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  • in reply to: Developments in Cork #780833

    radioactiveman it is true that most developers are well meaning but there are a few that consistently drive their projects in a worryingly self serving way. With this well maening could be a description for a psychopath too so it doesnt abslove people of responsability. The difference with what is occuring now and the past is in the scale of what is happening now. Before good and bad buildings were built and the majority of the fabric could have absormed the odd small scale misconceived building. Now developments are huge and act like an oil spill that is just too big for the environment to take without serios intervention. We do need to look at what architecturally makes up our city and we need to educate ourselves about it and respect it. Like it or not the two Victoria cross buildings that so many people hate have much more in common with the Civic Trust House in terms of design than almost any recent building in the city. They have a clay applied facade and flush windows and a severe minimalism based on careful proportioning of elements. All also use the best of known technowlogy of their time. U may hate them but these buildings are intellectually very similar to that tradition which is admired throughout the world as IrisGeorgian architecture and design. A quiet version of these buildings on Lavits Quay designeed by this Architect would be very welcome. Perhaps we could argue about the scale or location of the Victoria Cross buildings but given teir incredibly minimal detailing and proportions they are some of the best and most contextual buildings in the city. Their quiet simple form is Irish and it is humble and without overt devices or decoration. In all nature form does follow function. These buildings and the Civic Trust House are beautiful. 21 Lavitts Quay is a mutant. It is cheap and nasty and ignorant of its surroundings. It could barely be worse than it is. It is like the cheapest christmas decoration I have ever seen. That it sits in the same vista as St Mary’s Church is a crime. The development at Jurys is only marginally better though lets face it how could it be worse. The architectural expression here is remarkably similar to that of the ESSO garage next door. Have a look at it. Perhaps O’Callighans are trying to be contextual after all!!!!! Ha Ha.

    in reply to: Developments in Cork #780821
    Spinal Tap wrote:
    Whats so interesting about the files on 6/7 Lapps Quay ?
    Reading between the lines on your “rant” I think that you are upset with a.Planners. b.Politicians c.Architects.d.Developers.

    I absolutely love Cork. It is an amazingly planned and designed city. It compared well with many classical cities of the highest quality. In pre industrialised times it was a significant city in European terms. Although later expansion was relativly slow the quality and variation of historic fabric is incredible and the subtelties are layerd. It uniquely has a great city centre developed mainly between 1700 and 1840 and a surrounding area that may accomodate incredible expansion and unique economic growth. The development plan is even good though perhaps not rigerous enough and we should be able to rely on it as a kind of contract, set up in conseltation with public opinion to protect all our interests and be a public charter between the city council and the citizens. But it isnt. It is constantly ignored by the Councellors in favour of bending the rules against the recomendation of planners. Why? Why would a City Manager want to hand over public space to a private wealthy individual in the centre of town? Why? What is the significance of their relationship. Why cant’t somebody else have it? In the past a wealthy individual may have paid for the repair of the space to share some of his fortune with the city and the citizens but not now. Now its all about greed……….wealth and ego. How does the system allow this. Something is wrong with our democracy. What I am saying may be like a rant to you but try not to dismiss it just because I am passionate about something.

    One of the problems in Cork is that we don’t really have an active RIAI prescence in terms of shaping local government. I know that the Southern Region are very active here and that is a commendable thing. We also don’t have an established school of architecture yet which in other cities has taken students to the streets over less serious issues and has as an entity taken issue with many things. A school of architecture may highlight areas and bring them to local attention in a positive way. None of this happens. The local press have had development interests in the city and generally do not critique anything except in a banal and middlebrow way. Cork is without protection. Developers do not repair broken areas of urban fabric they often create them. I look forward to the development of the an post site and many other ambitious projects but this should be going hand in hand with the careful repair and development of the historic area of the city as one of our greatest assets. Not handing it over to private individuals. Developing buildings in such a context is a delicate science and really, many completely inadequate people have been involved in doing so lately. Hertzog and de Meuron they ain’t. Carlo scarpa they ain’t. I think Harvey Normans had a better architect than the Merchants Quay Centre or 21 Lavitts Quay. I am ashamed to be from Cork and to witness this destruction because of the poor knowlege and ambitions of our City Council and City Management. The inadequecies are real and it is ok to say so. Is everyone into rolling over now because there is money around and we are all comfortable? The city council and the city management knows how to chat to developers and let them build buildings but does not know how to handle the historic fabric of Cork and in many cases doesn’t recognise its value either culturally or economiically.


    in reply to: Developments in Cork #780815

    @kesey wrote:

    republic of cork, please give examples of the recommendations of planners which were ignored. The City Manager has attempted to drag the planners out of the 18th century. They haved kicked and screamed and want to stay as unambitious and as unexciting as possible. The planners sadly have no wish to help in the creation of an exciting vibrant city. The cats’ vomit at Victoria Cross – from the Victoria Mills to the excremental trident at the Kingsley – give no grounds for hope of imagination from our most illustrious planners.

