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  • in reply to: Bertie’s Bowl….Sports Campus Ireland #717616
    DARA H

    Let’s try to not let this discussion descend into an inane argument of Dublin vs. ‘The Country’.

    I have just come back from a weeklong study tour in The Netherlands. That country was a very good example, among other things, of NOT – “putting all your eggs in one basket”.

    All the cities had obviously received a lot of development in the past and all of them were still busily building away, it seemed as if the whole country was having its own boom time.

    Each city pretty much had their own focus: Amsterdam – Finance, culture & tourism. Rotterdam – Shipping and Business. The Hague – Seat of Government. Utrecht – Bit of history, lots of Shopping?! (It did include the countries important EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

    Each city was vibrant and included many attractive and/or interesting parts with great transport facilities. You could also be forgiven for been unsure which city was meant to be the actual capital – if you had to choose between Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam.

    The point being, giving each city some special functions seemed to work well and, indicates that decentralisation can result in having more than just one interesting and busy city.

    Two other comments. I was almost brought to tears when a senior civil servant working for public transport in Amsterdam said they were unhappy with public transport provision in their city. This was because “ We only have three boring, grey products to offer people – buses, the trams and the metro”!!!
    He never mentioned the fact that Amsterdam has also made fantastic provisions for the bicycle, there are good roads accessing just about everywhere, and never minding the fact that both suburban electric rail and high speed rail services frequently enter the city. They also have largish ‘trams’ that can run on suburban lines like a metro or, on-street like a tram – the ‘Sneltram’! They also wanted to have specialised bus services for elderly people, hotel/shopping/airport shuttle buses etc.

    I also visited the AJAX STADUIM and the area around it. It was highly impressive in terms of architecture, transport access, urban design, and ‘mixed uses’. I’ll say in what ways tomorrow.
    The only flaw – apparently they have had to replace the pitch 25 TIMES since about 1997 because of the problems of not enough natural light access to the pitch (the stadium has a roof that can be slid open or shut). Interestingly, the new ‘Millennium Stadium’ in Cardiff City also has a retractable roof and has had problems with light getting to the pitch and, as far as I know has already had to replace it once.

    The whole Ajax stadium site & situation seemed very commendable.

    in reply to: Bertie’s Bowl….Sports Campus Ireland #717611
    DARA H

    My thoughts have nothing to do with having a ‘parocial attitude’.
    I have always lived in ‘the Greater Dublin Area’ – (to use the D.T.O.’s (Dublin Transport Office) term). That is, when i’m not living abroad.

    I have nothing against Dublin.

    Still, if everyone agreed with each other – this would be a pretty boring discussion forum!

    in reply to: Bertie’s Bowl….Sports Campus Ireland #717608
    DARA H

    I fail to see why the suggestion of locating the stadium in a regional city is ‘beyond laughable’. Plenty of people (the rest of the country) travel to Dublin for matches.
    There is no particularly compelling reason why Dubliners cannot travel to the 2nd or 3rd cities of the nation to do the same.

    There are however, compelling reasons to locate some facilities of national importance in cities other than the capital.
    Developing strong second or third cities can help take developmental pressure off the capital and strengthen the economy etc. of the smaller cities.
    Equally important, NOT putting EVERY national facility in the capital is far more equitable for the majority of the country – i.e. it’s a bit fairer.

    Plonking the stadium on the M50 is just going to add more traffic to an already very busy road and will just encourage more people to travel everywhere by car. Besides, national roads like the M50 are meant to be used as routes from A – D (i.e. not commuter traffic) and are not really meant to have actual destinations attached to them. That’s why there is always such a fuss about placing out-of-town centres like the ‘Liffey Valley’ adjacent to them.

    in reply to: Dublin’s Churches #718505
    DARA H

    Demolition vs. Re-use
    The idea of knocking down a church is a bit of an anathema for me. Its not because I’m in any way religious, its because whatever will replace a church will undoubtedly be of less quality and imposing character.
    It seems to me that every church I have ever seen (even the most basic) have been more impressive than your average building and similarly, have obviously been constructed with more care and craftsmanship than most other types of structure. I think that it could be taken for granted that church buildings usually make up part of the most important/ impressive buildings in any locality.

    I’d much prefer to see a church turned into apartments (so that at least the exterior integrity is preserved) and have other new-build apartments built around the church – the church been the centre piece? Rather than … a church its curtilage been levelled and a few detached houses or apartments been thrown in. The latter course of action seems like the standard operating procedure.
    In the same respect, i’d prefer to see big old houses and their large gardens been reused and the original house been made the centre piece of a development – as an alternative to the whole site been flattened to make way for houses/ apartments.

    Am I mad? Presumably re-use is preferable to outright demolition in most cases?

