what now for Irish Times D’olier Street buildings?

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    • #707570
      Paul Clerkin

      what now for Irish Times D’olier Street buildings?

      ‘Times’ to leave D’Olier Street after 110 years
      Jack Fagan

      The Irish Times is to move from its current offices in the centre of Dublin after almost 110 years. The new head office is planned for nearby Tara Street.

      The proposed relocation to Liffey House, a newly-completed eight storey building at the junction of Tara Street and Townsend Street, follows an agreement with its owner, Dublin City Council. The agreement, which has yet to be ratified by the members of Dublin City Council, gives The Irish Times a long-term lease of the 3,898 sq m (41,958 sq ft) building with an option to buy at a date in the future.

      The newspaper has been located in the Westmoreland Street/Fleet Street and D’Olier Street triangle since 1895. Previously it operated from Lower Abbey Street, near Wynns Hotel, since its foundation in 1859. The present location was marked by the famous Irish Times clock which first stood over the public office in Westmoreland Street until the 1970s when it was transferred to D’Olier Street.

      The main reason for the move to Tara Street is to provide modern office accommodation following the building of a new €70 million printing facility in Citywest.

      The managing director, Ms Maeve Donovan, said the company was delighted to have identified a building that meets the needs of a modern publisher with an expanding media business. It was also good to be able to remain in a part of the city centre where The Irish Times had a long-standing and historic presence.

      The Irish Times is open to consider a range of options for its current offices, including a direct sale or a joint venture redevelopment.

      Liffey House was built by the city council on the site of a speculatively developed block which was occupied for many years by the corporation’s by-law and fire departments.

      The new building was designed by architects Donnelly Turpin and is distinguished by a bow-fronted facade and a particularly fine entrance foyer.

      There will be little need to make changes to the high-quality building – except that the famous clock will once more get a new home.

    • #749299

      I didn’t see this one coming, although everything the INDO have done recently the Times appear to follow when it comes to premises. I have always like Liffey House and I’m sure that the times will be very happy there.

      It is very hard to know what will happen with the existing premises on D’olier & Fleet Streets, it is a messy one to assess as so much of it is protected. My own feeling is that it will revert back to a mostly residentail use and that carparking will be provided from the printing entrance on Fleet St.

      The retail potential is very difficult to assess here as the length of the Irish Times Offices created a terrace that has been such dead-frontage that people never plan to travel this route and as such it would take a pretty big occupier in terms of reputation to turn this situation around.

      The wild cards in the pack are that an office occupier could be attracted by virtue of a lower rental level than modern offices or that another Westin Hotel proposal would emerge.

      Incidently the Irish Times Clock will remain in-situ, they of all newspapers would know the ins and outs of protected structure legislation.

    • #749300

      I imagined so – can’t exactly see it adapting to its new location anyway – “ah sure just tack it on the front there” 🙂

      Didn’t see this coming either. It has to be welcomed. In much the same way as Trinity killed Pearse St, The Irish Times at best can be accused of manslaughter regarding D’Olier St – it was just unfortunate the nature of their operations led to the inevitable dead frontage along there. Coupled with O’Cll Bridge House straddling nearly half way down, and nothing but Pearse St at the end as an attraction, the street just died.
      If it wasn’t for the bus stops there, there’d be little pedestrian traffic at all.

      The ideal situation would be to to convert upstaires to residential, whilst having retail on the ground/first floor. As to whether a major outlet would want to take on such a project, the project being the street rather than the buildings, I’m not too sure.

    • #749301
      Paul Clerkin

      I imagine that they will ask for permission to move the clock – it has afterall been moved before – so its not like it is original to the D’Olier Street range…..

    • #749302

      A big surprise to see that conservative last bastion of the old gaurd move into a modern building, didn’t their last move nearly bankraupt them and led to half the journalists being let go? I am also not too sure how an antique clock will look on a clean modern building, a little fussy possibly?

    • #749303

      I had just been considering when, if ever, the DCC were going to get a tenant into Liffey House and complete this scheme (its still got railings around it). Moving the Times here is gtood news and I look forward to something positive happening to their current offices. Personally I think they would make excellent residential over retail development. The units culd be small and cater for small business which contribute just as much to the liveliness of a street as large anchor stores. I think the CC should look closely at the whole street now and try and get the best deal possible for it in light of the changes that O’Connell Bridge House and Gas Building are making. The clock will be moved I think. It wouldn’t really make much sensse to retain it. Maybe they could make a feature of it in their new offices.

    • #749304

      persumably they will put the clock in the foyer, not on the facade.

    • #749305

      Now there’s an idea! I wouldn’t have any objection to it moving anyway; it would be rather silly just to leave it there. It is more a part of The IT’s heritage than the city’s. And if anything, to remove it would largely restore the WSC terrace’s upper floors to their original state!

      But more than that needs to be done – despite the work carried out by the Irish Times, I have heard it described as something of a half-hearted restoration and would have to agree from the perspective of attention to detail. Some of the window openings are partially reduced in size, or have otherwise been adapted. Also there’s quite a bit of mirror glass as I recall, and some non-sash frames there too that require replacement.
      It would be great to see traders operating behind some of the remaining shopfronts – especially in place of the rather seedy, net curtain-clad windows there before.

    • #749306
      Paul Clerkin

      The interior is a rabbit warren according to a friend who used to work there….

    • #749307

      I saw an objective somewhere in the draft City Development Plan ’04 that the council would seek to return the amalgamated buildings at 10-16 D’Olier St to individual shop units…

    • #749308

      A reannoucement as it were….

      Over €25 million for headquarters of The Irish Times

      After 111 years and ahead of a move to Tara Street, The Irish Times is selling its headquarters on D’Olier and Fleet streets, writes Jack Fagan

      The Irish Times is to sell its extensive headquarters in Dublin city centre in advance of its move to a new office block in nearby Tara Street. The newspaper has been operating from its present premises on D’Olier Street and Fleet Street for 111 years.

      Estate agent CB Richard Ellis is quoting a guide price of over €25 million for the landmark building which is likely to be redeveloped after it goes for sale by tender on June 23rd.

      Management and staff are due to move this summer into a newly built office block, Liffey House, at the junction of Tara Street and Townsend Street, where the latest technology has been installed to ensure the smooth and efficient production of the newspaper.

      The move follows the development of an €85 million printing and publishing facility at Citywest, which has facilitated the production of larger newspapers with a greater range of colour options.

      The production of the newspaper has undergone major changes in recent years. It is now published simultaneously in Dublin, London and Madrid. The Citywest printing operation was recently extended to handle an ever-increasing number of other contract publications.

      The Irish Times has been based in the Westmoreland Street/Fleet Street/D’Olier Street triangle since 1895. Previously it was based in Lower Abbey Street, near Wynns Hotel, after its foundation in 1859. The Irish Times clock was located on Westmoreland Street for many years until the 1970s and was subsequently moved to D’Olier Street along with the front office. The intention is to move the clock once more if planning permission is forthcoming.

