Forum Replies Created
January 11, 2000 at 3:29 pm in reply to: Dublin’s Ugliest Building #713132
Let’s close this banal and distressing forum down, as I proposed at length (people don’t seem to read longer pieces) some months back.
Editor – PLEASE intervene!
James McQuillanNovember 9, 1999 at 11:04 am in reply to: Dublin ‘Pubs’ #712822
While my earlier descriptions of the Irish bar /pub (there is no essential difference) stressed the unself-conscious character of the easy civility, indeed ‘rurality’ of the Irish nineteenth-century interior, I no way would endorse the ‘interference’ with the integrity of such places, and it saddens me to hear that all have no been ‘improved’ (if true).
Again I do not endorse low standards of hygiene, and the local authorities (the weak link in Western polity) should exact penalties according to their duty.
The Irish theme pub is rampant across S. England, the Continent and even in SE Asia, and is certainly quite ‘twee’, but then so is a typical Chinese restaurant.
As regards the ‘Barcelona’ style, please define.October 29, 1999 at 11:16 am in reply to: Irish Building of the Millenium #712811
No I wouldn’t. These stone houses or cells were used all over the country and are small, ill-lit accomodation of a most rudimentary sort – probably providing the exemplar for the later stone-roofed churches around the 10-12th. cents. Such cells have disappeared on the mainland – see their ruins devotionally preserved on Lough Derg, for example.
While Irish people seem to talk a lot about the past, few seem to understand it, as this discussion amply proves, eh -Editor?October 19, 1999 at 2:37 pm in reply to: Irish Building of the Millenium #712809
Hardly ‘perfectio’, a word I never used, but an architectural entity that has the consumate meaning for our culture, in all its depth and complexity, something that all other candidates are somewhat lacking, in varying degrees.
Why is it that most modern commentators on Irish architecture seem incapable of thinking about anything before the eighteenth century. It is our earlier architecture that is truly unique and representative, while Ireland did not share in the Renaissance, and consequently most of what followed was highly derivative, and certainly feeble stuff.
I am looking for the ‘unique’ in form and place, not weak copies of commonplaces done better abroad.
James McQuillanOctober 14, 1999 at 8:26 am in reply to: Irish Building of the Millenium #712807
Following on from my submissions of last month, there has been no challenge at all to my suggestions.
So I propose that the building of the First Millennnium be the cashel of Dun Aengus, Inishowen, Co. Donegal. This is a unique structure in the history of European settlement, and if you haven’t visited it, then you are hardly in a position to comment!
I might accept the Rock of Cashel, an ‘acropolis’ of the second millennium, and therefore a worthy successor of the cashel of earlier times. However the Dun Aengus fort is emblematic of the antiquity of our culture in Ireland, and is in good and reasonably complete condition.
The other proposals are not that unique, as the street is found everywhere in the world, and power-stations are off-limits to most people. We must select something that is uniquely representative of our identity, and the cashel fulfills that admirably!
Any supporters out there!
James McQuillanJuly 26, 1999 at 5:29 pm in reply to: Archer’s Garage #715554
I’d like to hear your reason(s) for saying that they did!July 21, 1999 at 2:15 pm in reply to: Archer’s Garage #715552
In the breach of the law, ignorance is no excuse.
I am sure that the architects could have had nothing to do with its demolition; the demolition gang would have been instructed by contractors acting for the owner, or instructed directly by the owner. The architects need never have known about it at all, which is most certainly the case.July 15, 1999 at 5:50 pm in reply to: Archer’s Garage #715550
While anyone can be sceptical, it remains that Frank McD. in the Irish Times last June mentioned the Institute, the AAI and Shane O’Toole of the Ir. Br. of DOCOMOMO, as having spoken against the demolition, O’Toole calling for a jail-sentence.
Thanks for alerting me to the IT piece.
