Spencer Dock

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    • #704795

      Regarding the myriad of objections against the Spencer Dock development( It seems everyone including the world and its mother
      have a gripe about the proposal);upon reflection, maybe Dublin or its citizens rather, do not deserve such a grandiose scheme. Especially when you see the filth and dirt of the capital’s streets, strewn with litter and reeking of piss. Its overall grubbinees is a reflection of its ‘civic minded’ people, so how could a great financial and physical enhancement in an otherwise obsolete and decrepit area ever be appreciated by visually illiterate trogolodytes.
      A much better solution would be to re-open Campions Bar who’s fate everyone is now so concerned about(It was alright to let it fall into decay)and use that as the new national conference centre.Beside this we could have a Tesco’s and a Spar and hundreds of mock Tudor/Georgian homes as far as the eye could see, with streets paved with cobble stones, lit with retro Victorian lamp standards.
      And of course for the vertigo ridden citizens everything would be under two storeys high, so as not to block the spectacular views of the sheep and goats on the Dublin mountains or indeed intrude upon the glorious Georgian boulevards of Gardiner St. and Sean McDermott St.
      Ah!… What a wonderful legacy of civic and urban renewal I’ll leave behind will say .B..B..Bertie as Baron Haussmann writhes in his grave.

    • #714260
      Rory W

      OK Greg just to clarify on a few points that you have made.

      1) Campions Bar is still open (It never closed) but I don’t believe that it is an amazing jewel of undiscovered Dublin.

      2) “Visually illiterate troglodytes” hmmm very interesting description of people who do not share your point of view on this matter. Is your own opinion perfect???

      3) “Financial and physical enhancement” that sounds like the 1960’s developers battle cry of PROGRESS. I dont think that it will be of any physical enhancement to the area. Lets just see what sort of enhancement it adds – no doubt it will be the same as that other great centre of attractivness the IFSC (where I happen to live and work and am very happy to do so) however, having the choice of one not very good bar, one not very good and overpriced shop and one closed restraunt, this is the sort of facilities that will be provided in the Spencer Dock Development. If you want choice you have to go to the city centre. I have to agree with Dermot Desmond on this one – after 6 weekdays and on weekends the IFSC is the dullest place on the planet so why would we want to create 51 acres of the same. Are we incapable of learning from past errors. To create an exciting vibrant area you need to have mixed usage and more than on of each “facility” (Shop, pub etc) to have a Tesco’s down here would be great thanks very much. I for one would like to know who my neighbours are why are we creating another deeply unfriendy set of apartment blocks where no one knows your name. And also the ‘will there wont there’ question of Luas/Public transport/cross river link, I don’t think anything should be done until this is resolved.

      4) Whilst I certainly dont want to see Mock Georgian/Victorian in this new area of the city why should we see mock AMERICAN. I dont have any particular dislike of renewal, in fact Im all for the renewal of this site, I don’t object to high rise (as I have said on many occasions on this site) but what I do object to (and I would say most of the people who object, is the inherant poor design of the entire project. It is exceedingly bland, is not created as a living breathing area of Dublin but is nothing more than an inner city office park.
      5) You are right in saying that we Dubliners do not diserve this development – not because Dublin is full of piss and litter but because this development adds nothing whatsoever to Dublin. And as for Baron Hausmann – you might as well blame there worst parts of La Defense on him.

      Rory W

    • #714261

      Rumour is that Kevin Roche is such a star after his turn at the Spencer Dock hearing, that RTE is rushing out its documentary on him, for screening next Monday. Check it out.

    • #714262

      On the Greg Franklin point.

      What I’ve seen so far of the Spencer Dock development is of a very poor design standard. They don’t appear to have moved on from the seventies and display none of the innovations of recent high rise designs (e.g. the Commersbank HQ in Munich) appearing to be a simple stacking of as much lettable accommodation as possible, presumably capped with a concealed jungle of air conditioning equipment.

      (During the planning hearing, Mr Roche apparently said in reply to complaints that the building profiles were boring ‘if you want tops, we can do tops’. Obviously a lot of thought has going into that aspect of the design.)

      Ireland is going through a building boom, and there is a tempatation to make hay while the sun shines and not look gift horses in the etc. etc. But Dublin and its citizens deserve better than what is being offered and shouldn’t accept a rubbish design out of fear of losing the development.

      The Spencer Dock planning decision shouldn’t be a political one. Dublin should wait until the right design is produced.

    • #714263

      seems to me that there are many people in Dublin who have a phobia of tall buildings in their beloved city (i.e. the “No High Rise” banner behind Tara St. Station. Spencer dock looks sound from a design point of view, and for people worried about it’s conflicting with the city’s Georgian architecture, lets not forget that it wouldn’t be anywhere near the city centre, and it would certainly be an improvement on the wasteland which now currently lies between the city centre and the Point Depot.
      If you don’t want to live or work near tall buildings, Wicklow isn’t far away!