      The block going for sale covers most of D’Olier Street and part of Fleet Street – 8 to 16 D’Olier Street and 24 to 27 Fleet Street. The entire site extends to 0.18 hectares (0.44 of an acre) with 65 metres of frontage on to D’Olier Street and 60 metres on to Fleet Street.

      The overall floor area comes to around 6,000sq m (64,584sq ft) and, according to Ronan Webster of CBRE, the planners are likely to look favourably on a higher density scheme in line with the Treasury Holdings development of the Westin Hotel on the opposite side of Fleet Street.

      Curiously, numbers 8 to 16 D’Olier Street are listed for preservation in the Dublin City Development Plan 2005-2011 even though numbers 11 and 12 were completely rebuilt after a fire in the early 1950s.

      Webster says that, subject to planning permission, he believes the office and printing facility will be developed as a high density office, residential, hotel or mixed-use scheme. It is the largest block of properties to come on the market in the city centre since Independent Newspapers sold its Middle Abbey Street premises two years ago.

      © The Irish Times

    • #749309

      A nice mixed retail scheme at ground level is just what D’Olier Street needs. A bit of remodelling of the facades will be required though. Might be time to review the protected status of the buildings.

    • #749310

      Thanks Stephen. It will be interesting to see what is planned for this. It kind of reminded me of something that I stumbled upon on the Treasury site a while ago and meant to post about. Not much point in creating new thread though as it is on the same street. It would appear that the former ICS building is to be converted into apartments (maybe already has?)


    • #749311
      Rory W

      Happened about 5 years ago Phil

    • #749312

      Thanks Rory W. Are they lived in?

    • #749313

      @StephenC wrote:

      A nice mixed retail scheme at ground level is just what D’Olier Street needs. A bit of remodelling of the facades will be required though. Might be time to review the protected status of the buildings.

      I don’t think there’s enough footfall on the island to justify retail – the Manchester Utd store showed that and retailers learned a lesson, hence it’s still empty. Maybe the only thing would be if the guys who bought the former bank behind it on Westmoreland St and got planning for retail also bought that – that scheme (I think it’s the ICS building) doesn’t appear to have moved much in recent years. The Westmoreland bar is also on sale so could be a good landbanking opportunity for somebody. I expect residential and possibly an extension of the Westin hotel.

    • #749314

      @phil wrote:

      Thanks Stephen. It will be interesting to see what is planned for this. It kind of reminded me of something that I stumbled upon on the Treasury site a while ago and meant to post about. Not much point in creating new thread though as it is on the same street. It would appear that the former ICS building is to be converted into apartments (maybe already has?)


      Interesting possible development there.. I would really hope that the apartments here will be hi-end and sensitive to the character of the building, but with it’s location, it could really go either way. If Westmoreland St was cleaned up it could be a desirable address..

      I wonder is this the start of a renaissance in City Centre living, a belated living above the shop program?? Any other commercial developments being converted into residential?

    • #749315
      a boyle

      @jdivision wrote:

      I don’t think there’s enough footfall on the island to justify retail – the Manchester Utd store showed that and retailers learned a lesson, hence it’s still empty. Maybe the only thing would be if the guys who bought the former bank behind it on Westmoreland St and got planning for retail also bought that – that scheme (I think it’s the ICS building) doesn’t appear to have moved much in recent years. The Westmoreland bar is also on sale so could be a good landbanking opportunity for somebody. I expect residential and possibly an extension of the Westin hotel.

      I think it is a case of there are no shops so there is no footfall. The manu shop was not enough to attract people accross the road.

      The widening of the footpath by one traffic lane (there is one spare lane that doesn’t serve any purpose , and i always get stuck in it! ) . Removing the pay display parking and using the whole ground level and some second level for retail and you have a viable mixed use scheme. It would complete the wide streets commisions vision in a very nice way

    • #749316

      Yes, I agree with you. I also think the reason the Man U store failed was because there is not enough happening here. Most people stay on the other side of Westmoreland Street. In fact I remember reading about the possible IBS redevelopment that the developers were requesting a new pedestrian-friendly section of the street to entice punters over from Temple Bar. This is obviously a bigger question as the current College Green thread shows.

      I think wider pavements on D’Olier St are a must…ther eis ample sapce and there is far to much traffic allowed here. The street has great potential. I also think a Westin ectension will factor in this. A possible bridge link on Fleet St or even the redesign of Fleet Street required. Again this causes problems for the Dublin Buspark here.

      Hmmm its a real planning conundrum. You could spend years trying to figure out what to do with this whoel area.

    • #749317
      a boyle

      @StephenC wrote:

      Yes, I agree with you. I also think the reason the Man U store failed was because there is not enough happening here. Most people stay on the other side of Westmoreland Street. In fact I remember reading about the possible IBS redevelopment that the developers were requesting a new pedestrian-friendly section of the street to entice punters over from Temple Bar. This is obviously a bigger question as the current College Green thread shows.

      I think wider pavements on D’Olier St are a must…ther eis ample sapce and there is far to much traffic allowed here. The street has great potential. I also think a Westin ectension will factor in this. A possible bridge link on Fleet St or even the redesign of Fleet Street required. Again this causes problems for the Dublin Buspark here.

      Hmmm its a real planning conundrum. You could spend years trying to figure out what to do with this whoel area.

      We could just nuke all the times reporters ? start with john waters .

    • #749318

      @a boyle wrote:

      The widening of the footpath by one traffic lane (there is one spare lane that doesn’t serve any purpose , and i always get stuck in it! )

      Spot on. At present the IT block primarily works as a trianglar roundabout for traffic, dating from thee days that it and O C st were the primary artery. Plenty of opportunity to do something now. Widening paths or putting down new ones would be a good start. And maybe likewise on Westmoreland also? Or whatabout wide medians in the middle of the two streets, planted up with trees?

    • #749319

      Wide medians just dont work…. as was the case with OC St. I would much prefer to see wide treelined pavements at the sides of street so that outdor uses such as cafes or just sitting and watching the world go by (remember this one) are encouraged.

    • #749320
      a boyle

      @StephenC wrote:

      Wide medians just dont work…. as was the case with OC St. I would much prefer to see wide treelined pavements at the sides of street so that outdor uses such as cafes or just sitting and watching the world go by (remember this one) are encouraged.

      Yes i would agree with wide pavements over a planted median. Hopefully the most is made of the irishtimes site.

    • #749321

      Arguably there’s two lanes more than is required on D’Olier Street, though I haven’t examined it closely. Certainly there always seems to be way too much space devoted to road on this thoroughfare – one lane most definitely.

      And yes, widened pavements are the way to go for here and Westmoreland. Medians only tend to generate dead space if dividing busy roads – in an ideal world O’Connell Street wouldn’t have one either were it not for the monuments that line its length.

      The Irish Times moving out offers great potential for poor old D’Olier/Dogeared St. Describing it in its most basic form as little more than a four lane road with a stack of bus stops alongside, one might be excused for thinking it to be the Stillorgan Road – albeit a magnificent brooding Georgian streetscape in substantial part. All it needs is a couple of flyovers.
      Residential use seems the most likely for most of the upper floors, whether this be in domestic or hotel form. The nature of the street frontage and fenestration lends itself to it. Are there any Georgian domestic interiors/features left in any of the upper floors does anyone know?
      The nasty red brick part of the terrace with ‘bungalow’ on top, though not in possession of the IT, ought also to be rebuilt to WSC specifications.

