HKR Architects – a hazard to historic Dublin?

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    • #709847
      Devin
      Participant

      HKR Architects’ schemes for Dublin city centre are utterly monstrous and are a potential hazard to the character of the historic core which is renowned for its coherent scale and design.

      Whenever someone’s trying to dump a really phenomenal amount of development on a sensitive site in the city core, HKR’s hand is usually in it.

      Respond to existing scale and context? Carefully stitch into the urban fabric? Defer? They don’t do it! They usually take the line of the highest building around, acknowledge it, then go upwards from there.

      And they used to be such nice people, responsible for things like the polite Smock Alley Court, the senior citizens housing scheme in Temple Bar with its green glazed tiled & steel shopfronts on the Essex Street side. What happened?

      It all started with Smithfield Market. The attention given to the proposed 23 storey tower of that scheme possibly took away from the fact that the rest of it was a bloated hulk, failing abysmally to integrate into the scale of the surrounding area, not to mention Dublin’s “premier civic plaza”!

      But Smithfield Market showed that you could significantly overscale an area AND get away with it. Since then, that has been the strategy.

      But their pile-it-on approach often comes a cropper. Their Dublin City Council-approved scheme for the Windmill site in the Digital Hub got thrown out by An Bord Pleanala for trying to shovel a mega quantum of development on, swamping the character of the place including the dominant feature of the site, the wonderful Windmill.

      Their attempts to build inappropriately above and beside protected structures at Richmond Street South and Clancy Barracks were curtailed somewhat.

      Colossally overscaled schemes let through by Dublin City Council for Fleet Street and the bottom of Smithfield are currently under appeal. So is Arnotts, where their 16-storey building was granted permission by the council even though the inner city is supposed to be protected from high buildings …

      The thing is, you can be big and commercial and still retain some sensitivity and humility – O’Mahony Pike might be an example. HKR do good modern design and their stuff generally looks well in historic surroundings; there is no problem with ability. But in terms of appropriate scale they are out of control and need to be reined in.


      Drawing from Dublincity.ie

      I’ve seen some outrageous schemes by HKR, but this one trumps them all: an 11-storey redevelopment of the Motor Taxation Office, lodged in November (context drawing taken along Chancery Street, with Four Courts dome profile given).

      Eleven storeys in behind the Four Courts ……… I mean, HELLO!?!

      Silly me. I thought the Four Courts was the most important and most monumental building in Dublin whose dome floats over the city but I must be wrong.

      Looking on their website here – HKR – I see that 27 of 28 senior staff listed are male. Would it be wrong to suggest HKR’s approach to building in the city needs a little more balance?

    • #797723
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      A tad harsh? surely they’re responding to the brief their clients gave them – and they happen to get alot of clients who want to… um… maximise the plot…?!?

    • #797724
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @Devin wrote:

      HKR Architects’ schemes for Dublin city centre are utterly monstrous and are a potential hazard to the character of the historic core which is renowned for its coherent scale and design.

      Whenever someone’s trying to dump a really phenomenal amount of development on a sensitive site in the city core, HKR’s hand is usually in it.

      Respond to existing scale and context? Carefully stitch into the urban fabric? Defer? They don’t do it! They usually take the line of the highest building around, acknowledge it, then go upwards from there.

      And they used to be such nice people, responsible for things like the polite Smock Alley Court, the senior citizens housing scheme in Temple Bar with its green glazed tiled & steel shopfronts on the Essex Street side. What happened?

      It all started with Smithfield Market. The attention given to the proposed 23 storey tower of that scheme possibly took away from the fact that the rest of it was a bloated hulk, failing abysmally to integrate into the scale of the surrounding area, not to mention Dublin’s “premier civic plaza”!

      But Smithfield Market showed that you could significantly overscale an area AND get away with it. Since then, that has been the strategy.

      But their pile-it-on approach often comes a cropper. Their Dublin City Council-approved scheme for the Windmill site in the Digital Hub got thrown out by An Bord Pleanala for trying to shovel a mega quantum of development on, swamping the character of the place including the dominant feature of the site, the wonderful Windmill.

      Their attempts to build inappropriately above and beside protected structures at Richmond Street South and Clancy Barracks were curtailed somewhat.

      Colossally overscaled schemes let through by Dublin City Council for Fleet Street and the bottom of Smithfield are currently under appeal. So is Arnotts, where their 16-storey building was granted permission by the council even though the inner city is supposed to be protected from high buildings รขโ‚ฌยฆ

      The thing is, you can be big and commercial and still retain some sensitivity and humility – O’Mahony Pike might be an example. HKR do good modern design and their stuff generally looks well in historic surroundings; there is no problem with ability. But in terms of appropriate scale they are out of control and need to be reined in.


      Drawing from Dublincity.ie

      I’ve seen some outrageous schemes by HKR, but this one trumps them all: an 11-storey redevelopment of the Motor Taxation Office, lodged in November (context drawing taken along Chancery Street, with Four Courts dome profile given).

      Eleven storeys in behind the Four Courts ……… I mean, HELLO!?!

      Silly me. I thought the Four Courts was the most important and most monumental building in Dublin whose dome floats over the city but I must be wrong.

      Looking on their website here – HKR – I see that 27 of 28 senior staff listed are male. Would it be wrong to suggest HKR’s approach to building in the city needs a little more balance?

      Personally I think HKR are one of the better practices and quite rightly their style is popular. The 4 courts is not some Taj Mahal to stand itself alone in the middle of a plain with infinite horizon. Classicalesque granite buildings contrast with and are enhanced by a mix of styles, especially modern styles.. Look at St Paul’s in London. What do you want – wall to wall granite, or, 1 or 2 four courts surrounded by thatched cottages?

    • #797725
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I don’t quite get your point about St Paul’s; London has been very careful about protecting its setting and protecting sight lines which incorporate it.

    • #797726
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @notjim wrote:

      I don’t quite get your point about St Paul’s; London has been very careful about protecting its setting and protecting sight lines which incorporate it.

