The Royal College of Physicians

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    • #708076
      GrahamH
      Participant

      The perhaps little observed College building on Kildare Street is undergoing a complete restoration at the moment, significantly including the cleaning of its Portland stone facade. Yet another of our capital’s buildings has emerged as something of a revelation from underneath years of grime:

      1994


      (Dublin – A Grand Tour)

      2005

      It’s magnificent!

      Fitzgerald notes in Dublin AGT that the upper floor was replaced with new Portland stone in 1963 due to deterioration of the original stone – so this explains the extraordinary crispness of the detailing. I was wondering, it looks brand new!

      Must admit to never having been a fan of the capitals though, they look more like balls of cauliflower than classical foliage! An Irish solution perhaps…
      Though maybe the vegetable element was intended, the physicians promoting healthy eating and all that ๐Ÿ˜€

      A few more images below showing the contrast between cleaned and yet-to be-cleaned parts of the portico, the knife-sharp dentils and cornice, and the newly restored windows painted a lovely dark shade, maybe a deep green:

    • #760498
      Morlan
      Participant

      WOW, it really does look brand new. Must head down there meself and get some snaps of it.

    • #760499
      Anonymous
      Participant

      wow is right. i think that’s amazing. the difference is huge. they really did a lovely job.

    • #760500
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      Looks excellent – always liked it

    • #760501
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Yes, it’s an elegant building – simple and unpretentious. Flat porticos always do it for me ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kildare Street is now displaying a fine array of sparkling clean stones from around Ireland and Britain.
      There’s such interest in this streetscape, and unusually not just from the design of the buildings but also the materials used – from Georgian red brick to Victorian red brick to a wide variety of limestones, sandstone and granite – loads of colour and texture.

    • #760502
      GrahamH
      Participant

      The College day and dusk:

      As good as it looks, can’t help thinking it could’ve been done a bit better – the spots on the roof of the porch are very hot up under the pediment there, and they don’t light the wall itself very well. Floods would surely be better than spotlights?

      The lighting from the basement is effective though, as per Govt Buildings and countless others around the city:

      Looks nice and cosy in here ๐Ÿ™‚

      And just as I passed it this evening – the new Topshop in the old Habitat store on the Green pulling out all the stops for their launch:

    • #760503
      tommyt
      Participant

      @Graham Hickey wrote:

      Yes, it’s an elegant building – simple and unpretentious. Flat porticos always do it for me ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kildare Street is now displaying a fine array of sparkling clean stones from around Ireland and Britain.
      There’s such interest in this streetscape, and unusually not just from the design of the buildings but also the materials used – from Georgian red brick to Victorian red brick to a wide variety of limestones, sandstone and granite – loads of colour and texture.

      The cleaning of the Alliance Francais building unfortunately seems to have damaged some of the cutesy detailing at the bottom of some of the pillars like the dog chasing the hare/rabbit.

    • #760504
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      @tommyt wrote:

      The cleaning of the Alliance Francais building unfortunately seems to have damaged some of the cutesy detailing at the bottom of some of the pillars like the dog chasing the hare/rabbit.

      I’m pretty sure they’ve been damaged for years, unless the damage has got worse in the recent past. I put it down to decades of atmospheric pollution rather than cleaning.

    • #760505
      tommyt
      Participant

      Would have passed there regularly before and during the cleaning process, whilst the detailing was not perfect I think they got slightly more damaged.Could be that the cleaning just accentuated their deteriorating state though I s’pose…

    • #760506
      tba
      Participant

      There is also a significant moderisation internally (sensitive). Its worth a look for the lift atrium on the right hand side.

    • #760507
      Gianlorenzo
      Participant

      The RCPI building looks wonderful. Bravo to all concerned.

    • #760508
      GrahamH
      Participant

      4/4/2008

      I recently came across this photograph. Recognise anyone?

      It’s the original breakfront part of the sandstone facade of the College as taken down around 1963-1964, and replaced with the current Portland facings. It now stands as a folly on the course of Woodlawn Golf Cub in Co. Wicklow!

      This picture shows the facade in its pristine condition three years ago (yikes it feels like last week I posted this).

      Extraordinary how terribly weathered it had become (no wonder it was replaced), and also interesting that the same problem afflicted the same stone on the same street in the case of the National Library and National Museum dressings next door which also decayed extremely rapidly and had to be replaced. Although unlike the Donegal Mountcharles sandstone in the case of the latter, perhaps the College’s had come from Britain. Odd to think the College was once entirely golden in colour (doubt it was red sandstone).