      It’d be great to see the shop units along here once again fulfilling their original function – they’re not a bad size either. Strange that retailing has changed so little in 200 years!

    • #749322


      Lovely little video here with audio of the reinstatement of the newly restored Irish Times clock. Beautiful photographs.


      In relation to the enormous restoration and conversion scheme going on in respect of the former offices, I think it spectacularly unambitious that the reinstatement of all the Wide Streets Commission shopfronts – i.e. a meagre three narrow plots in this scheme – wasn’t insisted on by planners. This is the sole large-scale surviving ensemble of the WSC in the city, indeed arguably the last surviving scheme that is even recognisably by the WSC, and uniquely complete with many original shopfronts, and yet the matter of fully restoring the streetscape was extraordinarily customarily glossed over when the case was dealt with. Indeed from what I can read of the final report, the submission by An Taisce about restoring the missing original shopfronts and quoting DCC Shopfront Guidelines doesn’t even appear to have been understood:

      “In terms of the proposed shopfronts, the concerns of An Taisce are noted. It would appear however that these concerns are largely met in the proposed development which proposes the refurbishment of the existing shopfronts. Details of signage will be required when end users of the units are identified and details of this aspect should be made the subject of compliance.”

      How can the needs of reinstating by met by not reinstating? Either they are or they are not. The existing shopfronts are entirely irrelevant. This scheme proposes extensive glazing for a “higher profile on D’Olier Street” in place of the modern granite and tiled shopfronts. Even on its own merits, there is absolutely nothing in the report that addresses the critical issue of the missing shopfronts independent of the An Taisce submission, a matter which has implications on a city-wide level in terms of understanding the architectural development of Dublin. Quite extraordinary.

    • #749323

      the clock looks fab! well done to them

    • #749324


      One hardens to the treatment of old buildings in Dublin. In this city, you’re forced to toughen up to the botched jobs, ill-informed alterations and new insertions, and on occasion wholesale demolition that still occurs from time to time, with the capital’s historic building stock.

      It is disheartening to this happening with modest streetscape buildings. But when the same begins to afflict the city’s prestige terraces, you realise something is seriously, seriously wrong.

      I got a glimmer of what those watching Fitzwilliam Street crumble before their eyes experienced back in the early 1960s on D’Olier Street this morning. The two central 1950s reproduction houses in the centre of the perfectly uniform Wide Streets Commission terrace of yellow brick, the Commission’s best and the city’s best, have just been rebuilt in machine-made RED BRICK.

      I really don’t have the energy to express my sickness at this development, that I just knew from day one would be utterly botched. What has just happened in architectural terms is worse than the wholesale demolition of the end of this terrace here and on Westmoreland Street in the 1980s.

      The other possibility is that they were wrongly rebuilt in red brick in the 1950s, and a vigorous cleaning has unearthed the error after half a century, in which case why on earth were they not re-pointed in yellow?!

    • #749325

      The emerging Nightmare on D’Olier Street.

      It is now clear that this is a 1950s intervention.

      Why on earth was a rebuild of these two facades not conditioned as part of planning?! Was any investigation even made into the brickwork beforehand? What is particularly galling is the fact that the concrete-framed substructure of the 1950s red brick houses appears to have been demolished – these are a careful facade retention!

      With ghastly double-glazed, top-hung casements left pock-marking the attic storey.

      In some of the original buildings, they don’t even open. Appalling stuff.

      As for those highly invasive lighting units! I don’t remember lengths of gunmetal powder-coated steel strips being one of the trademarks of the Wide Streets Commission.

      It’s this sort of thing that just makes us a laughing stock in this country when it comes to conservation. Just what was the amount of profit due to be derived from this quantum of development by 2006 standards, taking account of the vast office and commercial insert to the rear? Why on earth was the opportunity not taken by the city authorities to enforce the complete restoration of the capital’s flagship Georgian terrace? Do they honestly think in the heat of the 2000s property market that a conditioned rebuilding of the two facades and the reinsertion of the original pair of shopfronts here, would have made the development unviable?

      It beggars belief what the city has lost here. A golden opportunity just let slip through its fingers.

    • #749326

      Hmmm. Id be interested to hear everyone’s comments on the now completed Times Building?

    • #749327

      Workin’ on it!

      As are Elliott’s with their B&Q hanging baskets. Classy bunch as ever.

    • #749328
      Paul Clerkin

      Only seeing Graham’s shots now, those lighting units must be loudly and vociferously condemned….

    • #749329

      And they’re just the attic storey ones…

    • #749330

      Paul, there’s worse than that! Believe me.

      Arent the baskets great!

    • #749331

      I agree the stretch of sodium street lights on a terrace on Harcourt Street surely takes the Carbuncle in this class of fitting.

      You’d wonder how any architect dealing with a wide streets commission terrace could possibly advise a client that basement carpark style fittings would enhance the aesthetic or value of their building. Surely no fitting would have been a better option.

    • #749332


      The failure of built environment professionals to understand the composition of historic Dublin has allowed a golden opportunity pass though the city’s hands, while compromising its finest Georgian streetscape legacy.

      Any visitor to D’Olier Street over the past number of weeks cannot fail to have been struck by the newly refurbished handsome terrace that comprises the thoroughfare’s western flank. In the warm morning light of late summer, the mellow brickwork and regularity of marching ranks of fenestration present an eye-catching spectacle to the passer-by, and to the hoards of crowds waiting for buses in the gloomy shade on the opposite side of the street. The buildings are commanding, strong, stoical, yet gracious – at once the essence of historic Dublin.

      Conceived by the Wide Streets Commission in the final years of the 18th century as part of the iconic triangle of newly planned streets in the ceremonial centre of Dublin, linking College Green with what is now O’Connell Bridge, D’Olier Street, as with its sister streets, was remarkably innovative for its time. Laid out on a grand scale, matched by a strict architecture of the regimental classical school, the street was ambitiously lined with shop units to the ground floor with living accommodation in the floors above, faced with rigidly proportioned facades of yellow brick with minimal granite dressings. Eventually completed by the early 1810s, this was a mould-breaking development in Europe, pre-dating the establishment of formal retail streets such as London’s Regent Street, and placed Dublin firmly on the international stage.

      As the sole surviving Wide Streets Commission terrace in the capital to retain substantial original fabric and design coherence, the former The Irish Times terrace on D’Olier Street is a collection of buildings of not only unique and special importance to Dublin, but is an urban streetscape of European significance. On either of these levels, the terrace demands the highest standards of building conservation, restoration, and design excellence, based principally upon a thorough understanding of the design significance of this terrace. Everything else is secondary. What we have just experienced, however, is a shambles. Ignorance, apathy, poor execution and good old fashioned arrogance are themes that define this project.

