Harcourt Terrace to be ballsed up ?

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    • #709578

      I don’t like the sound of this … Harcourt terrace has special character & despite widescale destruction of some fine interiors, the exterior streetscape has, until now, survived largely intact.

      Its impossible to judge the impact of this development without seeing renders, but demolition of all buildings on site!, including the garda station ?

      If anyone has more detailed renders / info, please post.

      Council says yes to plan for former Garda station on Harcourt Terrace
      The Irish Times

      Dublin City Council has approved a controversial plan to redevelop the site of the former Garda station at Harcourt Terrace, Dublin 2 into a high-rise office and residential scheme, writes Edel Morgan .

      Harcourt Terrace Ltd, a subsidiary of the Durkan Group, got planning permission to demolish all the buildings on the site and build nine office blocks and two apartment buildings, rising to nine storeys. However, a planning condition requires that the developer omits a proposed four-storey office block at the northern end of the site to protect local residential amenity.

      It asks that the developer submit revised proposals for an office or residential development on this part of the site which would be subject to a separate planning application.

      The development will occupy the site of Harcourt Terrace Garda station, the Film Censor’s Office and the former Dairy Science Laboratory, which Durkans acquired last year in exchange for providing over 400 affordable homes in new housing schemes in south-west Dublin.

      As well as a nine-storey office block, there will be two apartment buildings, of five and seven storeys high, with an underground car-park with 86 spaces.

      Altogether, the scheme would provide 43 apartments – a mix of mainly one and two-bedroom units – and 12,714sq m (136,854sq ft) of office space.

      Dublin City Council received around 21 objections to the scheme, including one from An Taisce which said that the scheme would need to be revised to take account of “the unique and sensitive environment of Harcourt Terrace and the scale and pattern of development on the Grand Canal frontage”.

    • #792439

      Nice tribute here to Rico & Eden Ross, detailing their battle to save the terrace from destruction for many years.

      A couple that championed Dublin’s historic Harcourt Terrace
      SB Post, 2000

      The survival of Harcourt Terrace as Dublin’s only formal and symmetrically planned block of houses from the Regency period is largely due to the efforts of Rico and Eden Ross who have lived there since 1973.

      Rico Ross, born in Boston in 1929, died recently having spent most of his life in Dublin fighting to save various parts of the city as places where people could live and work. Sadly he witnessed some of the worst decades of devastation, where whole streets such as Claremont Street were closed and left idle for years.

      However, he was pleased that the last decade brought people back into the city to live and that many of the derelict sites are now built upon.

      As early as 1970, developers were eyeing up the back gardens of Harcourt Terrace, especially at the end nearest to the Grand Canal, with a view to building office blocks there.

      After many years numbers 10 and 11 were finally gutted and redeveloped by the Gallagher Group as apartments. Even though the terrace had been included on List A since the late 1960s, Dublin Corporation eventually granted planning permission for office development in the 1980s.

      The various proposals mooted for numbers 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11 would have resulted in the stripping of the interiors and building up of the gardens, were it not for the fact that the Rosses and their neighbour Michael MacLiammor, among others, vigorously opposed these plans.

      Today Harcourt Terrace is an elegant, largely residential area and the street has become a quiet backwater since being closed to through traffic. The houses were erected some time after 1824 by John Jasper Joly, and ten houses were laid out in pairs with single storey partitions in between.

      All have beautifully proportioned rooms with wide Georgian sash windows, except for 10 and 11, where inappropriate swing-hinge windows were installed. The timber framed doorcases have unusual strapwork decoration and pretty teardrop style fanlights above.

      Unfortunately, due to the fact that until recently none of the interiors was protected, the grand central block of the terrace, numbers 6 and 7, were demolished except for the facade.

      A protracted battle ran throughout the 1980s in an attempt to prevent the then owners of the building, the Legion of Mary, from allowing it to be vandalised or be demolished.

      This imposing structure, now rebuilt in offices, boasts a large portico of giant ionic columns, graced with a highly decorative frieze and cornice. Even the facades of the smaller houses are ornamented at ground floor level.

      All of the decorative detail of the facades is executed in stucco or Roman cement. Despite having been described as having “gimcrack decoration”, Harcourt Terrace has lasted very well as an entity and most of the stucco ornament survives in good condition.

      Originally built at right angles to the Grand Canal, and adjoining the now vanished terrace of Charlemont Place, it is located in a quiet part of the city centre only minutes walk from St Stephens Green.