      In terms of the general mix of modern and older bldngs in that area and London City. 4 courts main view from front, can easily tolerate tall buillding behind. There are good examples of classical architectural gems tucked in with huge modern bldngs around the world. It works. Depends on taste somewhat but not any ultimate taboo.

    • #797727
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I don’t think the objection is to a modern building on this site, or to tall modern buildings near old ones, rather, the objection is to a tall building this close to the four courts, the four courts is an important building whose presence in key vistas is valued. I think London takes exactly the same position with St Paul’s, it has modern buildings around it, but none in its immediate proximity were permitted to stand over it: it seems a funny example to use.

    • #797728
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      St Paul’s looks good from all sides. For me, 4 courts nothing special from behind. Vista might be important for you but most here against HKR.

    • #797729
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      For what it’s worth from a non-resident, I think you need to decide what you want Dublin to look like – either (a) you go for medium-rise within the canals (historic 4-storey, modern 6-storey say), punctuated by the odd exclamation mark (although we don’t do that very well today), or (b) go for the hey-look-at-us-we-are-modern, context doesn’t matter, we have the skills to design what we like (and you end up with Hong Kong minus the topography), or (c) anything goes. Nothing personal Joanlemmon, but with a laissez-faire approach you will end up with a developers’ city and in the end commerce and floorspace will triumph over aesthetics and townscape and Dublin will be the loser.

    • #797730
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      ………….back in the real world………though maybe you’re right, poor oul Dublin is scarified with developer led carbuncles and ludramaun planners who cannot see the obvious, bent on uglifying left and right.
      I know that’s true… ………..cos a bloke down the pub told me.

    • #797731
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @d_d_dallas wrote:

      A tad harsh? surely they’re responding to the brief their clients gave them – and they happen to get alot of clients who want to… um… maximise the plot…?!?

      I know that, but different architect firms can produce dramatically different results for a given site. For example the earlier scheme for the Windmill site, by McCull Mulvin & OMP, retained the windmill as the dominant centrepiece of the site – Images – whereas the HKR one emphatically didn’t: Image

    • #797732
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Joanlemmon: Sarcasm does not become you – deal with the arguments. The real world is not the bloated capitalist debt-ridden property-hyped nirvana of high-rise. That’s for weans (i.e. children). Oz is fiction; the city as inherited is real.

    • #797733
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      The biggest problem I’d have with the ‘landmark’ HKR scheme on Smithfield is that they were let (in conjunction with the other development at the North King St. end of the site) knock every last remnant of existing structure on the entire city block.

      When you wipe the slate clean like that, all the layers of urban memory are lost.

      Even if the replacement architecture is quite good and even if the fragments that remained on the site were of only moderate quality and in rag order, the result is still so much shallower that it should have been. You have a 350 year old civic space with nothing on one side of it that’s more than 5 years old. It could be Sandyford with cobble stones.

      There are still two or three fragments of important early structures on Newmarket (Smithfield’s little brother) and I hope whoever is involved in the regereration of that late 17th century civic space, receive a little more guidance by those in charge of the city today, and in the process, they might be invited to get in touch with their sensitive side.

    • #797734
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @gunter wrote:

      When you wipe the slate clean like that, all the layers of urban memory are lost.

      Good point but where do you draw the line between good healthy heritage protection and unproductive,unhealthty nostalgia?
      I’m sure the Four Courts and the G.P.O etc were some other buildings before they were actually built
      and i’m somebody felt slighted by the previous buildings demise

      I do not think an 11storey building would be suitable directly behind the Four Courts like this
      Personally i would not lose a whole lot of sleep, but there are others who would, so their views in this case , in this sensitive location,must be respected.

    • #797735
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @paul h wrote:

      Good point but where do you draw the line between good healthy heritage protection and unproductive,unhealthty nostalgia?
      I’m sure the Four Courts and the G.P.O etc were some other buildings before they were actually built
      and i’m somebody felt slighted by the previous buildings demise

      I do not think an 11storey building would be suitable directly behind the Four Courts like this
      Personally i would not lose a whole lot of sleep, but there are others who would, so their views in this case , in this sensitive location,must be respected.

      Agree with that – it’s where to draw the line. Laugh when I read Dublin reknowned for anything architectural. A few good buildings but otherwise one of the most drab cities visually in W Europe.
      Now ,compared to Basra or Bhopal it’s OK.
      The reason?, not greedy developers……….main reason is poverty. Our beloved greedy developers also want wonderful buildings, if they have the wealth. Also traditional very poor design sense. In every field of visual arts.

    • #797736
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @joanlemmon wrote:

      Also traditional very poor design sense. In every field of visual arts.

      Obviously your whole post is silly, but the above in particular requires rebuff: this is a myth people repeat as a truism. There is no deficit in the visual sense peculiar to the Irish, we have had a good number of illustrious designers, our stain glass movement was extremely strong, Irish painting and sculpting is, and always has been, very good and an appreciation of visual beauty is a significant element in our national discourse.

      It isn’t my thing, but if you are into national pride, Ireland can be proud of its visual sense and certainly that opposite form of national self-mythologizing, the perverse pride in a constructed Irish peculiarism based on a myth of our exception deficits, can’t find legitimate support in our design or in our contribution to the visual arts.

    • #797737
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Spot on, sir.

      There was a time when that was true – the establishment of the Kilkenny Design came about as a result of a visit from a few Danes, I think – but in many fields Ireland can more than hold her own.

    • #797738
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Irish painting very good? Never been one truly great Irish painter or sculptor. Yeats, LeBroquay, lionised here are 2nd rate. LeBroquay not even 2nd rate.The lionisation displays the self delusion. Get the Kilkenny workshop to design the new tax office. An eleven storey thatched cottage will be the result.