      By the late 2000s, the former The Irish Times terrace was tired, worn, ill-equipped for modern use and in dire need of restoration. The Irish Times had invested significant funds on the exterior of the terrace in the late 1980s in an attempt to recreate something of the design intention of the WSC, involving the insertion of minimal granite shopfronts where original shopfronts had been lost to create a coherent rhythm along the street, and the removal of façade-mounted signage, plastic fascias and wiring. As part of this project, an expert bricklayer was invited to Dublin from Nottingham to resolve a major fault in the middle of the terrace: a pair of houses that had been rebuilt in red brick in the mid-20th century. An alleged fire that broke out in 1973 has been attributed as the cause of this, however the disastrous fire of 1951 that destroyed much of the printing works to the rear seems more likely. In any event, the houses were rebuilt with a steel frame structure and a glaring red brick façade – red brick probably being perceived as typically ‘Georgian’, in spite of the obvious uniform yellow brick context. The re-colouring of the red brick was remarkably successful; as seen below, after a few years of grime the difference was almost imperceptible.

      Stern and forbidding, the unity of the terrace was admirably restored.

      In 2006, developers P. Elliott and Company bought the terrace for €29 million. Clearly the principal aim of the project was to maximize site value through the redevelopment of the former printing works to the rear. Remarkably, they achieved this with gusto, with the application for an arrogantly over-scaled seven-storey office block over basement car parking sailing through the planning process without so much as an appeal.

      Works underway.

      An Taisce’s observation in relation to the penthouse storey over the red brick pair being intrusive and inaccurately represented was dismissed by the case planner as the extra storey not being “visually dominant when viewed from either the Westmoreland Street or D’Olier Street areas”. The weak report concluded, “Overall it is my opinion that by virtue of the scale of the penthouse level and the degree to which it projects above the parapet, its location between two chimney elements and relationship to the overall façade composition and existing roof elements, that this element would not be excessively visually prominent and would not have a negative impact on the character of the D’Olier Street conservation area.”

      Indeed. Just what about the rest of the development?

      Such spectacularly ill-informed decision making, as was rife during the boom years, has resulted in this outrageous spectacle. To think we have learned nothing a decade on from the Westin.

      No matter where you turn, there is no escaping this arrogant, mindlessly inept, chronically un-contextual pile of junk. The most important vista of all below, from O’Connell Street, is jaw-dropping. Do these people – architects HKR and Dublin City Council planners – know anything about what they’re dealing with? How could this possibly happen in 2007 in a sophisticated society? The very icon of 18th century street planning, defaced by plastic penthouses and service plant?

      Truly, how has it come to this, two decades after the famous ‘bungalow’ was dumped on top of the apex of the two streets as part of an illegal pastiche re-erection of WSC buildings?

      Even basing a fallacious justification for this on an arrogant declaration of a contemporary design statement, it still collapses on its face by virtue of the expressionless, tarted-up, prefabricated biscuit tin spin-off from Hawkins House that has been excreted on top of this masterstroke of urban planning.

      Of course, the impact of the above was selectively depicted in the planning application, as overseen by John Spain Associates planning consultants, from the western side of O’Connell Street, where it was naturally concealed. Views from the GPO were depicted with the clipped lime trees in front of the camera. Infantile stuff. But of course it worked wonders.

    • #749333

      From the far end of Pearse Street the hulking mass of incoherent clutter of clip-on cladding, services and railings rears its head to double the height of the low Wide Streets Commission curved composition in front.

      The new building’s crumpled facade to Fleet Street has admirable sculptural qualities and is well detailed, but again is at least a storey too high relative to its surroundings.

      The view from the street in certain light is striking and elegant. Quite clearly this solitary element sufficiently bedazzled the planners in typically flashy fashion to wave through the entire scheme unhindered.

      It gets cheaper looking when the sun catches the television set cladding.

      The new building is linked to the WSC terrace by means of an atrium: a common ploy that generally works well with tight sites and historic buildings with unremarkable rear elevations.

      Formerly intended as a signature corporate entrance, it appears this has been significantly downgraded over the course of construction. The humdrum entrance as built.

      It leads into, well, this.


      Returning to the wider composition, this was the site as proposed.

      And as built. Damn you skip.

      There is of course one glaring difference. Two red brick houses slap bang in the middle of the terrace.

      Complete with that penthouse storey.

    • #749334

      This is where the project really begins to fall apart.

      Standing back from a singular planning application lodged for a development on D’Olier Street, Dublin City Council by any reasonable standard ought to have had, at the very least, a vision for the future of this critically important terrace, notwithstanding the obvious need for a design strategy agreed upon in-house. First identified by the O’Connell Street IAP as far back as 1998 in requiring refurbishment extending to O’Connell Bridge, the significance of the terrace was further highlighted in a second Dublin City Council policy document: its Shop Front Design Guidelines. In this, Howley Harrington Architects went to considerable lengths to again reiterate the design importance of the terrace and showcase the impact of full unification as originally constructed. Not only were all shopfronts shown reinstated, but upper floors were similarly unified through fenestration and removal of various adornments.

      The starkly illustrated scene.



      They emphatically stated: “A proposed restoration scheme is illustrated, showing how impressive this fine urban composition could be if the original detail was to be reinstated. The shaded area on these two drawings highlights the splendid granite surrounds which are such an important feature of the street. When parts of these are removed or distorted, the overall rhythm and composition of the terrace is lost, which reduces its visual and architectural integrity. If reinstated, this cohesive, colonnade-like effect would unify the entire terrace, making it a most impressive and truly significant piece of historic urban design.”

      Need any more be said – it couldn’t be put any better.

      In spite of this, however, and the substantial public funds paid for such expert advice, architects, planning consultants, public planners and conservation office staff all chose to ignore it and plough ahead with whatever was flung over the planning desk. It simply beggars belief.

      Indeed, not only was the principal, critical theme of unification blatantly ignored, this development went out of its way to reverse the consolidating works carried out by The Irish Times. The gobsmacking ignorance involved in removing an expertly applied mortar or colourwash would seem like a joke were it not now standing there for all to see. What makes this all the more galling is that the 20th century brickwork, unbelievably, is a fact a façade retention. Not only was the chance not taken to re-colour the red brick facades after cleaning, the unique opportunity to right an horrendous wrong and rebuild the facades in yellow brick was not grasped either!

      Astoundingly, these people went out of their way to retain one of the most degrading elements of any historic streetscape in Dublin.

      Likewise, the cumbersome detailing of the 20th century granite surrounds with heightened sills was not even remedied.

      Where on earth were the Conservation Office on all of this? Goodness only knows, as the planner’s report states that the Conservation Office expressed no concerns over the development aside from the impact of suspended walkways at the back of the building! Was the historic assessment highlighting the red brick facades even read? Was the especial importance of the terrace and its shopfronts even recognised? Were the photomontages of the office development even looked at? And what conservation professional monitored these works? And, incidentally, where were the Department of Environment on this – one of the few applications affecting historic buildings of prime importance in the State, to whom this application was directly referred. Why was there no objection from there? In effect, what is being exposed is a gaping hole in structures of conservation input and expertise, unlike where in Britain an application of this stature would be almost single-handedly guided to the stringent requirements of English Heritage. Here, it’s a complete free-for-all.

