

      Never mind the big names, most of the ‘nobodies’ over there knock our profession into a cocked hat in terms of ability and drive. EG: Richard Murphy, the McLachlans, Eva Jiricna, Aldington & Craig, Walter Menteth and a thousand others.

      Frankly this is the real problem. Irish Architects are generally poor in terms of their commitment to anything other than the clients wallet. For that reason alone I would be more than happy to see big name architecture on Smithfield, anything but the dreadful rubbish proposed by Horan Keoghan Ryan and Simon J Kelly and Partners.

      Personally I’d settle for the McLachlans or Richard Murphy, never mind poor old Gehry or superman Foster.

      (Really enjoyed that rant)


    • #715980

      My experienceof working in England as an architect was strikinglly similar to my experience here. Architects’ preoccupations were the same, just that clients and the public demand a higher quality of design, although at the end of the day the quality:dross ratio is almost the same in my opinion.

    • #715981

      Cant agree with you there JL, you will find that ‘on average’ UK architects are more design oriented than there contemporaries here in Ireland. I think this is because of the large number of high quality architecture schools in the UK compared with Irelands 2 exercises in mediocrity.

    • #715982

      I suppose that since this website is about the appropriateness or otherwise of Gehry re: the west side of Smithfield that the question should be – Is the guy any good?? – many of the ‘dinosaurs’ of my generation would argue that point – he has done some horrendously poor work in his hometown – Los Angeles, the Guggenheim in Bilbao certainly photographs well but the spaces when seen on plan are mainly cul de sac arrangements – not the most desirable form of gallery layout.

      I suspect that I’m missing the point of what he is trying to do but the building seems almost perversely anti contextual and really quite ugly in mainstream terms.

      I’ve been wrong about this sort of thing before – I thought Liebskinds Jewish Museum in Berlin completely missed the point of the brief – actually in retrospect it looks as if he was right and the brief was wrong. Still its an interesting question.

      Is Gehry desirable because he is a superb architect or is this something to do with perception of architecture through the print media.

      It would be interesting to hear from anybody who has visited the building.

      One thing that I as an architect would love to know is what makes a good building to the eye of the non architect – any takers??

    • #715983

      I think that it is difficult to define what is a ‘good building’ to a ‘man on the street’.
      One approach that could be taken is that anything that is beautiful is good. What is beutiful to the man on the street? Perhaps it is sometimes a matter of detail?

      E.g. ‘classical’ type buildings have always been popular with the average man. Could this be because there is a lot to see when you stand there and look at it – e.g. fluted colums (corinthian etc,) quoins, details within the frieze and so on.

      These buildings are ‘interesting’ because from a distance you can make out the different shapes/ outine of the building. Closer up.. there is useally the detailing to keep the eye busy.

      Another point to make is that a person shouldn’t have to understand a building, and what it represents, to appreciate it.
      It should just look pleasing to the eye.

      This is a criticsm of much of the modernist architecture of the past.
      I have been led to think, that Le Courbusier and his clan believed that their buildings represented a departure from the excesses of the past – i.e. Paladian mansions etc. and all of their decoration (displays of wealth).

      His idea is that everybody is equel and buildings should be simple, and should be for everyone and represent no-one etc. etc.

      Somebody like Courbusier may have gotten away with it but many others couldn’t pull it off.

      The result… crap, boring looking buildings that looked awfull (and it comes down to looks) and that no one could understand why they were built (never mind the ideoligies behind them).

      From a distance their shape may have been some interest but, close up.. there was nothing else to see.

      Another example of the man on the street not ‘understanding’ a building – The over-flowery descriptions given by architects for their buildings. I saw one such example accompaning a previous winner of an Riai award (on their web site) that made me want to smack the computer screen!

      In summary, any building should have some kind of detail to it, whether it be by mix of colour, shapes, textures and so on, that will be of interest to the eye and keep it occupied.

      My humble opinion!

    • #715984

      What about a sense of place, or even a sense of space, of the subtlety of choice of material over the garish overuse and abuse of colour & texture. Purity over indulgance etc.