      A small stream called the river Steyne flows underground behind the terrace and once divided it from the property of a Mr Peter after whom Peter Place, which stands to the west, was called.

      Early maps show that a row of trees, possibly lime trees, were planted down the middle of the street not long after the terrace was built. The gardens were originally laid out with flowers and shrubs, while trees gave an air of peace and elegance. Now that the street is closed to passing traffic, the reinstatement of this mall might further enhance the area.

      Rico Ross was known for his interest in, and love of, trees and planted many in and about the terrace. He was enraged when one spring morning in 1975 a gang of workmen razed the beautiful trees, including a blossoming pear tree in the garden of Sarah Purser’s house and studio at number 11.

      In 1974 Rico and Eileen Ross became involved with An Taisce through the influence of Deirdre Kelly and remained active for over 15 years in the many campaigns to save the heritage of the city and maintain it for the communities and people who lived there.

      Examples of a disappearing breed of dedicated idealists, they never owned a car but chose instead to walk or cycle everywhere. They could never see the point of sacrificing the streets and houses of the city for the sake of motor traffic, commuting long distances from suburbia to office blocks which were seen as the future of the city from 1965 onwards.

      Urban blight lay, at one time, on all sides of the couple, with the huge wasteland of Charlemont Street (now occupied by the Stakis Hotel and various apartment blocks), and went hand in hand with the endless round of planning battles in Harcourt Terrace itself.

      Many of the houses were neglected and became prey to the activity of vandals with roofs being smashed, doors, shutters and antennas ripped out.

      In the 1980s Dublin Corporation and An Bord Pleanala appeared, judging from all these encounters, as public bodies which showed little commitment to protecting the heritage.

      Rico Ross, with his considerable knowledge of the legal system, left no stone unturned and personally took two cases to the High Court. One of them taken against An Bord Pleanala was successful, but a second case, which was never even heard, resulted in his being declared bankrupt in 1980.

      But Rico’s interests were not confined to his own neighbourhood and through An Taisce he became involved in many planning issues around Dublin and in the campaign against the building of dual carriageways and road widening schemes in the city.

      Rico and Eileen were frequent visitors to the council chamber of Dublin Corporation where they monitored closely the deeds of the elected representatives. They were also very adept at getting the media along at just the right moment, and Harcourt Terrace is a place known far and wide because of their efforts.

      One project remains unfinished. An unusually large well was discovered at the rear of 8 Harcourt Terrace in 1977 by Eileen Ross, and various documents revealed that Lord Edward Fitzgerald hid here when he was on the run in 1798.

      The well now awaits restoration and needs a proper iron grille and stone wall to make it secure. The restoration of this well, so long hidden from view, would be a fitting tribute to Rico and Eden Ross, the champions of Harcourt Terrace.

    • #792440

      Peter; I’m confused, isn’t the the garda Hq at the end of the terrace, by the corner, isn’t this an undistinguished collection of 70s buildings standing back from the street line. I had expect redevelopment of this would be an improvement to the street, but maybe I am mixed up. This is were you used to go to queue for a million hours for stamps on your passport and that might have coloured my memory of the complex.

    • #792441

      Story was in Business Post with a cgi two weeks ago.

    • #792442
      notjim wrote:
      Garda HQ is on Harcourt Street – this is about Harcourt Terrace which is off Adelaide Road down by the eye & ear hospital
    • #792443

      @Rory W wrote:

      Garda HQ is on Harcourt Street – this is about Harcourt Terrace which is off Adelaide Road down by the eye & ear hospital

      Oops and damn, that is worrying!

      Thanks for clearing that up.

    • #792444

      Poor pic of Harcourt Terrace Garda Station below notjim –

      No longer in use & set to be demolished as part of this.

      A good percentage of dwellings are to be afordable; Durkan seem to be meeting their obligations from other developments with this one, perhaps part of the reason why the planners looked favorably on this.

      OMP are architects from what i hear.

      I can’t see how a modern intervention on this important corner site can be good for the terrace as a whole.

    • #792445

      The Garda Station itself must be 1930s or 1940s – was anything demolished to build it?

      I walk past this twice a day, and both the Garda station and the very old mews behind it are fine buildings. I’m not overly happy about them being demolished, but I do like seeing people move into the city.