As for the ‘people’, most don’t care; it will be the impassioned who will talk up. However, we must strenghten our political and democratic institutions to harness the people’s voice – i. e., those who care to speak, on all such issues.July 15, 1999 at 1:18 pm in reply to: Archer’s Garage #715548
Overseas readers of this discussion will not know that representative bodies of Irish architecture have raised their voices on this issue.
It was reported in last week’s issue of the Architects Journal (London) that the MRIAI and the AAI had protested recently about the destruction of the Garage, and that such protests had resulted in the promise to rebuild.
This is a very healthy development, as it means that the profession has distanced itself from such unforgiveable behaviour! A generation age the Institute would have never commented on such things, so we must be grateful that they have acted as they did.
Why doesn’t the Irish Government through Bord Failte Eireann do likewise? The whole world is reading about your ‘friend’, a Vandal whom you have placed in a public position!
Surely these facts re the RIAI and the AAI deserved attention in terms of the administration of the discussion, when they occurred, Paul?
James McQ.July 8, 1999 at 2:20 pm in reply to: Architectural Education #711859
Yes, I’d say that our hypothetical student should fail, but remember that there are too many variables to make any kind of judgement at this distance.
Your comments on the nature of education are saddening, as to do well in architecture means that students need high motivation. So I do hope that you are wrong on this! Also it’s a tough old world out there, and the ability to detail can be learned, whilst many other things seem to be ignored. Remember that formal education in architecture is very young, and even the modern profession is really an 18th. century creation. No-one can agree even on what the DISCIPLINE of architecture should be today, so there is much revision of accepted attitudes necessary on all sides.
JMcQ.July 7, 1999 at 5:34 pm in reply to: Architectural Education #711857
‘Aedequate in terms of function’ seems to be the stumbling block here. There are a host of variables in assessing architectural design and the student’s authorship, and certainly just because a project is ‘aedequate in terms of function’ is never a pass! Other aspirant professionals such as engineers, surveyors, interior designers and even unqualified people can and have provided programmes that fulfill the ‘function’, I suppose, but the architect is expected to provide something significant, which can only be described as signifying the social role of the building, or in ancient terms, its ‘decor’, or ‘decorum’.
Modern architecture which neglects this aspect in favour of reductive answers based on notions of objectivity, are to be condemned. A few modern architects have, however, captured something extra in their productions, and have been rightly recognised. None the less, most architects really don’t know what they are doing, except to follow some fashions and hide behing pat formulas that they have picked up before or arfer graduating.
The real measure of the prevalent confusion is to be found in the weakness of criticism today. A breed of architectural journalist has emerged who seem to ‘tout’ large practices using the proffered press-releases, and they tend to dwell on the alledged ‘newness’ of such a fresh venture, and fightinh the battles of the Bauhaus all over again! In actual fact, very few people are to be found doing anything new at all, and if so, they are rarely recognised at the time.
Conservation awareness is perfectly fine, but is never a substitute for scholarship and real thinking about architecture. As for teachers of architecture, they are rarely on top of their reading ( architecure is a general discipline, usually ignored in favour of specialisation), and they reflect the faults of their professional brothers, in the main.
James McQuillan, Architect and Historian.July 2, 1999 at 4:39 pm in reply to: Architectural Education #711853
It is impossible o answer this question in the abstract, as it were . . . there are so many variables, and architectural education is based partly on the premise that each student is in a process of improvement, judgement about which is made on her past and current performance, and allowance must be made for later development, earlier rather than too much later!
Such education is impossible to quantify in terms of simple slogans, so this subjet will not attract much comment.June 30, 1999 at 6:12 pm in reply to: Temple Bar and Community #712652
It certainly does!
The Temple bar redevelopment in perhaps unique in these islands as an urban experiment due to the unique instance of having one ownership in CIE, and due to the innovative legislation to get it off the ground. Some schools of architecture in England have visited because of these factors, and there is a lot of interest in its progress.
Could I launch a plea for information on TB? It would be wonderful to have a bibliography of relevant and supporting documentation for TB, as it would be an essential tool in focussing interest abroad on this most successful of Dublin’s urban ventures.