    • #715985

      I have been to the Gugenheim in Bilbao and the first thing one has to notice is first the appalling ugliness of the city of Bilbao and the one single jewel in the middle bending over backwards to sparkle in the
      sun. Gehry is the master of contrast. Mimics
      have being trying to copy his antics further down the road with ridiculous results. Gehry to my mind is a virtuoso architect with a great imaginantion for both interior and exterior space. The museum is similar to a great gothic cathedral but with the added element of surprise. I found the building despite cul de sac type planning functions very well. The gallery spaces were varied and the exhibits felt at home in the building. One observation about some architects work is the attention to toilet design. Richard Murphy puts all his effort sometimes in proving the toilets are exciting. Gehry is better than this. The toilets were quality but not expensive. The exterior of the building is quite remarkable but the landscaping is a little crude. The building is adjacent a river but he still included outrageously dramatic reflecting lakes. Its over the top in ways but it leaves a very strong memory imprint.

    • #715986

      Gehry’s architecture can been viewed as highly individualistic and stand alone. Note too his rock/pop museum in Seattle, USA which again is a trademark of his highly sculptural dynamic style evoking the work of the Futurist sculpture Umberto Boccionni. His work could be seen as ugly if one is to compare it to mainstream buildings…. one would ‘nt place such an individualistic convoluted building within an ordinary streetscape; such buildings deserve to be free standing so as to be viewed from all angles to be appreciated….as the Sydney Opera House. They are works of sculpture as well.

    • #715987

      in reference to MK.

      Yes, some buildings are beautiful in their simlicity.

    • #715988

      Personality architect – visually exciting – highly individualistic – putting places on maps –

      Is there a major pre-occupation with the visuals? Do architects nowadays design their buildings with the architectural media in mind? Do buildings have to be visually exciting in order to make an imprint with audiences which will only see it in photos? Do city authorities do the same thing when commissioning signature architects – the building as the logo of the local tourist board? Would James Gandon cut the mustard in today’s world?

    • #715989

      Gehry has recently finished a building in Berlin at postdamer platz. It had to hanker to all the berlin planning requirements and yet it is another piece of remarkable architecture. This time the contrast is with the exterior vs the interior. Gehry himself
      claims its one of his best buildings. Maybe there an element of bad tradesmen blaming their tools here????

    • #715990

      Hi JL, Here are the answers to your ponderous questions…………
      Is there a major pre-occupation with the visuals? ……..Why not! Do architects nowadays design their buildings with the architectural media in mind?…….So what! Do buildings have to be visually exciting in order to make an imprint with audiences which will be only seen it in photos?……..If not, what!…. Do city authorities do the same thing when commissioning signature architects – the building as the logo of the local tourist board? ……What not! Would James Gandon cut the mustard in today’s world?…..He’d probably eat it on a ham sandwich! I just can’t see why you have a slight disgruntlement with the commissioning of the ‘big names’ in architecture, especially for the city of Dublin or Ireland in general. We are serious lacking here at the moment….we do need an impetus for our architecture in a way and a ‘big name’ would indeed be just the ticket to set a standard for all the sheep to follow. What has Dublin at the moment got of note to offer……nothing! Even in Belfast there looks as if there is something happening on Laganside…ie the Waterfront Hall,etc… Putting it bluntly our thickness and insecurity holds us back!

    • #715991

      Gehry is designing a building for free!!! in
      Dundee, Scotland. Shame it’s not in Smithfield, heh….

    • #715992

      Hi Greg F – I’m just wondering what ‘good architecture’ is if its going to be used to improve things. And in relation to Mr Gehry, his buildings look cool in photos on the one hand but they seem pretty environmentally unfriendly on the other.

      Why do we pick buildings of a high visual quality but (for example) low environmental credentials as examples of good architecture? This architecture is good for tourism, its certainly good for Mr Gehry but is it good for us?

      [This message has been edited by JL (edited 15 November 2000).]