    • #797739
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Ah, truly great is it, I was defending Ireland, so called, against the idea visual arts here were unusually bad. There is one truly great Irish painter: Francis Bacon. Le Broquay is certainly very good and Yeats a real original: beyond these three there is a long list of good sculptors and painters. By lionization, I think you mean that Le Broquay’s paintings sell for more here than works of a similar stature would attract elsewhere: that is a natural product of the inflated Irish art market, a sign of the value, lmonetary value, we place on the visual arts, something that speaks against your typically over-blown claims.

    • #797740
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @notjim wrote:

      Ah, truly great is it, I was defending Ireland, so called, against the idea visual arts here were unusually bad. There is one truly great Irish painter: Francis Bacon. Le Broquay is certainly very good and Yeats a real original: beyond these three there is a long list of good sculptors and painters. By lionization, I think you mean that Le Broquay’s paintings sell for more here than works of a similar stature would attract elsewhere: that is a natural product of the inflated Irish art market, a sign of the value, lmonetary value, we place on the visual arts, something that speaks against your typically over-blown claims.

      Francis Bacon is a great painter. He was born here but he is not an ‘Irish’ painter. Either by family background or influences.
      LeBroquay’s main work is derivitive and nowhere near the standard of the work that inspired it. Yeats’ expressive technique, again derived from others, has aged very badly which is the problem with this style. O’Conor was the best of that generation but not generally appreciated for various reasons. Great writers, no great painters.

    • #797741
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Ah, now this is a common trick, the meme is usually that we are good at literature but not at painting, however Irish writers who lived abroad somehow stay Irish (*) and Irish visual artists don’t. I didn’t have what you call an Irish “family background” and I left this country for seven years at 20 but during those seven years, when I had no intention of returning here, I never doubted the influence of our culture had on me.

      Scully, another great artist, is a more difficult case, it is hard to doubt the strength of his relationship with Ireland and it is easy to see an influence of the Irish landscape on his art, but he did leave when he was four.

      As a side note and as a break from my usual forbearance in these arguments, I think the main reason these people left, visual artists, writers and me, was to escape the sort of brainless claptrappery above.

      (*) For some reason this rule doesn’t apply to Olivia Manning.

      PS: 1000th post! Now I am one of archiseek village elders! How many of us is there?

    • #797742
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      this is my last word. Bacon himself did not consider himself Irish. Scully? – decent. Great? ridiculous. It’s a case by case issue re individuals. The awful design legacy of the past can and will change (and is a little) but there is a good reason for the ‘received’ wisdom. There is truth in it.

    • #797743
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      [HTML]

      paul h wrote:
      . . . but where do you draw the line between good healthy heritage protection and unproductive,unhealthty nostalgia?[/HTML]

      That is the difficult question, but that is why urban planning is not like stacking shelves in a supermarket.

      If you are dealing with a entire city block, as at Smithfield, that was planned, divided into plots, and developed as a mixed use city quarter, with an interesting social mix, over a period of nearly 350 years, and what you end up with is a vast, single period redevelopment which completely wipes out every vestige of the pre-existing pattern of development on the site, then the case could be made that you haven’t drawn the line in the right place.

      Remember that there were still several delapidated three storey ordinary early 18th century houses on the west side of Smithfield at the time, as well as some interesting fragments of Bective House together with the bulk of it’s intact stable block on Queen Street.

      A more sensitive redevelopment might have protected these fragments and worked them into a less comprehensive, but more varied and valuable regeneration, and the lavers of urban history which are now lost, would still be legible.

      I understand the point about the Four Courts, but that’s the same challenge, knowing where to draw the line.

    • #797744
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      That 5-bay Bective House stable elevation was impressive. Its central arch is now tokenistically built into a wall in the foyer of the main apartment building. The whole house & stable are seen clearly on Rocque’s map of 1756. Among other things that could/should have been retained in the scheme were a fine late-19th century pub at the top corner of the site which closed the view west along King Street and a red brick warehouse on Queen Street. SCORCHED EARTH was the policy was for that Smithfield site.

    • #797745
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Devin: The ‘scorched earth’ policy you mention has its origins in the ‘comprehensive development area’ (CDA) policies of municipal authorities in the UKin the 1960s and 70s – underpinned by the modernist contempt for history and context – when vast areas of towns were cleared and ‘regenerated’ in a purile modernist way. Many of these areas have never recovered and the architecture is universally loathed. Many younger architects today have no memory of these times and modernist solutions are seen as the only solutions. We had glass-fronted buildings in the 70s; the rationale was that they would ‘reflect’ anf ‘enhance’ better bits of architecture. We have ended up today with the ridiculous situation where glass-fronted buildings reflect – glass-fronted buildings. All very boring and so thirty years ago!

    • #797746
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Devin, that Motor Tax Office proposal can’t be what they had in mind, it doesn’t even look HKR.

      Someone in the planning office must scanned some old Scot-Talloon-Walker scheme by mistake.

      HKR are renowned for a consistant design approach that you could spot a mile away. Not unlike STW now that I think of it.

      Good Jesus! you don’t think some horrible morphing is about to take place?

    • #797747
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @gunter wrote:

      Devin, that Motor Tax Office proposal can’t be what they had in mind, it doesn’t even look HKR.

      Someone in the planning office must scanned some old Scot-Talloon-Walker scheme by mistake.

      HKR are renowned for a consistant design approach that you could spot a mile away. Not unlike STW now that I think of it.

      Good Jesus! you don’t think some horrible morphing is about to take place?

      <a href="http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=6171/07&backURL=Search%20Criteria%20>%20Ref. 6171/07

    • #797748
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Devin, Thanks for the Planning Reference. I wasn’t doubting the quality of your information.

      I had a closer look at that ‘River House’ scheme at the planning counter this morning, the scanned images on the web site were too rough to draw any real conclusions.

      To be fair to HKR it doesn’t look as bad in the flesh as it came across in that contextual elevation that you posted at the top of the thread. The east and west elevations are clad in a shield of gold coloured ‘woven mesh’ to ‘reduce solar gain’ and make more interesting, or words to that effect. I couldn’t find where it said what the mesh was woven out of, it could be metal or bat spittle!