Let’s face it, there haven’t been many down the years, so we should celebrate it. I am aaware that things may not be perfect, but even so, I repeat that it has been a unique experiment and therefore people want to know about it.
Surely one of the practices involved in TB from the beginning, or the holding company, has a shelf-full of all the texts and cuttings – so let’s see what can be done!June 30, 1999 at 5:57 pm in reply to: Dublin’s Ugliest Building #713113
As John W’s reply demonstrates, there may be good things to say about any building, and therefore I think that this search for the ugliest Building in Dublin should be wound up.
First, it is not at all positive looking for the ugliest building – it’s like looking for the ‘sickist’ man in a hospital! I think that the fad for league-tables and such like is always highly tendentious, and since someone has to come last, it is always a loser’s prize.
Second, if one regards the urban fabric as a continuity, then buildings contribute to (and detract from) bigger entities – streets, squares, districts and so on, and such larger considerations can negate the woeful presence of many blots.
Finally, we all have to use and live in the city, so there is little to be gained by dumping on a particular area or street – we all might agree about the poverty of a certain area, and therefore enough said.
Far better to try to generate more inclusive criticisms of buildings and not encourage instant put-downs and dismissals, though one can appreciate the strength of feeling behind most of the denunciations in this forum.
If criticism was more detailed and urbanistic, perhaps developers and their protagonists in the design professions would think very hard about what they wish to do, and the Corp. could be encouraged to control matters with more confidence. So let’s drop the ‘Search for the `Ugliest Building in Dublin’ – after all, it’s really unworthy of your still fine city, and Archeire too.June 30, 1999 at 5:39 pm in reply to: Please explain the relevance of the garage #711845
It is a pity that Shanaghan hasn’t received a reply – are conservationists so self-absorbed that they can’t expain themselves?
I don’t know enough about the genesis of the building to give an authorative evaluation, except to state that Archer’s Garage seems a robust example of early modernism in Ireland, a corner design with large-scale spans accompanied by sufficient ‘decoration’ to relate it to the street-scene. However, the Corp. must have a report on why it was listed, and a bit of prodding in the right quarters should reveal the reasons for listing.
Why ARE the defenders of the Garage so silent? Shanaghan deserves a few more answers, eh!June 28, 1999 at 7:05 pm in reply to: Monuments, monuments, monuments #711842
I suppose that it is unnecessaaty to remind Dubliners that the Needle could be considered as a Testimonial rather than a Monument, on the lines of Wellington’s Testimonial in the Park. Anyway the word Monument means ‘to remember’ and usually of the dead, but the replacement of the word ‘Monument’ by ‘Testimonial’ could refer to the living Diaspora, just as the Wellington one did – built in the lifetime of the Duke.
Then Dublin could have two Testimonials! Let’s celebrate our living relatives rather than the dead ones.June 28, 1999 at 6:27 pm in reply to: Archer’s Garage #715537
As I stated on the 22nd, a gross offense has been committed and O’Callaghan should resign from Bord Failte, while the Coroporation should seek to make an example of him. However since local government is so weak everywhere today, this will NOT happen unless people – Dubliners and tourist interests throughout the country – insist that the Corp. act speedily in the matter.
Also, this businessman has brought the name of Irish commerce into disrepute, and he should be immediately forced out of public official life. Why not lobby other business institutions to make them aware how their collective image is being sullied in this way.
The threat against the hotel chain has forced the promise to rebuild, really an admission of guilt. This threat should be maintained until the new development complies with the planning law. It seems to have worked quite well, and should only be dropped when full satisfaction is achieved!
It’s called ‘consumer power”.June 28, 1999 at 6:05 pm in reply to: Dublin ‘Pubs’ #712816
By visiting the Stag’s Head, you won’t ‘learn everything’ about Irish pubs, Donncha!
The original challenge from Shane Clarke was from England, I’m sure, otherwise he wouln’t have asked about the ‘cultural aspects’ of the Irish pub.