      The same absence of standards can be seen with the shopfronts, where unification was not enforced. As previously noted on this thread, the observation lodged by An Taisce urging the restoration the missing original shopfronts and quoting the DCC Shop Front Design Guidelines doesn’t even appear to have been understood by the case planner:

      “In terms of the proposed shopfronts, the concerns of An Taisce are noted. It would appear however that these concerns are largely met in the proposed development which proposes the refurbishment of the existing shopfronts. Details of signage will be required when end users of the units are identified and details of this aspect should be made the subject of compliance.”

      How can the needs of reinstating by met by not reinstating? Either they are or they are not. The existing shopfronts are entirely irrelevant. As a result, only part of one solitary shopfront was pieced back together – the rest remained as is. Seen below, the minimal granite surrounds installed by The Irish Times, though handsome in their own way, fail to do justice to the terrace as a whole.

      These were all left untouched.

      The works required to bring these back to their original format is actually much less that first impressions suggest, as the magnificent original panelled granite frieze survives above. All that is required is the insertion of minimally carved pilasters and doorcases to the lower levels. The lack of vision displayed with this project would make one weep.

      However, observing the standard of reinstatement of the solitary shopfront at No. 9, it is a matter of some relief that the reconstruction of the missing shopfronts did not form part of this project. The quality of works is shockingly bad. For this standard of workmanship to be employed on a laneway of a provincial town would be bad enough, but on the most important Georgian commercial terrace in Dublin, with original carving serving as an informing template flanking each side, is entirely unacceptable.

      Firstly, the granite chosen, unlike that sourced by The Irish Times, in no way matches the rust-toned Kiliney or Golden Hill granite employed in the original shopfronts as seen below.

      It is virtually white.

    • #749335

      Secondly, the detailing is shockingly bad. Below is an original vigorously carved, idiosyncratic Ionic capital with ebullient egg-and-dart detail.

      And here is the cartoon edition of the 21st century.

      A shameful lack of effort. The detailing couldn’t be weaker and stiffer if it tried. The egg-and-dart is a disgrace.

      In addition, the elegant ridge profile beneath the base of the capital was not reinstated during reproduction. This feature adds considerably to the elegance of the piece – its omission is regrettable.

      The same practice can be seen on the new pilaster plinths at pavement level, where the fine ridge detail of the original in the background is omitted on the new in the foreground. And mortar slopped all over the base of the pilaster to boot. Appalling.

      Worst of all is the neoclassical fluting employed on the new doorcase lintels. What was once an array of 30 deep and forceful incisions into the coarse granite…

      …is now 44 weak marks virtually polished into the new white granite. You couldn’t make this stuff up. Who on earth conducted this work, and who oversaw it?

      The same can also be asked of the shoddy construction detail. Finnicky bits stuck in to fill the gaps.

    • #749336

      Repairs and reinstatement of missing details on original fabric has also been sorely lacking, This is the standard of repair work undertaken across the board.

      Mortar specification for even the most basic task of joint filling is clearly inappropriate. Compare the refinement of the original with the new.

      Entire mouldings have been crudely built up using a dense, grey plastic repair mortar instead of splicing in new stone. It has also been liberally smeared over wherever a gap was encountered.

      This ugliness stands in stark contrast to the works executed by The Irish Times c. 1990. Compatible granite carefully spliced into place.

      Unlike the current project.

      Arguably decay of this kind is part of the integrity of the historic fabric. But a simple form such as the above does warrant careful splicing. More elaborate carvings should be left alone.

      The iconic corner capitals are in a good state of repair.

      All stonework appears to have been sensitively cleaned. Before and after.

      Again, excuse the hanging baskets. Somebody please save these people from themselves.

      The focal point of the new development is the remodelled central shopfront of the 20th century houses, which retains the older granite insert as a striking proscenium arch. One may stand at ideological loggerheads over the failure to reinsert the original shopfronts, but on its own merit, HKR have done a fine job here in concept, if not quite in execution. The new entrance and flanking window fronts a large reception hall, reading to the street as a confident, yet reticent, crisp insert in the mellow granite surround. Really quite beautiful.

      The tinted glazing is sultry and elegant.

    • #749337

      Alas, up close, matters cheapen considerably, when the overly synthetic coating of the metal becomes apparent and the nasty bands of silicone catch the eye.

      A shame.

      It is somewhat made up for by the stunning surface-mounted lettering above. Supremely elegant.

      The corporate entrance hall within. The new home of the Irish Aviation Authority. What a contrast from their premises on Burgh Quay; couldn’t get out quick enough one imagines.

      The cleaning of brick and conservation of sash windows has been one of the positive notes of this development, even if large scale cement pointing was not removed.







    • #749338


      …and, er, After

      Dear oh dear.

      The iconic curved corner, Before and After.

      The occasional spalled brick and parts of decayed pointing were repaired with a yellow mortar.

      A beautiful ivory has been chosen for the sashes, most of which are reproduction. Only the very occasional original sash with glass survives.

      As can be seen, a system of secondary glazing has been installed, whereby what appears to be an aluminium frame with a central horizontal glazing bar divides the inner window into two separate casements that open inwards. Very effective when one doesn’t have shutter boxes, but alas unacceptable that their street face is white. It should be black or grey. This is easily done with modern aluminium products and should have been insisted upon in a prestige terrace such as this.

      One of the distinctive and little known features of this WSC terrace is that the attic level is principally a dummy storey. All of the squat attic windows are consumed to the rear by their roofs, presumably on account of the shortfall in funding the WSC experienced in the opening years of the 19th century. They wanted to economise while keeping up appearances. And standards – which is more than can be said of today. All of the attic windows, with the exception of the curved end where an apartment occupies the attic floor, have been fitted with horrendous mirror glass! An entirely unacceptable state of affairs.

      How on earth was this permitted by DCC?

      Shocking stuff. In all honesty, is there anything DCC does not deem as being up to standard? Does it even have standards?

      In the case of the red brick houses, not even the rubbishy modern casement windows with mirrored glass were extracted!

      The vast majority of the upper floors are offices. There are four small apartments in the entire complex, all located on the corner of D’Olier Street and Fleet Street in the curved corner. Each is of two bedrooms, with a kitchen-cum-living room where one is expected to dine at a breakfast bar if space in the dinky ‘living room space’ is to be preserved. What a crying shame in such fine buildings.

      Around the back and, well, I don’t think anyone knows what’s going on here. Evidently never resolved from the outset in the early 1800s, or compromised over the years through addition and modification, this area, in spite of its historic fabric, required more serious intervention to sort it out. But it wasn’t.

      As seen to the left above, a former doorway infilled with mismatched brick was left untreated, and appalling grey ruled pointing pasted over the whole lot. What an unholy mess.

      The Wide Streets Commissioners would be rolling in their graves at this standard of finish fronting a prominent public space.

      Indeed, this odd kink in the street is now left without proper form or function. Even a nice seat for the patrons for the 150 bus would be a simple, useful and elegant gesture.

    • #749339

      The curious little doorcase around the corner is one of the delights of this terrace. A real charmer. It has been beautifully conserved.