      Oddly, solar gain to the south elevation was addressed by a fully glazed double skin, like the north elevation of the Eircom headquarters at Heuston Gate.

      This scheme seems to have come in under the radar as there are no third party representations from An Taisce or anti-high rise activists.

      There is a great axonometric view of the proposed development in the context of the ‘Markets’ development on page 49 of the blurb, which is miles more sensitive and more interesting than the other views of the Markets proposal on the same page.

      You could make a case for ‘River House’ being taller and less bulky so that it would peep up over the west side of the new square at the Markets and also give a more prominent focal point for the vista down Winetavern Street, but then again, that would bleep the radar.

    • #797749
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @paul h wrote:

      I do not think an 11storey building would be suitable directly behind the Four Courts like this
      Personally i would not lose a whole lot of sleep, but there are others who would, so their views in this case , in this sensitive location,must be respected.

      Paul, I always thought you to be one of the more rational high-risers, but the idea of your ‘not losing a whole lot of sleep’ over such a proposal casts a serious shadow over much else that you’ve said.

      The Four Courts and its gracious river setting is the very essence of Dublin, more so that the po-faced Custom House or cliff-like ranks of terraced housing ever will be; the monumental, stately and instantly memorable emblem of Dublin internationally since the 1950s and earlier. Disregarding any heritage value it has, on landmark status alone it is deserving of the utmost sensitivity in the siting of adjacent developments and indeed those further afield.

      Just as to its interior Gandon’s cunning diminutive entrance vestibule dramatically enhances the scale of the soaring central rotunda, so too does its exterior’s dominant role in the cityscape rely on a quiet environment based on modesty and subservience. This is not a rose-tinted nostalgic interpretation – it is urban design at its most basic. The same approach applies as much to the skyline of Manhattan as it does to the unassuming riverscape of Dublin.

      For such a monstrously over-scaled development to be shovelled in adjacent to the city’s landmark building doesn’t so much highlight the audacity of the architects and their clients as serve to reinforce what we already know: that as long as there is no sensitive policy on high-rise set in concrete in this city, any sense of coherence that it currently has will be utterly lost. Similarly, where such development is appropriate, its impact will be sorely diluted. The fact that the client and architects in this instance deem the proposal to have even a chance of being passed speaks volumes as to the crumbling standards of planning in Dublin city.

    • #797750
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @GrahamH wrote:

      . . . . The fact that the client and architects in this instance deem the proposal to have even a chance of being passed speaks volumes as to the crumbling standards of planning in Dublin city.

      There is a request for Additional Inforfation on this one, with just the usual stuff about material choices, a better model, more photo-montages etc. Paul Kearns, who I never thought was all that easy to impress, is the planner and his report sounds pretty effusive in his enthusiasm for the scheme. I think it would be fair to say that this scheme may have more than just a chance of being passed.

      I know that it may only be a side issue in the context of this proposal, but somebody is going to have to confront this whole ‘mesh’ thing as an elevational treatment.

      External mesh seems to be pushing slanty windows off the screen, when I was only just getting my head around blue shiny bricks. An example of gratuitous mesh hanging can be seen at the new Hilton Hotel opposite Kilmainham court house, which is otherwise a very decent, civic scaled, stone clad, structure. For some inexplicable reason, the corner feature has been partially hung with a giant rectangular mesh box which looks like it is waiting to be fitted out with a shipment of monkeys.

      If a mesh cage of these proportions was erected in the back garden of an olympic hammer thrower’s house, you’d say fair enough, but what is it doing on the facade of a hotel, and why is it only over part of the facade, surely giant mosquitos would just go to the next window!

      I’ve done a bit of research and it appears that the mesh concept can be traced back to neolithic wattle and daub methods of hut construction, but the idea of using it as an external architectural skin seems to originate with the American architect of Japanese extraction, Minoru Yamasaki, in the mid 1950s.

      Yamasaki is the 20th century architect with the singular distinction of having the greatest square footage of completed work spectacularly blown up, easily pushing Albert Speer into second place. Yamasaki’s creations included the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing scheme in St. Louis, Missouri (dynamited 1972), as well as the World Trade Centre (extreme air rage incident 2001). It may be significant that on neither of these doomed structures had Yamasaki taken the precaution of applying his trademark external mesh.

      After Yamasaki, the external mesh skin dropped out of favour and, as an architectural feature, appeared only on marginal structures like inner city schools and RUC stations.

      It’s difficult to be certain why external mesh is making such a comeback in the architectural landscape of Dublin in 2008, but it may just be one more example of the general plundering of the modern movement’s bargain basement in an increasingly desperate scramble to make architecture that is both shiny and new and, at the same time, strangely familiar.

    • #797751
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @GrahamH wrote:

      Paul, I always thought you to be one of the more rational high-risers, but the idea of your ‘not losing a whole lot of sleep’ over such a proposal casts a serious shadow over much else that you’ve said.

      The Four Courts and its gracious river setting is the very essence of Dublin, more so that the po-faced Custom House or cliff-like ranks of terraced housing ever will be; the monumental, stately and instantly memorable emblem of Dublin internationally since the 1950s and earlier. Disregarding any heritage value it has, on landmark status alone it is deserving of the utmost sensitivity in the siting of adjacent developments and indeed those further afield.

      Just as to its interior Gandon’s cunning diminutive entrance vestibule dramatically enhances the scale of the soaring central rotunda, so too does its exterior’s dominant role in the cityscape rely on a quiet environment based on modesty and subservience. This is not a rose-tinted nostalgic interpretation – it is urban design at its most basic. The same approach applies as much to the skyline of Manhattan as it does to the unassuming riverscape of Dublin.