    • #792446

      @Andrew Duffy wrote:

      I’m not overly happy about them being demolished, but I do like seeing people move into the city.

      agreed Andrew, I’d settle for retention of the garda station with development behind …

    • #792447

      Yes it’s a very pleasant example of 1940’s OPW architecture, and ought to be retained as part of the scheme. While I’m almost equally as reluctant to see the charming Film Censor’s office go, it must be accepted that it has always been a scandalous waste of inner city space. Its merit is largely derived from the peculiararity of a suburban domestic design being applied to the office of a state body – a nice indicator of its times. Just one of the many curiosities that makes Harcourt Terrace so unique, and a sad loss for this special place: a shame it’s not being incorporated some way or another, as with the Garda Station which hopefully will be overturned.

      Indeed on a wider level we are at risk of losing a lot of the OPW’s best work from the 1930s-1950s, often by the architectural team including the likes of Oscar Richardson, Harold Leask and JB Maguire. So often limited to restoration, reproduction and predictable pastiche jobs in the major reconstructions of the era, it’s a shame to lose the few examples of their work where they were allowed free reign in new-build projects, often buildings full of innovation on account of shoestring budgets, trade embargos and wartime constraints. The same as with our distinctive and unique State schoolhouses of the era that are being mauled left, right and centre. Nobody seems to give a damn about these 20th century buildings that so helped define the built environment of this nation in its infancy.

    • #792448

      A view of it along Harcourt Terrace below.

      There are a lot of “high level” objections against it, from people like Shaffrey Associates, McCabe & Durney planners, Louis le Brocquy’s wife …. so prepare for lots of appeals to ABP. The area is well looked after. You can’t help feeling that a comparable scheme in, say, Dublin 7 would not receive the same attention. It’s happening lately that massive schemes are passing through the planning system without a single objection because they are in the ‘wrong’ area.

    • #792449

      @GrahamH wrote:

      While I’m almost equally as reluctant to see the charming Film Censor’s office go, it must be accepted that it has always been a scandalous waste of inner city space. Its merit is largely derived from the peculiararity of a suburban domestic design being applied to the office of a state body – a nice indicator of its times.

      Which building is the Film Censor’s Office Graham? I wasn’t aware it was here, or was under threat. Is it threatened as part of this Garda redevelopment?

      On the broader point, I’d agree that the Garda Station should stay. The buildings to its rear are very dull for the most part, and do little to address the canal, but the station building is a keeper.

    • #792450

      I’m not aware of the exact location of filim censor’s office either …

      Aerial view of site below

    • #792451

      I was down there recently, the film censor’s office is to the left of the garda station, IIRC
      (might be the building in the middle of that aerial photo)

    • #792452

      @Peter FitzPatrick wrote:

      I’m not aware of the exact location of filim censor’s office either …

      Yep, de Irish Fillhim Censors Office is indeed on the terrace – I had thought that they were in Hatch St…
      @IFCO website wrote:

      IFCO’s address is: &nbsp16 Harcourt Terrace, Dublin 2, Ireland
      Our telephone number: +353 (01) 799 6100
      Our email address: info@ifco.gov.ie
      Our website: http://www.ifco.ie

    • #792453

      Aha – knew I had a pic somewhere. Building for Government usually comes up trumps 🙂

      Yes that’s it next door to the Garda Station igy. Looking at the site from above, the long narrow plot is suggestive of replacing a townhouse of some kind…

      Lovely little building though – surprised that it seems relatively unknown. The fact that it’s a piece of social as well as architectural history makes its proposed loss all the more of a shame.

    • #792454

      http://www.pleanala.ie/casenum/225560.htm – Yet another DCC rubber stamping of development is overturned on appeal.

    • #792455

      Excellent 🙂 thanks for update Devin.

    • #792456

      Actually, just noticed DCC had removed one block – a 4 storey block at the north of the site. Still, their permitting of the 7 and 9 storey parts wasn’t going to be entertained at ABP since an adjacent scheme of similar scale also fronting the canal on Charlemont Place but further away from Harcourt Terrace was refused (Appeal Ref PL29S.218778).

    • #792457

      From todays Irish Times –

      Planning refusal sours land swap deal for developer
      FRANK McDONALD, Environment Editor

      THE RISK taken by developers in acquiring sites from the State in return for providing affordable homes has been underlined by a Bord Pleanála decision to refuse permission for a major scheme in Harcourt Terrace in Dublin.

      The proposed development by the Durkan Group would have replaced Harcourt Terrace Garda station and the old Film Censor’s office with two apartment buildings and two office blocks, ranging in height from four to nine storeys.