      Some images of the rear area during construction. If there is one overriding sense of awe about this project, it is the immense skill, dexterity and professionalism displayed by the contractors, architects and project managers in working with one of the most challenging, dense and sensitive urban sites conceivable. It is of enormous credit to them to have executed this project under such testing circumstances.

      Most of the cement render appears to have been removed and renewed in lime to the interior of the new atrium. The rabbit warren of the former The Irish Times offices is clearly apparent.

      The demolished 20th century houses and retained red brick façade to the centre.

      The site of the former 1950s printing works, looking west to the rear of the former EBS offices on Westmoreland Street.

      Back to the front and the finishing touches that make every development, the developers saw fit to apply for planning permission for the erection of LED lighting strips the entire way along the terrace’s street façade, at both shopfront and attic storey level. Naturally, any design professional with an eye in their head would never propose such a brutal concept on a spartan, classically ordered Wide Streets Commission terrace, nor would an informed planner even consider it, or an active conservation office approve it under any circumstances. But this is Dublin.

      One could not conceive a greater slap in the face to this elegant terrace if one tried.

      Again, the very concept of applying floodlighting to a group of buildings such as this demonstrates a risible lack of understanding amongst design and planning professionals of what this terrace even is. This is streetscape. It is not a signature building – it is not even a building. It is a collective, an amalgam – ordinary street grain designed to complement wider urban set pieces. To increase its status in such a manner is to distort the very hierarchical design philosophy of the Wide Streets Commission that brought the terrace into being in the first place. The lighting’s addition so late in the day was merely the icing on the cake of a thoroughly misguided project.

      John Spain Planning Associates spuriously claimed: “The classic lighting design will enhance and highlight the façade of this historic landmark in keeping with the area’s Architectural Conservation Area status and will bring life to the existing relief decorations of the façade.” “The proposed small lighting units’ size will result in an unobtrusive addition to the building”. “It is submitted that the proposed lighting scheme will provide visual interest, an increased feeling of public safety and accentuate the site’s local and national importance as a landmark structure.”


      What is more frightening is that the case planner backed it up, in the process erroneously stating that “the units shall be mounted on and concealed by the existing corbels at 1st and 4th floor levels.” Corbels? Concealed?

      In some fairness, one cannot expect a planner to know all the ins and outs of historic building stock, so again we must turn to the Conservation Office for advice, only to find that no report was submitted on this case. Thus, there was no conservation input at DCC’s end into this critical planning decision. Yet again. The sole consolation is that that the lighting has a permission of only four years, after which time its impact shall be reviewed. I couldn’t be bothered going to the effort of taking a night time photograph of the lighting, as it is so gobsmackingly awful – even worse than the daytime impact of the units – that it would be unfair to disturb people any more than is necessary.

      The shop units have great potential. The dual aspect corner shop would make a lovely café, with a charming shape and aspect, and bathed with sun until midday.

      Running mould cornicing seems to survive in many of the units, and was well repaired/reproduced.

    • #749340

      A beautiful curved staircase survives inside the former public office unit of The Irish Times, where its mezzanine with reproduction balustrade as per the Georgian layout of the shops has been retained.

      It is going to be a challenge finding tenants for these units, but there are plenty of quality service-style uses that would suit them well, in addition to a staple café or retail store.

      Related to this project, underscoring the lack of clout the conservation sector has in Ireland, there is little question that compulsory works should have been initiated by Dublin City Council – remember, at the very height of the boom years – to have the final pair of WSC houses, complete with largely intact original shopfronts, restored as part of the composition. In any other developed western society, this would not be given a second thought. Indeed it would be deemed imperative. Here, it’s not even on the radar.

      Unquestionably, these should have been considered for restoration as part of a cut price contract with the adjacent development. Again, no joined-up thinking and no will.

      Outside, and the reinstated public realm, as expected, is thus.

      Complete with poured concrete scored to imitate paving. Truly, a world class public realm as aspired to in the upcoming Development Plan.

      Meanwhile, a new pedestrian crossing has been clunkily dumped outside the iconic rounded corner of one of the city’s most important terraces. Paving aside, why are two traffic signal poles being used, when one suffices to hold both signals?

      Never mind the aesthetic damage, why is our money being wasted like this? The same across the road.

      Around the corner on Fleet Street, this is the new, er, public realm. Leaving aside the general absence of, well, anything, why is there a hump in the pavement?

      So the newly created risk of pedestrians falling off can be used as an excuse to put another railing in?

      Really and truly. Honestly…

      In conclusion, this project represents all that went wrong during the boom years, where major development interests won out over the common good, and where economic buoyancy was not utilised for planning gain in the broadest sense. Equally, and more pressingly of all, it showcases in very stark terms the underdeveloped and under-resourced state of the conservation sector in Ireland. There was a perception throughout the Celtic Tiger years that with the passing of the 2000 Act, conservation was dealt with once and for all – ‘sorted’. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, we have legislation to safeguard built heritage in the courts, but on the ground we have failed abysmally at local authority and government departmental level to ensure the mechanisms, human resources, planning influence, and fundamentally the funding are in place to actively protect architectural heritage. This simply must change.

    • #749341

      I think its only far it gets a write up in the IT by fstein…
      I was always worried about this when I took photos from a bridge one day

      Irish Aviation Authority… It looks 70’s agent orange theme ave gas? like the cbank?

    • #749342

      Really impressive post once again Graham – a fascinating (and as an architect, thoroughly educational) read. Well done.

    • #749343

      Agreed – fantastic piece of analysis superbly written.

    • #749344

      Thanks – an education.

    • #749345

      Fastastic piece, Graham.

      Oh dear, oh dear. Who exactly in DCC is responsible for allowing this 7 storey block? Anyone know?

    • #749346

      A brutal and cutting analysis of one of the most disappointing and shameful outcomes of the latter period of the boom. Well done Graham. The Times Building is certainly a sad indictment of the lack of vision, imagination and clarity of execution of so many built environment professionals from architects to developers to planners and professional staff at the Council. A real pity.

    • #749347

      Graham, this is a brilliant critique. Thank you for putting into words just about everything that is wrong with this development. It looks to me as if noone gave a damn about how this building would be finished, how it would look from O’Connell Bridge or how the historic building could be brought back to life in a sympathetic and elegant way. An absolute disgrace, HKR and the developers should hang their heads in shame (and be banned from designing or building any more dross…If only).

      By the way, wait until the scheme for the redevelopment of the ESB offices on fleet street eventually gets going, also “designed” by HKR, Im sure another damning critique will be in order not least for the way it will unceremoniously poke its ugly head above the BOI on College Green when viewed from Grafton St. and Church Lane. How do they get away with it?

    • #749348

      Irishtimes leasing or owner occ?

    • #749349

      Agree completely with other posters – not for the first time Graham has provided a critical analysis of a significant city centre development that expertly reviews the positives and the negatives in the development in a lucid and illuminating way. This service is not being provided by anyone else. The newspapers don’t do architectural analysis, Architecture Ireland [the journal of the RIAI] don’t do architectural analysis, the Irish Architecture Foundation don’t do architectural analysis. The AAI do architectural analysis, but only once a year and with a strong predisposition towards the gushingly positive.