      For such a monstrously over-scaled development to be shovelled in adjacent to the city’s landmark building doesn’t so much highlight the audacity of the architects and their clients as serve to reinforce what we already know: that as long as there is no sensitive policy on high-rise set in concrete in this city, any sense of coherence that it currently has will be utterly lost. Similarly, where such development is appropriate, its impact will be sorely diluted. The fact that the client and architects in this instance deem the proposal to have even a chance of being passed speaks volumes as to the crumbling standards of planning in Dublin city.

      Come on now, i came out against this plan!! what more do you want??:D

      im sorry but i cant get my head around how the four courts is the very essence of dublin?
      yes its a great looking building but of course, but there is a whole lot more to a city than a single building in a nice pleasant setting, but thats just me

      Maybe you and people who have this mindset are the ones who are maybe slightly irrational?
      Some people around here seem to think dublin is an amazingly beautiful wonderous place
      filled with breathtaking architectecture and views,
      I love this dirty old town as much as the next man, but this simply aint so

      Im sure the good people over there in the motor tax office had quite a conundrum on their hands-
      how do we remain producive and efficient with an ever expanding demand and population? obviously they had outgrown their old offices and need more space? always a good sign in my irrational mind.

      For the record i do not think they should build an 11 storey building beside the Four Courts

      The not losing any sleep is simply because i love to see the contrast of old and new , both tall and small- when its done nicely
      [ATTACH]6816[/ATTACH]

      Love it or hate it its definately interesting



      I took this with my phone today a lovely church with a nice dome down on 7st near 1st ave
      apologies for extremely dodgy quality it was pretty sunny today
      for the record im not comparing this with the Four Courts its just a nice contrast for me
      [ATTACH]6821[/ATTACH]

    • #797752
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      paul h: At last, someone who has used the ‘Canary Dwarves’ in a positive context! I agree about the contrast, but the scabrous nature of the ‘old’ building and its next-door gap site do not suggest it is cared-for or has much of a future. Incidentally, in high-density but medium-rise cities like Paris (or indeed in most historic cities on the Continent that were not bombed out of existence) how many gap sites do you ever see? Very few and none in the centre. It seems to be a Brit-Irish phenomenon.

    • #797753
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      This one is waiting for a wrap around development….long promised but not yet delivered.

    • #797754
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @johnglas wrote:

      paul h: At last, someone who has used the ‘Canary Dwarves’ in a positive context! I agree about the contrast, but the scabrous nature of the ‘old’ building and its next-door gap site do not suggest it is cared-for or has much of a future. Incidentally, in high-density but medium-rise cities like Paris (or indeed in most historic cities on the Continent that were not bombed out of existence) how many gap sites do you ever see? Very few and none in the centre. It seems to be a Brit-Irish phenomenon.

      a fair few gap sites in Brussells

    • #797755
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Rory W: Dammit! You picked the one city that would destroy my case – but Brussela has been a tip for years, although the food’s good – and the beer. I say the gaps are the fault of the EU.

    • #797756
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      This pic is one I took in Boston outside South Street Station. I think there’s a nice contrast here between old and new.

    • #797757
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @paul h wrote:

      The not losing any sleep is simply because i love to see the contrast of old and new , both tall and small- when its done nicely

      Not wanting to put words in your mouth, but you clearly made that statement in reference to the development in its proposed form. Nobody is suggesting a contemporary building will not work here – indeed it’s modern as is – rather it is the height that is in question.

      Agreed, Dublin is not the prettiest of urban centres from the wider viewpoint, but like most major European cities it is a mixumgatherum of everything that’s been sucked into the hoover over the past three centuries or so. This is characterful in itself, and is even more reason to preserve the primacy of existing dominant structures of merit within the city core – those which add animation and distinction to the skyline. What sort of a farce of a city would we have with our so few focal buildings swamped by competing structures scaling similar heights. What Dublin lacks in coherence of style is made up for in a largely regular height standard – this is the dominant theme that bonds, above all else, the various parts of the diverse city centre together.

      Far better to protect this, whilst reinforcing focal points of interest on the perimeter of the historic core in specifically designated areas.

      My point regarding the Four Courts is that it is a rare example in the city of a building sited in a dramatically expansive environment. Very few, if any, other buildings can lay claim to such a positioning, that is both picturesque as well as all-encompassing, i,e, that surrounding buildings provide for an accurate representation of the city at large. This setting needs to be jealously protected.

      It is reassuring to know that at least such a prominent development will inevitably end up with ABP on whom one can depend to make the right decision.

    • #797758
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @GrahamH wrote:

      Not wanting to put words in your mouth, but you clearly made that statement in reference to the development in its proposed form. Nobody is suggesting a contemporary building will not work here – indeed it’s modern as is – rather it is the height that is in question.

      Agreed, Dublin is not the prettiest of urban centres from the wider viewpoint, but like most major European cities it is a mixumgatherum of everything that’s been sucked into the hoover over the past three centuries or so. This is characterful in itself, and is even more reason to preserve the primacy of existing dominant structures of merit within the city core – those which add animation and distinction to the skyline. What sort of a farce of a city would we have with our so few focal buildings swamped by competing structures scaling similar heights. What Dublin lacks in coherence of style is made up for in a largely regular height standard – this is the dominant theme that bonds, above all else, the various parts of the diverse city centre together.

      Far better to protect this, whilst reinforcing focal points of interest on the perimeter of the historic core in specifically designated areas.

      My point regarding the Four Courts is that it is a rare example in the city of a building sited in a dramatically expansive environment. Very few, if any, other buildings can lay claim to such a positioning, that is both picturesque as well as all-encompassing, i,e, that surrounding buildings provide for an accurate representation of the city at large. This setting needs to be jealously protected.

      It is reassuring to know that at least such a prominent development will inevitably end up with ABP on whom one can depend to make the right decision.

      A fancy falutin rationale for BANANAISM

    • #797759
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      lemmon by name, acid by nature.

    • #797760
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Johnglas.
      Anagram for :A. J. SHLONG

    • #797761
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Sexist or what – at least I’ve got one!

    • #797762
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I doubt it. I doubt it very much.