    • #714264
      Clarke Shane

      I wish to take issue with the views espressed by Andy. The primary reason that Dublin should reject the Spenser Dock proposal is in relation to urban design issues; to focus the debate on the height of the proposed buildings is to miss the point somewhat – although this issue is of considerable importance. Spenser Dock is a slice of corporate American urban design in a city which is beginning to look to an older, more civic minded, high quality, sustainable pattern of urban development in a European tradition. In this scheme private space dominates public space, corporate value(s) over civic values, profit over people. Anyone who has had the misfortune to live near Canary Warff in London’s docklands will realise what a mistake is Spenser Dock.

      The Spenser Dock area is actually in the heart of the city centre. It is as close to O’Connell St as that street is to Grafton Street. As to his flipatnt view that ‘if you don’t want to live or work near tall buildings, Wicklow isn’t far away!’ – well most people do not have this option. People come before development – and I am very pro (high quality) development. Dublin does not have to stand for such a scheme.

    • #714265
      Rory W

      Shane, you are absolutely right about the need for sustainable development in this area, the IFSC population is transient at best, I for one would like to live here for quite some time yet (Been here 3 years already), but I don’t particularly want to live in the middle of an office park. Andy you are totally missing the point about the design – its not about the facades of the buildings (although they are a bit too ‘Dallas’ for my liking) or even particularly about the height of the buildings, but the content and the overall layout of the site. It will attract people on a 9-5 monday to friday basis leaving the place desolate in the evening and at the weekends, that is the sort of development that Dublin does not need – and indeed should not stand for.

      Yes, unlike many locals down here, I have the option of living in Wicklow but why should I. I don’t want to live in the sprawling mess that Dublin’s suburbs have become. Why should I contribute to pollution along the Stillorgan Dual Carriageway or get crushed on the Dart. I live in the IFSC, I work in the IFSC. Why shouldn’t I want a good environment.

      Rory W

    • #714266

      Not to mention the destruction of Ireland First National Park(and one of our finest or should I say was!), at Glen of the Downs.

    • #714267

      The Spencer Dock development is only one aspect of the overall docklands regeneration programme.It is a pivotal point of the overall scheme.It is a composite design with the National Conference Centre at it’s core, and designed by a renowned and experienced architect. Aswell as being residential it will be partially corporate and of a commercially driven nature of course because that is one of it’s prime purposes ; to create a financially buoyant heartland for Dublin, of which every successful prosperous city throughout the world possess today. Therefore, it requires to be somewhat monumental. To decry it for it’s ‘Americaness’ is absurd when such modern international commercial centres require this format.With the booming economy, the deficit in office space and the urban sprawl, Dublin requires such if it’s to successfully compete now and in the future. The Spencer Dock plan is proposed for an obsolete area of the city, a former railroad depot. It does not infringe upon what could be termed ‘the historical core’. It will generate a thriving, prosperous and desirable new modern district for the city.
      It will be an addition rather than a subtraction, creating another facet, another aspect. The National Conference Centre will become a new internationally distinguishable landmark for Dublin. To jeopardise it would be a regrettable loss for the city and nation.
      Dublin in comparison to other European cities is no Paris, Florence or Rome. It is a rather a mediocre post colonial provincial city with much of it’s historical core dertimentally ruined; the demoliton of fine period buildings, the widening of medieval streets etc…, all irreversible. One can look at the
      condition of the quays for example from Heuston Station to the Four Courts and see the bitty urban renewal schemes particularly along Ushers quay, the lack of uniformity
      (the petrol station is misplaced )and the neglect of the few genuine remaining period buildings (There are several Georgian examples). Also the fine 19th century church of St. Paul’s on Arran quay which contains a notable mural remains abandoned, its portico serving as a shelter for the homeless. All this within the so called ‘historical core’, or whats left of it and no one bleats a word of protest.Would it not be better to rejuvenate these old established areas of the city as an ideal inner city living quarters with all the demands, facilities and needs of a community. The scale of the existing buildings would lend themselves more favourably to the close knit neighbourhood vibe.

    • #714268
      Rory W

      OK, more responses from me:

      1) Do you work for SDDC (or an associated company) as they are the only other people who have described this development in such an estate agent/developers view?

      2) If it is such a brilliant and pivotal development for the docklands why are the docklands development authority objecting to it?

      3) “As well as residential it will be partially corporate” get real, I dont call a development of between 4.6 and 6 million square feet of office space as partially corporate. Two 17 storey blocks of apartments at the back of the development is hardly a well balanced scheme.

      4) Other than office space and a conference centre what is going to attract people to this area especially after 6 and at the weekends. Its amazing the amount of people who come to the IFSC for things like the St Patricks Day Fireworks or Red Bull Flugtag and go “I never knew this place existed” but soon see that outside of office hours is dead, and not worth coming back to.

      5) What exactly do you mean when you say “modern office centres require this format”? In what way is this a ‘requirement’?

      6)It will not create a “thriving, prosperous, and desireable new district for the city” – instead it will create a dull lifeless office park (albeit tall), with a transient population living in dull lifeless canyons of streets with nothing in the way of suitable facilities to create a sustainable population on even a 24 hour basis.

      7) Using the “it would be a great loss for city and nation” is a well hackneyed phrase at this stage. It is using the lowest common denominator argument ie accept this or you will get nothing.. it is tantamount to blackmail.