      In return for acquiring development rights, Durkan agreed to provide 408 affordable homes at six locations in west Dublin – a deal hailed as showing the potential for such land swaps by Des Geraghty, chairman of the Affordable Homes Partnership.

      These deals are quite different to the public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements made by Dublin City Council with developer Bernard McNamara that collapsed last week.

      John O’Connor, chief executive of the Affordable Homes Partnership, confirmed yesterday that the deal involving the Harcourt Terrace site was not subject to planning permission. “It was Durkans’ risk, so it’s unfortunate from their point of view.”

      He said all 408 affordable homes built by the group had been handed over and occupied. “I’m sure they will lodge a revised application for the site and that they’ll get permission for some level of development – maybe not what they wanted.”

      An Bord Pleanála upheld appeals by local residents and An Taisce, saying the scheme “would fail to respect its context” and would “adversely impact on the setting” of a unique Regency terrace on the opposite side of Harcourt Terrace.

      It also said the proposed development “would not be of the standard required to justify the removal of the existing Garda station” – an unlisted two-storey building that the board’s planning inspector, Jane Dennehy, said was worthy of retention.

      “I consider the two buildings, which date from the 1940s, to be fully viable and structurally sound. The Garda station is of special value and . . . the interior relatively unaltered, with terrazzo flooring, joinery and fittings fully intact and in good condition.”

      The Department of the Environment, in its observations on the appeal, also suggested that any future proposals for developing the 0.87-acre site should take account of the need for recognition of the “architectural significance” of the Garda station.

      An Bord Pleanála noted that the site lies within a designated residential conservation area in the current Dublin city development plan, saying any scheme would require “a very high quality of design in context with its architectural surroundings”.

      The proposed nine-storey office block on the Grand Canal frontage of the site would “seriously injure the amenities of the area and of property in the vicinity”.

      Even though the city council’s planners – in their decision last August to approve the Durkan scheme – had reduced the block by two storeys, the board’s inspector said this would “not overcome the inappropriateness of the proposed development”.

      The council received more than 20 objections, including one from An Taisce, which said the scheme would need to be revised to take account of “the unique and sensitive environment of Harcourt Terrace and the scale and pattern of development on the Grand Canal”.

      Durkan had maintained that its “high-quality scheme” would address the shortfall of accommodation, both residential and offices, in the Dublin area by developing an “under-utilised brownfield site . . . in accordance with proper planning and sustainable development”.

    • #792458

      According to today’s Times this has come back around: another application to demolish the Garda Station and replace it with apartments, fewer apartments this time.

    • #792459

      As suggested on the Thomas Street thread, the updated suss on Harcourt Terrace:

      Trying to get an appropriate building to sit opposite the splendid Regency terrace, in place of the existing Garda Station and Film Censor’s Office buildings, has proven quite a saga.

      This (above) was the first version of the scheme. There were 21 objections against it. DCC went ahead and granted permission (omitting one block at the rear). Following appeals by Residents of Harcourt Terrace, Romney and Conor Keane, An Taisce, and the applicant themselves it was refused by An Bord Pleanala, as detailed in hutton’s post above.

      (ABP details: http://pleanala.ie/casenum/225560.htm)

      Then this was the revised scheme, lodged in Nov. ’08 as reported by notjim above ….. not a sensitive building whatsoever. Extraordinarily, there was a complete collapse of objection this time, with just two third-party submissions, neither of them objecting and one actually expressing support for the proposed development. It was granted permission with no significant changes by DCC and appealed again by An Taisce (solely). The Board called for a major redesign in July ’09.

      So the applicant came back two what you might call ‘contextual’ blocks, as marked with arrows above, and this has just been approved – http://pleanala.ie/casenum/232740.htm. Probably won’t please everyone but really the main consideration here was getting something appropriately low-key to sit in the background to the outstanding Regency houses.

      The height and footprint of the taller block to the rear were also reduced.

    • #792460

      I blame property prices and pension funds/compound interest…

    • #792461

      Just wondering where you got images of model re Harcourt Terrace redevelopment and final scheme elevation. I can’t get the final scheme from the DCC website planning section…


    • #792462

      Yes, DCC have a copy of those plans. If they’re not scanned up on the website you’ll have to go in to their planning counter and ask for the hard copy.

      The model was on view in the Civic Offices during the planning process.

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