    • #797763
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      joan by name, moan by nature?

    • #797764
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      1004 posts. mmmm FAS getting very lax dees daze.

    • #797765
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Miaowwww…

    • #797766
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      C U John Shlong

    • #797767
      admin
      Keymaster

      1004 posts. mmmm FAS getting very lax dees daze

      Over 84 months that is 11.95238095 posts per month vs the 10 per month you have done in less than 2.

      What the hell is Bananism and doesn’t going to FAS vs taking free money from the socsh not imply some form of work ethic?

    • #797768
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      ok sorry: I should have resisted the joan moan comment. it seemed too apt but i should have showed the restraint and dignity more typical of someone with more than 1000 posts.

    • #797769
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Oy dohnt noo wah BANANAISM/a tracker mortgage is…..

    • #797770
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Build
      Absolutely
      Nothing
      Anywhere
      Near
      Anyone

    • #797771
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @joanlemmon wrote:

      Oy dohnt noo wah BANANAISM/a tracker mortgage is…..

      Oh so nonchalantly off the cuff you had to edit. Smooth.

      If you’re going to continue to converse through the medium of ‘cutting’ remarks, at least make them appear half credible. Save us all the embarrassment.

    • #797772
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      2 eezily embarrassed…….

    • #797773
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @alonso wrote:

      Build
      Absolutely
      Nothing
      Anywhere
      Near
      Anyone

      or alternatively:

      Build Anything Now Anywhere Near Anything

      :p

      Btw notjim congrats on hitting your 1000 post mark; I was only noticing that the other day – and you are one of the few long-term contributers, some 7 years on… So many along the way have gone missing-in-action ๐Ÿ™

    • #797774
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I was just looking through the planning submission on DCC website – beautifully put together by the way. The building isn’t doing it for me though by any means – not just because of it’s location. I think it’s poorly proportioned, gimmicky with its trendy mesh cladding, quite ugly and threatening looking when seen from the smithfield side. A lot like some of the rest of HKR’s recent output I hate to say.

      The other example of their current pile em high approach is the replacement for the ESB building in Temple Bar, discussed in a previous thread, which dispite the carefully chosen angles for renders WILL peep its head above the parapet of BOI College Green when seen from Grafton St.

      Im also not a fan of their current approach to facades – wallpaper is the word that springs to mind – whether it;’s mesh, randomized windows, fritted glass & sunshades or whatever. The schemes all look like basic block models with fancy layers added to make them look “interesting”. In the case of their Arnott’s scheme, brutalist and boring are more apt discriptions. I’ve said it before, it reminds me of a 60’s shopping precinct in coventry or somewhere scaled up to gigantic proportions.

      Anyway, hate to be so negative but I hate to see an office with so much obvous talent as proven by previous, beautifully considered projects, going down the developer driven, boring commercial architecture route.

      For the record, I’ve no problems with taller buildings in Dublin city centre. Id subscribe to the beauty in contrast argument – I love seeing old juxtapozed with new. One of my favourites is the view of the glistening Hancock Tower in Boston right beside the ornate church and old fashioned park. In this case though the tower is beautifully proportioned, treated extremely simply and angles it’s facade in deference to the church. Unfortunately theres nothing beautiful about what HKR are proposing for the rear of the Four Courts and so should be shot down immediately.

    • #797775
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @GrahamH wrote:

      Not wanting to put words in your mouth, but you clearly made that statement in reference to the development in its proposed form. Nobody is suggesting a contemporary building will not work here – indeed it’s modern as is – rather it is the height that is in question.

      Agreed, Dublin is not the prettiest of urban centres from the wider viewpoint, but like most major European cities it is a mixumgatherum of everything that’s been sucked into the hoover over the past three centuries or so. This is characterful in itself, and is even more reason to preserve the primacy of existing dominant structures of merit within the city core – those which add animation and distinction to the skyline. What sort of a farce of a city would we have with our so few focal buildings swamped by competing structures scaling similar heights. What Dublin lacks in coherence of style is made up for in a largely regular height standard – this is the dominant theme that bonds, above all else, the various parts of the diverse city centre together.

      Far better to protect this, whilst reinforcing focal points of interest on the perimeter of the historic core in specifically designated areas.

      My point regarding the Four Courts is that it is a rare example in the city of a building sited in a dramatically expansive environment. Very few, if any, other buildings can lay claim to such a positioning, that is both picturesque as well as all-encompassing, i,e, that surrounding buildings provide for an accurate representation of the city at large. This setting needs to be jealously protected.

      It is reassuring to know that at least such a prominent development will inevitably end up with ABP on whom one can depend to make the right decision.

      As ive said before i do not wish to see this go ahead as im quite sure it wont
      it fate seems doomed as does most building of any controversial height
      the Four Courts is a sensitive location and should remain unaltered.

      it is a mixumgatherum of everything that’s been sucked into the hoover over the past three centuries or so.

      So thats it, what has been built previously cannot be altered in any way?
      What about the next three centuries? Shackeled and restricted by the previous three?
      I dont subscribe to that notion. for me , to stay relevant ,even stay interesting,
      in a rapidly changing world a city should be constantly evolving,
      parts remaining the same but other parts obviously change over time

      we have with our so few focal buildings swamped by competing structures scaling similar heights

      I think we have so few focal buildings in our city because of the crazy height restricions that have been imposed on us
      Of course there are many locations where we should not build tall buildings

      But the complete – anti everything high rise no matter where its proposed -of some posters here and organisations in Ireland is frustrasting to say the least,
      and for me makes their opinions, on these matters , irrelevent.

    • #797776
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      BANANAS and PEARS the lot of yiz. Lively yurselves up! You’re not getting it. This new HKR tax office is an ironic take and a true masterpiece. Better then the Bilbao Guggenheim.

    • #797777
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Hard to see what sort of impact it would have on the four courts from this render. Anyone have any other renders in front of the four courts??