As for the Stag’s Head, this fits into the international class of ‘parlour house’ entertainment to be found all over the Anglophone world at the turn of the century, as far away as San Frasncisco, I’m sure. So it is certainly a ‘grand’ interior, but not typically Irish, as taken up by the ‘theme pubs’ that Clarke is studying in England.
As a better Dublin example, Donncha could have nominated the Brazen Head, alledgedly the oldest pub in the city, and very infromal in its decor, therefore so much more representative of the provincial Irish pub of the 19th. century.
I suppose the question arises – what IS the oldest pub in Ireland? I’d like to know, for one, but am too lazy (other irons in the fire!) and far from the material to sort this one out.June 24, 1999 at 6:03 pm in reply to: Dublin ‘Pubs’ #712814
The Irish pub is essentially a product of the nineteenth century, as that was when the greater part of our common urban building was erected, replacing earlier thatched houses and so on. Also there was the practice of awarding licences to general traders, grocers, etc., so that one finds the curious dual trading of shop-in-front – hardware etc., and pub behind. Later in the century with the great programme of Catholic church-building, landlords could fit out the interiors with richly-carved wooden bars, church tiling on the floors, and so on. Etched glass and brass fixtures are to be found in the better ones, but many remain very simple, with t-and-g boarding, a few barrels mounted over the rear counter, and sometimes ornate gas-lamps in the windows. One overlooked feature is thatinstead of signs, pubs were painted in a particular livery, which never changed – in an age of illiteracy, one had to be able to identify the pub through say its being red-and-black. Ofcourse names were used, but generally the family name of the licensee, and sometimes done in gold, covered by glass.
One could not see into the pub directly – an important consideration securing the privacy of the pub. Thus the front windows tended to have a high sill, and a great single pane over ( 19 c. plate glass). The snug, a small compartment between front window and the bar service area, or elsewhere in the building, was for the reception of ladies, who may have been forced to settle sales of farmstock in private with the ritual drink and ‘luck-penny’ exchange. The cities boast saloons on the international style of ‘parlour houses’, with very ornate design, stained glass and carving, the rural ones can be very informal, with drinking taking place in the business end, giving rise to the range of drawers that are installed in English theme-pubs.
It is hard to write a history as there is such variation, but a number of pre-eminent examples can be easily idfentified in any area – in N. I. some of the good ones are listed – some of the good-but-simple ones are going fast. As regards the imagery, there were of course no medieval ones, so huge timber beams are never found, or other features of English pubs that have now become common worldwide. Therefore desite a lot of variety, the Irish pub has a recognisable gamut of features which give it its quintessential character, and surely it is this identity that has swept the Continent, where the examples are far less ‘commercial’ than the ones found everywhere now in England, with prissy names – products of interior designers who usually get things mixed up a bit, and the whole effect becomes coy in the extreme.
The above contribution is the result of many happy hours of self-financed research around the world!June 22, 1999 at 4:08 pm in reply to: Archer’s Garage #715529
The news that Archer’s Garage is to be rebuilt must be considered a belated success for fair play and respect for the law in Ireland, not just Dublin. The discussion has thrown up a number of penalties that developers could suffer, if they flaunt the law, and witnesses of this recent saga should encourage the Government to introduce very sharp measures in the new legislation. High financial penalties, jail for executive charimen, withdrawal of licence to develop for long periods, are all possible. Otherwise Ireland will remain a small country manipulated by greed and cronyism, of which our history can boast too much.
I am also very certain that the threat of boycotting the chain of hotels concerned has been swiftly effective. However, a crime HAS been committed, as the fabric of the original Listed Big. has been intentionaly swept away forever, by stealth. F O’C should step down immediately from BFE, as he cannot represent responsible business practice in Ireland.
A victory of sorts has been achieved; new measures to prevent a recurrence, and a punishment of the criminal action are now the issues, as the promise to rebuild is just to avoid punishment. The Corp. of Dublin MUST assert its full authority NOW as the planning authority, but local government is too weak, and it will prove itself so in this case. However, its will could be stiffened by the people’s expression of justice.