    P.S. I’m taking it for granted that any big house or disused church that is not listed could well be demolished for new-build.

    in reply to: Bertie’s Bowl….Sports Campus Ireland #717593
    DARA H

    try: –


    It was also confirmed that award-winning German Architects, Behnisch, Behnisch and Partners have won their bid to develop the 500 acre site.

    The first www address below (to an Irish Times article) contains an artist’s impression of the stadium.

    An architects panel is to be appointed by Campus and Stadium Ireland Development Ltd. (CSID), to “ensure that each individual elements of the Campus were of the highest design standards, while still fitting in to the overall coherence of the framework plan.”
    The unveiling of these plans coincides with the granting of planning permission by Fingal County Council, for the ‘Pool at Abbottstown’ which is the Government’s highest priority in lieu of the fast approaching Special Olympic World Games, 2003.

    [This message has been edited by DARA H (edited 28 February 2001).]

    in reply to: Bertie’s Bowl….Sports Campus Ireland #717591
    DARA H

    The Abbottstown site would have to have either a Metro or other heavy rail link – a light rail line would not really have sufficient capacity.
    I know the M50 is already badly congested, that is my concern about adding another significant ‘traffic generator’ to it.
    If an Olympic bid was used as an excuse for the stimulus of more development of community facilities – that would be good – but, I don’t see any other particular reason for hosting it in the immediate future. That is, considering the significant cost risks associated with it – Calgary was still paying for theirs well over a decade later.
    The stadium doesn’t necessarily have to be located in Galway, it could be Limerick? Either way, more rail links could be provided as the government spends precious little on rail outside Dublin anyway.
    If some of the proposals e.g. the stadium/track, athletes village etc. were built in a regional city, hotels etc. would spring up to accommodate them. If very good rail and bus facilities were provided, then a lot of the need for accommodation would be negated – otherwise more jobs and investment could be created on foot of the development in a place that needs it more than Dublin.

    If Abbottstown is not Berties constituency, well it would still make him and his party ‘look good’ to Dublinites in that region of Dublin.

    Is there any particular reason why anybody would object to a regional city getting the stadium and some associated developments (don’t just mention –‘’cos Dublin is the capital’)?

    I still think some of the proposals i.e. the pool and some of the more frequently used types of facilities could be located in Dublin to make use of the catchment area.

    in reply to: Bertie’s Bowl….Sports Campus Ireland #717588
    DARA H

    Yes, Dublin is the Capital, and is and should remain the most important city of the country. It does have plenty of problems however associated with development e.g. the huge increase in car use – I’d hate to see yet more moves towards car dependency.
    One of my key objections to the proposal is on a national strategic level. All development seems to be far too heavily weighed towards the East Coast i.e. the greater Dublin area. Many people seem to claim that ‘the west’ is dying and has not seen the benefits the ‘Celtic Tiger’. If Bertie was thinking strategically, he might find he’d gain lots of votes for say, the entire west coast region by making a big deal out of putting some of the larger parts if the proposal in the west (Galway City) and saying it represented his commitment to people in the country outside the Dublin region. I would have thought he’d gain more political gain and credo by doing that then from a relatively few extra local votes from local constituents (who see plenty of development left, right, and centre anyway).

    In population terms Dublin does represent the greatest catchment area of the country by far so, it might make sense to place most of the proposed facilities that would be in generally continuos use for ordinary purposes and also for special events somewhere in Dublin.

    The stadium, and maybe some associated developments, perhaps the velodrome, science and medical centre and the athletes’ village could be located somewhere besides Dublin.
    1. The stadium would probably not be in continuos use and would only be used for special events e.g. matches – so the needs for a catchement area would be less.
    2. Irish athletes are not flush with money as far as I know so they might welcome the chance of living somewhere cheaper and, to a certain extent mightn’t care where the facilities are once they are provided. Also, if a running track were to be provided in the stadium the runners would benefit as well by having the stadium outside Dublin.

    I am still very dubious about the need for another full sized stadium in any case, but in general I don’t have any objections to money been spent on the other proposals which would be long–term and tangible assets for the country.
    I do not have any special affinity for the west or the midlands either – so that’s not why I suggested them, as I said, I’m trying to think strategically.


    in reply to: Bertie’s Bowl….Sports Campus Ireland #717585
    DARA H

    Have to say GregF, I don’t agree with you on this one for a number of reasons.

    The price tag of this ‘facility’ is already tagged at £350 million pounds MINIUMUM to the exchequer (So Far), NOT including £100 million to re-locate govt. agricultural labs!
    The development includes among others, a ‘Velodrome’ (one of those circular cycling tracks). Do we really need this??? I’m sure it will cost a fortune – for something that seems entirely surplus to our needs in a county as small as Ireland and, I feel would have very limited recreational value. People will stay close to home to cycle, and will probably not want to drive for miles down the motorway to cycle in circles.