      I wonder if they have the rest of the facade down there too. Christine Casey notes that only three deviations were made from the original design when it was refaced by Desmond Fitzgerald. The balustrade of the portico was omitted, the frieze of the portico was made plain so the incised lettering could be employed…

      …and square-headed windows with elegant cornices were substituted on the ground floor for the segmental-headed windows (with mildly rounded heads).

      This was done as William G. Murray’s original published design for the building featured these square heads, and in any event they work better with the linear nature of the facade.

      I love these fully rounded sidelights – beautiful proportions and detailing.

      The wider elevation is a tad on the awkward side, but typical of that palazzo style I suppose.

      The dark green paintwork is achingly perfect ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • #760509
      fergalr
      Participant

      I walk up Kildare St most weekdays and to be fair, Graham, the air is mostly blue from the numbers of buses and coaches heaving their way up it. So I’d guess any stonework is likely to get a bit grotty. But it still sticks out like a pearl. During winter mornings they left the lights on in the library on the first floor and it is absolutely stunning, as magnificent as the rare glimpses of Georgian ceilings that you sometimes get in early evenings through the windows.

    • #760510
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Yup some great views of up there ๐Ÿ™‚

      Just passing by the other day I noticed a curious little detail – the original segmental heads of the Victorian ground floor windows which are still intact. They’re just concealed behind the 1960’s stonework!

      Fancy that.

      Talk about cutting costs! Nice to know the original sashes probably survived.

    • #760511
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      @GrahamH wrote:

      4/4/2008

      I recently came across this photograph. Recognise anyone?

      It’s the original breakfront part of the sandstone facade of the College as taken down around 1963-1964, and replaced with the current Portland facings. It now stands as a folly on the course of Woodlawn Golf Cub in Co. Wicklow!

      Woodlawn, or Woodbrook? I ask because there’s a folly in the grounds of Woodbrook House that I remember being quite similar. It’ll be a day or two before I can check the photos at home, but I think it might be the same one. It’s the the east of the east facing (rear) elevation of the house, and can be seen from the golf club car park.

      Either way, nice detective work.

    • #760512
      GrahamH
      Participant

      I have no idea where I got Woodlawn from. It is of course Woodbrook, just outside Bray.
      What a silly error – thanks for the clarification.

      In fairness, all these 70’s suburban estate-sounding places just meld into one ๐Ÿ˜‰

      It’d be great if you’ve any decent pics of it, ctesiphon.

    • #760513
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      Probably thinking of our old friend Woodlawn House? ๐Ÿ™‚

      Right- leave it with me. (Pretty sure it’s in the folks’ attic- I’ll be visiting over the weekend.)

      *writes indecipherable name on hand in non-waterproof ink*

    • #760514
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Ah Woodlawn – of course! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    • #760515
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      Quick update- I have the negatives, but only the lesser of the two in print form. I’ll try to scan the negs in the next few days.

    • #760516
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      Bingo!


      Original front, now facing towards the garden (east) front of Woodbrook House.

      The main front of the house faces west over a rolling lawn and large pond. The house isn’t great – a bit Victorian wedding cake-y? – but the setting is spectacular. There are some other good buildings in the grounds too, including a stable block, a detached house and a walled garden. And the Tudor clubhouse, visible to the left of the arches, isn’t without merit either.


      Rear view, from the golf club car park.

      Woodbrook House is just visible peering over the wall to the left. The building to the right was an auction room in 2003 (when these photos were taken), and had been for a while, but was originally a ballroom, built around the turn of the last century. It was served during The Season by a temporary stop on the rail line, right near one of the locations now proposed as the link between Luas and Dart (the one that’s being dropped? Again, my facts are a bit rusty).

      And one of the Walled Garden too – why not.

      FYI, the lands to the north of Woodbrook Golf Club had an LAP done a while ago, and a scheme (from Murray O’Laoire? Can’t recall just now) recently went for planning- mostly good stuff. As far as I know, Woodbrook House and the golf club are staying as is.

      The ‘folly’ is visible from the car park, as you can see, and the car park is publicly accessible at the end of a lane. Worth the detour if you’re in the vicinity.

      (I have high resolution files of these if you’re interested, Graham.)

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