      8) The last paragraph just refering to creating communities elsewhere, why not create a community at Spencer Dock, what is so wrong with having a good mix of offices, accomadation and facilities?

      Oh and the conference centre becoming a new internationally recognisable landmark for Dublin……I can see the tourists now amazed how the monumentally bald walls give no credence to its canalside location. Why not make the canal a focal point for a human side to the devlopment, I for one would love to see restrants bars and shops along the canalside. I would be a lovely place to sit in the summer especiaaly after a long day at the office.

      Why cant we create an area that people will want to stay after work? or even visit at the weekend?

      Rory W

    • #714269

      Well said Rory!
      Did anyone see Tuesday night’s advertisement for the scheme by RTE. With it’s swooping shots of Kevin Roche’s at best mediocre output, set to stirring soaring musical accompaniment with no less than Gehry himself singing the praises, how could anyone dare to criticise the great man!
      Yes, Kevin Roche has created some stunning buildings, but he even admitted that the speculative development schemes of which Spencer Dock is a prime example, led to conservative and solely utilitarian design. His car oriented schemes which were hailed in the programme as one of his greatest innovations are fantastic in the American midwest, but for god’s sake, not in Dublin.
      And please may he redesign the canal frontage of the conference centre because at the moment it constitutes an obscenity and an insult. A big blank box with an (admittedly quite funky) glass cylinder does not make a great building.

      [This message has been edited by BTH (edited 23 March 2000).]

      [This message has been edited by BTH (edited 30 March 2000).]

    • #714270

      In response to Rory it appears that there is S.F.A. behind those walls of the IFSC citadel.
      I guess Dermot Desmond helped to create a Frankenstein ( a souless ugly monster ).
      No wonder he wants to prevent the S.D.D. That could be it’s bride I suppose.
      One wonders how the established residents of the surrounding areas i.e. Sherriff St.
      Mayor St…ever surrived in such a deprived wasteground before the moneymen blow-ins came along.
      If anything good ever comes of the area I suppose they will be still ostracized so as
      the ‘suits’ can enjoy their quality time within their specially designed recreational
      open spaces.

    • #714271

      I know it’s easy to have a go at this Greg Franklin guy, but on a point of accuracy, to say that ‘no-one bleats a word of protest’ (are we not sheep?!) is not correct – a lot of people were involved in protests at the time much of the development along the west quays took place, including occupying buildings due to be demolished.

      I think the argument that one wrong justifies another is a bit lame.

    • #714272

      On the issue of blank walls does’nt Roches NCC thing with its featureless block resemble the Abbey Theatre in a way. Was’nt that designed by Michael Scott of Busaras fame. Originally that was just the plain box minus the recent ‘sticky out’ decorative addition and set within the streetscape. Ugh!

    • #714273

      I’m new to this debate, it’s good to see different viewpoints.
      Query.Greg Franklin mentioned Baron Haussmann in his first contribution and Rory W replied with ‘You can blame the worst parts of La Defence on him’.
      What do you exactly mean Rory when there is about one hundred years seperating the two? Haussmann was quite successful was he not at unifying urban spaces and creating a sense of community life.Please explain the connection.
      Merci Beaucoup!

    • #714274

      Can I add, I know the dilemma of the blank walls should be resolved,but taking a subjective view Roche’s NCC; the bulk and basic interocking geometric forms ammounts to a somewhat minimalistic monument echoing
      the monumental architecture of ancient civilizations. The term architectural
      ‘purism’ could be applied; the same ideology applied to the present Abbey Theatre.
      May I ask the contributors of the forum their views of the block form of the NCC in comparison to the cylindrical form of the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.

    • #714275
      Rory W

      JP, to clear up my comment on Baron Haussmann, Greg Franklin said that by Bertie Ahern in condeming the development was comparible to Baron Haussmann writhing in the grave. What I was saying that the worst parts of La Defense are similar to what is proposed in Spencer Dock ie all office and no life. I just found it odd that the Spencer Dock Development Corporation was being compared to the work of Haussmann, when the two are poles apart!!!

      Hope this clears it up
      Rory W

    • #714276

      Proposed NCC or Waterfront =? (No response)
      Therefore instinguishable?

    • #714277

      Instinguishable = ?
      Sorry should, be ‘Indistinguishable’

    • #714278

      I posted about a month ago on the Spencer Dock subject, and as regards my “move to Wicklow” comment, it wasn’t meant to be taken wholely serious, and my apologies for any misunderstanding. I acknowledge that the Spencer development is a tad faceless as regards modern architecture such as the Commerzbank or even the Petronas Towers, if you want to take national inentity into accout. But my 2 main points were that 1) Although it’s good to argue for better design, there is still need for development in that part of the city, which is very much wasted, and 2) It may be technically as near to O’Connell St. as Grafton street is, but it’s not what anyone could convincingly argue as “the heart of the city centre”. Also, if I may put an open question to this forum – what are your opinions on the “AIB building” (don’t know official name) on the other side of the Custom’s House to Liberty Hall? Personally, its my favourite newer building in Dublin, it oozes style, and I’m proud to have it in our city.

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