    The ‘Olympic sized pool’ – Lots of people of all ages can enjoy swimming. If there is not one already (a 50-meter version) and lots of national (and international) swimming competitions could be held in it, then yes, build it. Lots of people could enjoy the facility and if competitions were held there, lots of people would be interested in watching, on T.V. or as spectators. I do not think the same could be said about a Velodrome.

    The stadium – 80,000 seater & a 15,000 person capacity area for something else. Why do we need this when we already have Croke Park and Landsdowne Rd.??? not to mention the other smaller venues of Dublin. There is still ONLY a (widely dispersed) population in Ireland of 3.6-7 million. Not exactly the ‘critical mass’ for 3 -plus large stadia in Dublin alone.
    Why plonk a huge traffic generator like the government is proposing out of the city and on the junction of a national motorway route (M50) and the N3, when people will be forced to drive there?
    I’ve seen two of these types of stadia in New York – huge stadiums sitting in an ugly sea of an even bigger car park bounded by an ugly highway. Everybody arrives by car and then post match the crowds dissipate by car. No excitement or business present that would be associated with post-match games in a city. But why bother learning from others’ mistakes?

    If a large and substantial rail and bus station was an element of the proposal I mightn’t object so strenuously.

    Is the whole development some kind of slow, insidious march towards an ‘Olympic Bid’ for the country? If so, why… we wouldn’t be gaining any kind of worldwide recognition that we don’t really already have. It doesn’t look as if, we’d get any kind of useful infrastructure/facility (besides a 50m. pool and some other smaller stuff) been built – using the Olympics as an excuse – e.g. something that could be used by all, was really useful, didn’t have already, and is generally expensive – like a 50m. pool, a light rail line, high speed rail line or some kinds of specialist facilities.

    It might be an idea to build ‘Sports Campus Ireland’ (minus the stadium?) somewhere besides Dublin and use the surplus money from not paying Dublin prices to add value. E.g. put it in/ beside Galway or Limerick etc. and build (a proper c.100-125MPH/ 160-200 Km/h) high -speed rail line to Dublin.
    Everybody usually has to travel to Dublin by rail and bus to Landsdowne Rd. or Croke Park – so why not turn the tables and give some of the benefits of development to another city? This will also help take some of the pressure off Dublin. Simultaneously, it could strengthen the economic potential of the west or midlands region.

    Dublin already has many developmental problems, so have the West and MidLands cities/ regions for different reasons, why compound them? I hope Bertie uses his brain and makes the best of this opportunity.


    P.S. See for more details of ‘Sports Campus Ireland’ – http://www.thestadiaofireland.com/ & in the Irish Times – Ireland section – Jan. 24 & Feb. 23 + Opinion Section – Jan. 29.

    in reply to: Contempoary Film Images #716005
    DARA H

    1. Didn’t RTE show a programme in the last year (Summer,2000?) that was about government money been spent on public art? I think it included some footage of a sculpture (incl. fibre-optic? lighting)for the LEE Tunnel.

    2. Bord Failte could well have promo. videos about Dublin -‘The New Dublin – a city of contrast’… or some such lark!


    in reply to: south docks…. #715727
    DARA H

    GregF, maybe you’re been a bit too blunt eh?

    As for planning staff – well, I’m presuming that they are fairly restricted in their scope when it comes to turning down applications purely on aesthetic grounds. Then again, one recurrent theme in ‘planning’ is the question of when, why, and how planning officers should/must (not?) become the ‘arbiters of good taste’ – that’s a whole kettle of fish in itself. Personally, I do not think that the illustration provided portrays a building that is REALLY bland, I will admit however that it does not appear to be overly awe-inspiring.

    As for the ‘locals’… how about a bit more in the way of public consultation i.e. consensus/ collaborative planning etc.? It can help smooth the road sometimes, towards the fruition of the more controversial developments and in the long-run can save time and money.

    Martin, I’m not sure that GregF has an inferiority complex, there is no shame in wishing for higher quality and lamenting when it generally does not appear – which I think is what GregF feels (Ireland is not exactly a Mecca for outstanding Architecture and Urban Design)!?!

    DARA H.

    P.S. Apologies GregF, I do not mean to psycho-analyse you!

    in reply to: ‘Green’ Architecture Ireland #716037
    DARA H

    Great, that sounds good. I could contribute some other references for books as my university here has an MSc in ‘sustainable development’. As such, they have a good section (in the architects library) devoted to green architecture.

    in reply to: ‘Green’ Architecture Ireland #716031
    DARA H

    Different thought – Could ‘sustainable’ (building) criteria incorporated into buildings result in new styles of architecture emerging? I.e. the function of sustainable construction and operation of a building being the genesis of new forms and ‘styles’. For example, modern military jet fighters are constructed solely for one purpose – combat flying – but, they often end up ‘looking good’.