    • #797778
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Thats not a bad image. Nice to see some Cg artists recognise the opaque nature of glazing!!

    • #797779
      admin
      Keymaster

      looks half decent but surely will significantly challenge the drum & dome of the four courts.

    • #797780
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      The title got me all excited then I read the 11 stories bit:rolleyes:
      http://ireland.archiseek.com/news/2008/000221.html

    • #797781
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      anyone have the planning reference number?

    • #797782
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      FFS… when I read “Giant Gargantuan Super Tower” I was expecting something like Tapei101!
      Just goes to show what a rag the Herald is with its negative sensational slant on this story.
      I actually like the planned building and its a huge improvement on whats there already but of course all we hear about is the negative aspect.

    • #797783
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Full Story…

      Giant city tower would ‘dwarf’ the Four Courts

      By Andrew Phelan
      Thursday August 14 2008
      A MAJOR row is looming after plans were submitted for a gargantuan tower that would dwarf the historic Four Courts.

      The capital’s former motor taxation office is to be replaced by an 11-storey office tower that will rise up behind the Four Courts buildings.

      Dublin City Council has given the green light for the building, aimed at providing a “beacon” for the regeneration of the area. The 1970s-built motor tax office will be demolished to make way for the new block on the Luas line at the corner of Chancery Street and Greek Street.

      One opponent objected to the building’s height — at least as tall as the Four Courts’ landmark dome. Others feared the amount of traffic it would generate, as well as potential overshadowing of nearby flats.

      The developers, Linders of Smithfield, have not yet identified future tenants of the scheme, but anticipate they will be mainly related to the area’s court activities. It is expected to house up to 450 workers. The ground floor will be given over to commercial services and there will be 21 parking spaces in the basement.

      In its decision, Dublin City Council said the site had a critical role to play in the future sustainability of the wider city centre and the building would help consolidate an “under-performing” area.

      “The planning authority is of the opinion that the proposed development … provides for an appropriate mixed-use development of the highest quality that balances the recognised needs for retail/commercial spaces at this sensitive historic location,” the council stated.

      The application says a smaller seven-storey element of the block will correspond to the “shoulder height” of the Four Courts and surrounding buildings.

      The 11-storey section is intended to be a “beacon” for the wider regeneration of the area.

      LAndmark

      “The taller element of the proposed building is no taller than the dome and is rightfully subservient to this historic structure,” the statement continues, “yet still of a scale and proportion significant enough to signal the large regeneration project and denote the location of a new vibrant urban quarter in the city.

      “The taller, slender 11-storey section is to act as a marker that signifies the regeneration of the markets area,” the document continues. “The aspiration for the building from the outset was to create something that is visually striking and of a quality that befits its location both along the Luas corridor and as the gateway to the markets regeneration area.”

      – Andrew Phelan

      http://www.herald.ie/national-news/city-news/giant-city-tower-would-dwarf-the-four-courts-1454790.html

    • #797784
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @mac123 wrote:

      Just goes to show what a rag the Herald is with its negative sensational slant on this story. I actually like the planned building and its a huge improvement on whats there already but of course all we hear about is the negative aspect.

      Hmm…

      @Evening Herald wrote:

      The 11-storey section is intended to be a “beacon” for the wider regeneration of the area.

      LAndmark

      “The taller element of the proposed building is no taller than the dome and is rightfully subservient to this historic structure,” the statement continues, “yet still of a scale and proportion significant enough to signal the large regeneration project and denote the location of a new vibrant urban quarter in the city.

      “The taller, slender 11-storey section is to act as a marker that signifies the regeneration of the markets area,” the document continues. “The aspiration for the building from the outset was to create something that is visually striking and of a quality that befits its location both along the Luas corridor and as the gateway to the markets regeneration area.”

      Imo giving this the green light is completely inappropriate given it’s adjacent proximity to the Four Courts.

      The 11 storey bulk so close to the Courts, which is primarily 3 floors in composition, would look as appropriate as an elephant on a bicycle. The context and setting of the courts will be forever damaged if this gets through, and DCC having given this the green light makes a mockery of supposed notions of conservation in the 2000 planning act. The Motor Tax office is horrendous; but why do we have to replace it with a bigger mess? This leaves the Bridgefoot Street scheme (shot down by the Bord) in the ha’penny place compared with this, which has real potential for significant negative impact on one of Irelands great urban Georgian essays, and surely is every bit as controversial as the Clarence.

    • #797785
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @Peter Fitz wrote:

      looks half decent but surely will significantly challenge the drum & dome of the four courts.

      You really need to see the fuller montages to get the real understanding of this yoke’s impact. It is asymmetrical visual competition which totally clashes with the Four Courts…

    • #797786
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      How do you know if it “totally clashes” with the Four Courts? Are there are views from quays with it in the background?

    • #797787
      admin
      Keymaster

      the ref is 6171/07, i’ve just gone through it and can’t find any decent montages of four courts & the proposed …
      quality of scans is pretty bad also.

      The image Devin pulled on the first page of this thread is about as good as it gets … if anyone has better stuff, please post.

    • #797788
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      That old chestnut of heights. Unless I’m mistaken this building is located within the ‘City Market Framework Development Area’ which as per all city planning docs is wishy washy in dealing with the issue of heights. This is the crux of the problem. This ad hoc approach of applying for random high rises is a waste of everyones time. Of course DCC arent going to grant this because, aside from the conservation issues, it establishes a precedent, someone next door has a reasonable case to go in for a 15 storey etc etc. For my two cents, I think the area around the Four Courts looks like a post-apocalyptic wasteland and could definitely benefit from good contemporary backdrop. The height is the issue and I think “NOTHING’ over six storeys should be granted anywhere in this city until a decent, site specific height strategy is in place. How hard can that be.