      In the absence of critical analysis there’s nothing to stop the authors of this or any other major development believing everything is fine and they’ve done a fantastic job, a view which in due course will very likely be confirmed by a light-weight, blue-sky, review in one or more of the media listed above.

      The elements of the ‘Irish Times’ building development that appear to be ill-judged, or poorly executed, are not huge. If there had been a culture of architectural criticism and of open debate, there’s every possibility that many of the more obvious flaws might well have been ironed out, just by the sheer weight of informed opinion.

    • #749350

      Thanks everyone for your comments – more opinion on the development in hand would be welcome!

      I think you have a point there gunter that’s worth reiterating: that most of the elements which went wrong here are indeed not huge, but the cumulative effect is what is damaging – and what is most frustrating. But ultimately with a project of this kind, with a group of buildings of such significance, the devil is in the detail. It’s everything. Without it there is no soul, no interest, no point. Nearly everything that has been done here lacks even a passing interest in the special character of this terrace, never mind the healthy glow of an all-consuming love affair one expects of a critical group of buildings like this after works of this kind.

      It all stands in stark contrast to the gushing, enthusing, velvety words submitted as part of the planning application, extolling the unique significance of The Irish Times terrace as the last example of a relatively intact Wide Streets Commissioners terrace. What has come of this? How has this recognition manifested itself on the ground? In any way? Painting the windows? Converting old offices into new offices? If maintaining the function of a building is considered the optimum result of restoring an historic structure, then we have a long, long road to walk.

      Sadly, amongst many professionals, this is indeed the ultimate goal, or as far as the vision extends. To a certain degree it is the purpose of conservation staff to inform and to educate in this respect, but a dismal absence of influence is clearly apparent, and has been for some time. Dublin City Council, as the pre-eminent planning authority in the State, demands a major Conservation Unit, with policy, planning, architectural, advisory, research and administrative staff, all based in the Planning Department, not in the Architectural division as at present. And this is a minimum requirement, never mind a major grant aid budget and wider links within the Council. We are still in the 1990s in terms of infrastructure and this has to change. I think rather than constantly blaming the planning division, as with countless cases throughout the boom years, efforts need to be concentrated on bolstering conservation and its influence within the planning process. This is the key to effecting change.

    • #749351

      That corner with Fleet Street is one of the most elegant in Dublin, even the back, and it has cleaned up quite well, irrespective of whatever was going through their minds with that blocked opening treatment.

      For me, the two biggest reservations I’d have with the project is with the quality of the extra storey that pops up in the distant views from Pearse St. and particularly from O’Connell Bridge, and the treatment of the 1940s infill block on the D’Olier St. elevation.

      Whether it was just decades of grime that had toned down this infill block to nearly match the adjoining structures, or some application over the red brickwork, or whether it was a fading of an original red wash or coloured pointing on the adjoining original sections, surely maintaining and enhancing the uniformity of the D’Olier Street elevation was the primary consideration in this case. Instead, following the redevelopment, the 1940s block now jumps out as a discordant note, as shown in Graham’s pictures.

      Two views of the D’Olier St. elevation during demolition with the elevation of 1940s block [the four bays with plywood sheeting in the window opes] almost indistinguishable from the original WSC structures on either side.

    • #749352

      @gunter wrote:

      or whether it was a fading of an original red wash or coloured pointing on the adjoining original sections

      Heh, you’re not starting that one again!

      Fantastic aerial view showing the nature of the fake attic storey there, with all but the three bays of the curved end hosting their roofs behind the windows. In the case of the final house, this was the last to be built, probably c. 1815, when presumably there was more money around to go the whole hog.

      The lack of uniformity amongst the restored chimneystacks is also unfortunate, particularly when seen from O’Connell Street.

      The scale and character of the Westin is mind boggling. If ever there was a development that was patently unsuited to its location, this was it. Shovelled in.

    • #749353

      For me, what this development so awfully highlights is the failure of the “one type fits all” planning process we have in Ireland. Arguably a UK-type process requiring Listing Building Consent separate to planning permission would force greater scrutiny of applications involving protected structures. It would require much more engagement than currently exists from Conservation Officers and indeed might even encourage Conservation Planners with a greater eye for the detail and intricacies of these buildings. It is obvious from this shameful case that the Conservation Officer was either disengaged, asleep, dead or on holliers while all the work was being done.

      An excerpt from the Planner Reports states:

      Interdepartmental Reports:
      Conservation – No objection in principle however the appropriateness of the proposed
      walkways running along the rear facades of the protected structures is questioned. These
      should be omitted from the proposed development.

      City Archaeologist – No objections subject to conditions.
      Drainage – No report available as at the date of writing this report.
      Roads – Discussed by phone with Roads and Traffic Planning Division and no objection in

      Quite obviously there was no follow up from anyone while the works were taking place (presumably under the direction of a Conservation Architect as per the standard conditions/requirement).

    • #749354
      thebig C


      GrahamH once again, excellent post!

      My observations are as follows, the new addition itself is quite a good building. The architecture is sharp, interesting and yet restrained. As a stand-alone construction, it would be great. Its certainly far superior to much of the dross in the docklands. However, it is grossly out of context. Dare I say it, a high-rise building would have less of an impact then this additional example of looming bulky low-rise structres which try to conform by having stories lopped off, yet still impact horribly on the skyline and historic buildings!

      In a world of fibreoptics and LED lighting, the imposition of those spotlight bars worthy of a suburban shopping centre are an absolute disgrace and in many other Cities would simply not be permitted. Given the lighting its then hardly surprising that the developer chose hanging baskets which were obviously in the end of season bargin bin at B&Q!

      Honestly, the best I can say is that they cleaned up the face a bit.



    • #749355

      The nighttime view o the D’Olier Street facade is awful. The floodlighting is completely pointless. It neither highlights the architecture of the terrace nor does it provide any prominence to the building in the streetscape.

    • #749356

      Insightful and incite-full analysis there Graham.

      A few of my own thoughts, some of which have been touched on already so I’ll avoid repetition:

      The ‘top up’ roof extension is an absolute disaster. Not only are the Irish incapable of creating vista closers, in this instance one of the city’s most important vistas, looking south down O’Connell Street, has been mauled beyond belief. If its possible for the RIAI to award a negative prize, the ‘Wibbiley Wobbley Blunder’ should get it.

      It is all the more remarkable that the roof extension was permitted, while the faux attic storeys were seemingly wastefully left alone and empty. 6 houses would have yielded about 500 square metres in additional space, had the space been harnessed. Was this option even looked at by the City Council? If not, why not?

      It seems the worst outcome was achieved, whereby a ‘lets-pretend-we-don’t-see-it-as-it-camouflages-against-sky-loike-really’ was opted for. It does not. Nor is it a contemporary foil to historic buildings. What it is however, as has already been noted, is a symptom of a failed city council who are seemingly either unwilling or unable to protect the core fulcrum triangle at the heart of the city. What was the primary motivation of this? Was it so that a corporate roof top office with ‘spectacular views’ could be advertised for let at a higher price? If so, particularly in view of the visually blocked photomontages provided, the planners should have smelled a rat – and realised it would inevitably stick up as a visual one finger salute on the skyline, representing perhaps a private gain to one developer at the cost to the wider civic appearance and the greater community.