    Examples of ‘Green’ offices – Europe
    (Some of their features)

    NMB Bank (Amsterdam) conception 1980 – built mid-‘80’s?
    Architect – Ton Alberts
    Almost 1km long. 50,000m2 floor space & 28,000m2 basement parking.
    2000 employees
    Orange/Red brick build. 4-5 storeys.
    All work stations within 7 meters of a window. No air- conditioning plant!
    Thermal mass used to even out fluctuation of heat from sun and staff.
    ‘Natural’ materials used – avoided chip-boards and plastics (to avoid formaldehyde gas and CFC’s and other V.O.C.s (Volatile OrganicCompounds -which are presumed to induce headaches & stiff necks and possibly bronchial problems)
    Stairwell ‘towers’ given prominence to encourage staff to walk up stairs + also functioned as circulation and (natural) light providers.
    Staff can open windows for air & there are air vents etc.
    Detailing and ‘human-scale’ given to the exterior of the building by exclusive use of orange/red bricks of different sizes and placement.
    Primary energy demand of 111 kW/m2 which was to equate to a saving of approximately $1.3 million dollars in running costs per year compared to a building of similar size constructed in the late 70’s.

    Helicon Building (London) Late? 1990’s
    Architects – Sheppard Robson
    Very contemporary looking. Floor plates 2,175m2 in area.
    ‘Mixed-use’- primarily offices but incl. a bank and a shop.
    Triple-glazed façade with ventilated cavity, integral solar & glare shading.
    Each façade varies according to orientation to sun (varies in terms of amount of glazing, (and insulation too?))

    SAS Airlines (H.Q.) (Near Stockholm) 1990s
    Architect – Niels Torp
    Very nice, modern looking building. 1,500 employees
    5 individually distinct buildings.
    Glazed straight through centre to enhannce natural light and modify climate.
    A ‘road’ runs through the building with trees, shops and cafes, a restaurant and a swimming pool, waterfalls and bridges so…employees can go for a stroll (and no rain!). Shading used for some windows and glazing levels vary according orientation to sun.

    BRE Low-Energy offices (England?’90s?)
    Stack-induced night ventilation to lower day-time temperatures (‘stacks’ look like polished, stainless steel chimneys. Slightly odd-looking building but not (I think), ugly.

    in reply to: paranoid architecture #715268
    DARA H

    I’d say CCTV is more of a ‘crime fighting tool than an invasion of privacy.
    I’ve seen lots of ‘CCTV’ here in Britain, both in public spaces and in (semi- private (university)) buildings.
    I saw at least one programme on British TV last year about a notorious residential area (Manchester i think) where a huge pole was erected solely for the purposes of watching one non-descript street in particular and others near it (it was a success apparently).

    Isn’t there a government (ireland) project/fund for putting up CCTV cameras in 10 Irish towns (like Bray)?

    in reply to: ‘Green’ Architecture Ireland #716030
    DARA H

    Features of ‘sustainable’ buildings.

    VENTILATION – Windows that can be opened by hand or electronicly, with system of air vents & ducts &/or cold/warm-air heat exchangers placed strategicaly for effect (e.g. up in the roof).

    HEATING – Offices produce lots of their own heat through people and computers etc. use ventilation (mentioned above) to control temperature (can use computers for environmental control).
    – Thermal massing : using very thick walls + insulation to lessen the effect of temperature fluctuation due to outside conditions (and retain heat too).

    LIGHT – Lots of windows (but less on north face) that are insulated and some system of shading to counteract too much sun (& heating) on Sth. facing sides.
    – Do not make buildings that are too ‘deep’ (so people/spaces are not too far from natural light) answer in big ‘green’ buildings is often to use an atrium to break the building into two parts (or atrium in centre).

    MATERIALS – Use less energy intensive materials where possible or, where benefits outweigh disadvantages e.g. a building that is wood framed with glass and bricks (reclaimed?) could be considered less ‘energy intensive’ material wise, then say, a steel-reinforced concrete structure.

    – Use recycled materials and avoid chip-board tables and other products that might give off harmful gases (from the solvents used etc.)

    Above list is not meant to be comprehensive and many elements of green buildings work together e.g. ventilation and heating.

    I will give soem examples later on today of actual (stylish/’striking’) ‘green’ buildings in Europe.

    Note: While initial building cost for ‘green’ buildings are higher then average, their running costs are inveriably less than average (commercial or domestic buildings.

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