    • #797789
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @Westie wrote:

      That old chestnut of heights. Unless I’m mistaken this building is located within the ‘City Market Framework Development Area’ which as per all city planning docs is wishy washy in dealing with the issue of heights. This is the crux of the problem. This ad hoc approach of applying for random high rises is a waste of everyones time. Of course DCC arent going to grant this because, aside from the conservation issues, it establishes a precedent, someone next door has a reasonable case to go in for a 15 storey etc etc. For my two cents, I think the area around the Four Courts looks like a post-apocalyptic wasteland and could definitely benefit from good contemporary backdrop. The height is the issue and I think “NOTHING’ over six storeys should be granted anywhere in this city until a decent, site specific height strategy is in place. How hard can that be.

      You would like to think so wouldn’t you, but…

      @DCC Website wrote:

      <a href="http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=6171/07&backURL=Search%20Criteria%20>%20Decision: GRANT PERMISSION

      ๐Ÿ™

      Yet should anyone really be that suprised, given the ghastly Bridgefoot Street scheme that they previously approved… This is all desperate stuff that is dangerously raising the site values where lower lying buildings stand, without as Westie notes an overall plan – which is exactly what can make for further dereliction and blight.

      Regarding the impact of the new height at Chancery Street, the current Tax Office building is 6 floors in height]twice [/I]the height… Chancery Street by name and Chancery Street by nature…

    • #797790
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      An example of high rises behind an historic domed building:

      http://cache.virtualtourist.com/3304560-Millennium_Bridge_and_St_Pauls_Cathedral-London.jpg

    • #797791
      Anonymous
      Inactive
    • #797792
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      But they’re not across the street from St. Pauls?

    • #797793
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster
    • #797794
      admin
      Keymaster

      The only defence for the building is that by refurbing you would have a smaller carbon footprint it is otherwise a fat slag in decaying concrete with no real design quality.

      There is no doubt that the HKR building is both very attractive given rental levels for the area and dramatically overscaled for such a sensitive location.

      But to call it a dramatic City tower is streching it to Ballinaskully type levels of ridiculousness chop 4 stories off and it is viable building for its location.

      BL pulled the Cheesgrater on Friday the discussion around its acceptability is an interesting discussion.

    • #797795
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I think we can all agree that the current building must go

    • #797796
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @Paul Clerkin wrote:

      Anyone care to mount a defence of the Motor Tax Office? ๐Ÿ˜‰
      http://ireland.archiseek.com/buildings_ireland/dublin/northcity/capel_street/chancery_street/tax_lge.html

      Poor quality execution and very poor maintenance, but, yes, I am prepared to say that I like the design of this building. I like, as ever, its rigour, espessialy since it is amusingly mocked by the almost pomo nod to deco, particularly to that Irish institutional deco which was common in the 50s. The brutalist first floor projection is appealingly muscular.

      Leaving the height issue aside, and ignoring the quality of the materials, I don’t see that the proposal is any nicer that this. I seems so clear to some people that glass on its own is nicer than glass and concrete, I am not sure this will be so obvious in the future.

    • #797797
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @notjim wrote:

      yes, I am prepared to say that I like the design of this building. I like, as ever, its rigour

      The Motor Tax Office has ‘rigour’, notjim! The thing has rigor mortis, it should be be put under the gound as soon as possible.

      On the HKR replacement, I had a quick read through the planner’s report, but once Additional Information is requested, planner’s reports become predictable and largely meaningless.

      Requests for Additional Information are like watching old-fashioned courtship rites, everyone knows how it’s going to end, but the quaint bashful rituals make it all look so civilized and miles away from the lustful bout of procreation that a quick Vegas style ‘Congradulations, you’re hitched’, would signal.

      Realizing that their foot was now well inside the door, HKR simply had to provide what the initial planner’s report indicated that the Planning Office wanted to hear.

      DCC:

      Provide justification for the proposed height and scale at this ‘Prominent and sensitive location’

      HKR:

      ‘. . the proposed building is a ”a composition of 7 & 11 storeys” and the design rationale was to avoid a squat building of uniform height, but rather to split the volume into two elements of varying height that function to both tie in with the surrounding urban scale and also to provide the ‘beacon’ element for the wider regeneration project’ (the markets area redevelopment). The 11 storey element provides an elegant profile particularly when viewed on the axis down Winetavern St. from Christchurch that marks one of the main entrance points into The Markets Project.’

      ‘The applicants for this project are also members of the MRC consortium who have been selected as prefered bidders on the Fish & Fruit & Vwgitable Market site which forms a core of The Markets Area Regeneration project. The building has always been designed to form a key part of this larger project.’

      ‘. . . the taller element of the proposed building is no taller than the dome and is rightly subservient to this historic structure yet still of a scale and proportion significant enough to signal the large regeneration project and sub-sequentially denote the location of a new vibrant urban quarter in the city.’

      ‘The proposed redevelopment . . . is of exceptional architectural design quality and part of a positive urban design solution . . ‘

      DCC:

      The Planning authority is of the opinion that a coherent and reasonable rationale has been made for the proposed height – in principle – at this location.’

      Cue: Confetti and celebrations

      The only significant issue that DCC had with this proposal, at the end of the day, was the external mesh skin treatment!

      I think we may have had some fun with this at the time, but DCC aren’t having any of this mesh nonsense and no amount HKR assertions that crisp packets wouldn’t get caught in the mesh, two storeys up, was going to fool a steely eyed Planning Official.

      @cgcsb wrote:

      An example of high rises behind an historic domed building: (St. Paul’s Cathedral)

      I knew I’d eventually get some use out of my London pictures.

      Whatever about the architectural value of the new Paternoster Square, at least the redevelopment recognises that it’s place is to play a supporting role and it has urban qualities that it’s detested predecessor didn’t have.

    • #797798
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      gunter: it was a challenge, I thought I did ok?

    • #797799
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      http://www.sbpost.ie/post/pages/p/story.aspx-qqqt=IRELAND-qqqm=news-qqqid=35550-qqqx=1.asp
      HKR a credit to themselves and the industry

      Founded in Dublin in 1992 with five employees, HKR has grown to employ about 200 people.

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