      It is also all the remarkable given the previous row as to the adjacent Treasury development of Westin Hotel 10 years ago, which Lancefort Ltd tried to block by way of a Supreme Court case – yet this new addition actually achieves making that rooftop scheme look admirable as a scheme that fitted in. And there in lies an interesting downward trajectory:

      1. The 1950’s replica in-fill took advantage of the previously faux attic storey, and gleaned an extra circa 170 sq metres at roof level, without any visual imposition.
      2. The 1990’s Treasury Westin scheme got through amidst much controversy, yet ultimately did not destroy the vista looking south from O’Connell Street.
      3. This ‘Celtic Tiger’ scheme utterly screws the vista closure looking south from O’Connell Street.
      4. If another scheme occurs in another ten years, what are we to expect? 😮

      > DCC Planning Dept / Fail 😡

      Finally regarding the lights, I fully agree the new suburban shopping mall style strip lighting is an absolute failure. I passed the other night, expecting that as the new units were at such an aesthetic cost during daylight, the night time result must be that the lighting would be to great dramatic effect. It is not. Perhaps an attempt at an under statement, the lighting is a failure and achieves sweet F.A. in terms of any effect. Utterly pointless.

      I also note the elegant mid-twentieth century dual globe street lamps unit that used to stand on the street has been removed – with nothing put in its place. Daft – that is unless the council is actively trying to create dark no-go areas in the city at street level, which I am actually beginning to suspect they are trying to do!

      At least the brickwork has washed up well, with of course the most unfortunate exception of returning the replica in-fill to a colour different in appearance to the rest of the street. The hanging baskets don’t bother me at all, though I do find it perhaps unintentionally most appropriate that the icing on the cake is, well, hanging baskets on a basket case block.

      Aside from this scheme itself, there is one key lesson that contributers should learn from all of this: while a postmortem is all very well after the fact, for those that actually care about the city, it would be far better to get involved and take an active interest at planning stage so as to avoid such monstrosities happening. We certainly can’t rely on those authorities that are supposedly charged and paid to do such a task if this is the best they can achieve. “Premortems” folks, would perhaps be to far better effect than postmortems – and also active participation in the planning process, be it as individuals or by way of NGOs such as An Taisce.

      Will we read any criticism regarding this scheme in the media publication previously housed here? Somehow I doubt it… unless that is, someone is writing a book and wants to raise their profile before book launch :rolleyes:

    • #749357

      On a slightly more humorous if waspish note, the new rooftop disaster scheme needs an appropriate name in the well established Dublin tradition, as in ‘Robo-block’ or the ‘Yoke on the Oak’…

      I know I’ve already used the term ‘Wibbiley Wobbley Blunder‘ above, but may I also suggest:

      Prefab Sprout


    • #749358

      Fully agreed hutton with every word of your post. You sum a number of matters succinctly. The impact of the additional storeys on the city for the rest of us to look at for the next century, simply for minimal private gain, is something that deeply grates, perhaps above all else, and a theme that was sadly replicated in many developments during the boom years.

      On your last point about active participation, I was surprised and disappointed that An Taisce did not appeal this. Of course it has a giant workload for a voluntary organisation, and the turnaround it effected with so many developments during the boom years is a positive and enduring legacy for the city. But in this particular case, the sole reason I did not appeal it to the Board was on the basis of its initial submission to DCC and the critical importance of the subject, I was certain AT would. All of the above would have been clearly spelled out to the Board in such a case. In honesty, I’m fuming about it. But a collective blunder it is fair to say – not that it should be our job to police such baseline matters as the redevelopment of the iconic street triangle in the heart of the ceremonial core of the city.

    • #749359

      The D’Olier Street elevation, as it appears on Daft.ie :rolleyes:

      I think they prefer the ‘proposed’ to the ‘as built’

    • #749360

      I don’t think you can blame architects they serve clients…

      You can blame planners and our econmic systems of so called “competition”

    • #749361

      Of course you can blame architects! What a stupid thing to say. The architect is ultimately responsible for the design of the building. Not the developer (though he/she will have their requirements for a building such as maximising space, costs, profile etc), not the planner who has only a limited scope for involvement in the design of the project, and not the economic system which has delivered as much good quality architecture as it has bad!

    • #749362

      Architects are in competition before projects and fee agreements are negotiated…
      What do you expect? I’m not saying I agree with the result I have seen all the renders including internals but its beside the point…

      IT should refuse to occupy it if they are not happy with it otherwise they are supporting the scheme…

      oh wait they might have a contract…

      If the architect was the client I would blame the architect they have no power to tell the client what to do…

    • #749363

      Firstly the Irish Times (IT?) have nothing to do with this building. They sold up and moved on. The major tenant for the building at the moment is the Irish Aviation Authority.

      You’re right in that Architects are in competition for jobs and competition was fierce is the boom times. However from my experience, the architects of this scheme could quite easily have put forward an well designed and less intrusive new building and the client would quite easily have gone along with it. Most developers care nothing for the intricacies of the design, they are more interested in the overall look of the building and obviously the degree to which it maximises the floor space they will gain, or meets the profile requirements of clients etc.

      Developers also always seek surety in the planning process. If it will get them a grant then they’ll do it. Certainly, if DCC staff had been more considered in their appraisal of the scheme (particular the aforementioned “dead as a dodo” Conservation Officer), then perhaps they could have gained a much improved design from HKR and P Elliotts.

      I would also vouch that the Compliance system has failed miserably in this instance particularly in relation to the details which Graham critiques above, the poor stone masonry, fenestration etc. I would suggest that they maybe promised one thing but delivered something else.

    • #749364


      Well like clockwork, and within a hair’s breadth of the deadline, a planning application has just been lodged for retention of the ghastly LED lighting scheme erected on the former Irish Times offices in 2009. At the time, a four-year permission only was granted for the lighting to ‘allow time to assess its impact’, before the expiry of which a new planning application had to be lodged for retention of the scheme or else it be taken down. I was hoping they’d forget the deadline of December 2012, but alas the agents have little to be absent-minded about as they tap their pens in their empty offices and shop units. Following an invalidation two weeks ago, a very hastily resubmitted application has just been lodged.

      http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=3529/12&theTabNo=1&backURL=Search Criteria > <a href='wphappsearchres.displayResultsURL?ResultID=2251513%26StartIndex=1%26SortOrder=APNID:asc%26DispResultsAs=WPHAPPSEARCHRES%26BackURL=Search Criteria‘>Search Results

      The details have yet to go up online, but one can only imagine the velvety words on improved de saf-ety and secur-ity of D’Olier Street, and the gushingly positive impact this crude outbreak of linear measles has on the facade of one of the most carefully contrived streetscapes in the city.

      All objections welcome by January 11th 2013. Here’s hoping we can claw something back from this hopelessly crass cub of the Celtic Tiger.

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