    • #715993

      From Sam Webb’s letter in AJ, 2/11/00:

      Gehry’s Guggenheim “has done for Bilbao what Jorn Utzon’s Opera House did for Sydney, putting Bilbao on the map and drawing thousands of visitors from all over the world to this formerly run-down Basque city… it has become an icon. But it is not the only one. Just downstream crossing the Nervion River is Santiago Calatrava’s truly beautiful Volantin footbridge, designed for pedestrians and cyclists. Underground is Norman Foster’s stunning metro. Travelling around Bilbao is a delight. Along the river bank a new tram system is being built with tracks laid in grass. The whole city is being regenerated and Gehry’s building is the catalyst… “

      ‘Nuff said.

    • #715994
    • #715995

      …………… and that’s that!
      Nuff said………….I’ve been vindicated. Obviously ‘Gehry & Co’ for Dublin/Ireland…. Please!

    • #715996

      Oh for God’s Sake – go ahead, buy the architectural equivalent of the Nike trainer – beautiful, technically accomplished, designed more for fashion than its original function, and probably screwing the environment and/or someone in Singapore. Consume! Globalise!

    • #715997

      who is to say that a Gehry building is environmentally unfriendly???

      Unsustainable development is unused and
      short lived development wasting resources
      because of continual redevelopment.

      Gehry’s buildings are if anything over used
      and are designed to last!!!

    • #715998

      Hi JL,

      Using the comparison of a Gehry edifice with a Nike trainer is not really a good analogy, is it and popularity or commerciality does not always equate to poor quality.
      Can you name then a renowned stylish environmentally friendly building of international merit.Believe me I’m all for the environment too,(I have a background in horticulture)but the general infrastructure of the nation is far more important. The notion of biospheres are fine but lets get a few basics in order first.
      It’s gas is’nt it, our economy finally booms and we have now have an opportunity to add something of note to our bitty architectural heritage but we always seem to have some malingerers hampering…..don’t do that because……Blah! Blah! It is a general reflection of our irish society, which is why it takes bloody ages for anything to be done. Just do it!

    • #715999

      I proposed that smithfield should have the
      following programme of land use in addition
      to the Smithfield village.

      A)A new abbey theatre-pubs-cafes etc
      B)A parc villette science park for children
      C)A large indoor fresh food market –
      D)a docking station for movable kiosks to
      activate the space on a daily basis
      E) A large childrens play structure with display screen to close of the north end of the square which would formally contain the proposed civic forum.

      Gehry could be asked to design any one of
      these, but preferably the science park.

    • #716000

      Good ideas!……..but someone would bound to refuse!

    • #716001

      Just because you can afford to build something doesn’t mean you should put up the first thing that enters your head – the building on Georges Quay is an example of when the city was desperate to build something – anything – at a time when there was FA investment in the centre – ten years later its almost universally reviled. F Gehry has some excellent built works, but he also has his fair share of pooches – his name alone doesn’t guarantee quality

    • #716002

      Me detects a slight dislike of Gehry…ok then we’ll get the two knights Rogers and Foster or Pei Cob Freed, etc…. plenty of big fish in the sea… about too Barney the builder from Ballyfermot, my neck of the woods.I’m sure he’d manage to do just as good a job and he has no qualifications either. Cool!

      By the way that yoke they are erecting at George’s Quay is a great tribute to the eighties; fleck suits, box jackets, mullets, Durran Durran and Irish unemployment.They can look at it blindly in years to come and say …’Yeah the eighties were a great boom time for us all’.

    • #716003

      What would you think Gehry’s reaction would beto the horse fair at Smithfield?
      Would the idea of horse shit ingrained onto
      titatium panels be too risky???
      Would the obligatory reflecting ponds have to
      be barrigaded because some scanksters might suethe corpo for drowning a horse??
      Would the horsefair be inevitably banished to makeway for 100% gentification???
      Can there be a realistic social mix in Dublin??

      [This message has been edited by e.carr (edited 20 December 2000).]

    • #716004
      Paul Clerkin

      I think the the ongoing Foot and mouth will be final nail in the coffin for the Horse fair. Afterall the locals are prisoners in their own homes during these fairs (just like they claim they will be during the pop concerts) and as a resident, I’d prefer concerts to mangy horses and horse shit. Not that I’m subscribing to gentrification (I just hate horses), but I do feel that the horse fair should be closed, when you see it, you understand why. Big lumps on unsuitably small ponies, the DSPCA sitting around ignoring this.

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