    Lets face it the planners are only ok. the education of a planner doesnt really give a true appreciation for urban design or architecture and current zoning policies are creating enormouse social and transport problems. But the regeneration of the city is something they have been trying to work on. The city owns much public space and like it or not the regeneration of Patrick Street and the Grand Parade will help Cork. The repair and reinforcement of areas of public space is a tried and tested form of regeneration of cities. In combination with this simple buildings like Soho Bar on the Grand Parade will help to regenerate life and interest in the city. Thats what we are trying to do? Isnt it? Aren’t we trying to reinvent the cist like Bristol or Newcastle or Barcelona? To give it new life?………….but we are not, we are handing it over to developers.

    Look at the file for 21 Lavitts Quay. The recomendations of the planners and public professionals were to reduce the height of the building and relook at the architectural expression. This building has seriously damaged the continuation of the quay, the setting of listed buildings and the riverscape as a whole. It did not need to be that way and a sensitivly designed building here could have greatly contributed to the environment of the city and equally to the pocket of the Developer and the CV of the City Manager. In his wisdom though the City Manager ignored the appointed Government Professionals and in the interests of nobody but the Developer, who stood to make huge profits either way, granted permission for the building. Therefor the opportunity for the city generally to have a positive influence from this building has been missed and the protection we get however frustrating and even inept it might be from paid professional public servants is lost. So we have nothing but the taste and stupidity of a developer combined with the ego and self promotion of a Manager………and the City will suffer long term. What a missed opportunity for the city and in reality a greatly missed oportunity for the developer. In the long run this crude building which is all vulgar show and no substance will not hold its value. This is example number One.

    Here is number Two:
    Railings went up in front of 51 Popes Quay in Cork City Centre, enclosing a piece of public ground. It is a wedge shape created by the straightening of the river which used to run at an angle. It is an exciting public space of huge potential to the city. The railings went up over Chrismas of 2005 while the Planning Dept was closed. Planning was sought to retain them and was reccomended for rejection for many reasons: style, planting, suburbanisation of the space, bad design etc and the fact that it enclosed public land for the private use of only one individual! This area is right in the centre of Cork.

    The City Manager makes many mistakes by ignoring valid comment and professional recomendations on particular sites. The City council go along with this. It would be like the Government allowing the President to overrule one bill after another.

    Sean Keohane is the owner of the property that railed off public land for his private car parking. He is a developer and is trying to develope other areas of the city.
    The Civic Trust house is next door. It is an exceptionally rare building of about 1740.
    The Civic Trust has not notably been active in Cork recently. It is run by John Miller. John has no training in architecture or history and is an Accountant. John likes to park his car in front of the Civic Trust house when he arrives at work. He might say the buildings are vulnerable and his experience is limited to the idea of providing railings. Railings and a car park for his car.

    An application for planning to retain the railings at 51 Poes Quay and add them to the Civic trust house at Number 50 the Civic Trust house was made. It was approved by the City Manager ignoring the recomendations not to do so by the planning department.
    The decision was appealed so the application was withdrawn by Mr Keohane and the Civic Trust. No doubt all parties knew that Bord Pleanala would not allow the transfer of public space to private use or the inappropriate design of the railings in proximity to an 18th C. building.

    A new tack was presented……………the manager proposed to sell the land to Sean Keohane of 51 Popes Quay first, to presumably strengthening his situation in terms of planning to retaint the railings.
    The manager argued to the Council and against protest………… was voted to sell the land to Sean Keohane for….1 euro.

    Having investigated the land from historic maps and from local people i am positive this area was always public space and used as such. When the civic trust house was being developed a few years ago it was left unfinished by the City Council.

    This would not happen in say…..France, because they have a democracy, they do things in the interests of the greater good not the exploitation of public assets for individual people at the expense of others.

    This situation is rotten to the core. It is entierly undemocratic and demonstrates the flaw in the City Manager system in Ireland and also the lack of any serious Civic Trust in Cork. Cork is being ripped to shreds at present. The sise of the city may limit it intellectually. We also have no free press as the local papers often have development issues themselves.

    At the very least these actions are dishonest and are related to influence peddling? At worst they are much more and we may only imagine what else is going on. When will the government intervene as it has done so before on realising that the system is not working in Cork?

    Lavitts quay has an extremely rare building that was once the Lavitt Gallery. Watch as the City Manager allows it to be destroyed. We are nearly the richest country in the world and we cant build well in an urban environment and we cant integrate our heritage with development. We are limited here to the single cow farm ambitions of a few unqualified people. It is a crying shame for our City and this Country and it will ensure the development of this country as a one City State and Cork as a place of provincial mediocraty. So many of us are ashamed of this City and those who represent us. We are ashamed because they don’t represent us. They represent themselves.

    Corruption is described as dishonesty.
    Dishonesty is a term which in common usage may be defined as the act of being dishonest; to act without honesty; a lack of probity, to cheat, lying or being deliberately deceptive; lacking in integrity; to be knavish, perfidious, corrupt or treacherous; charlatanism or quackery.
    Dishonesty is the fundamental component of a majority of offences relating to the acquisition, conversion and disposal of property (tangible or intangible) defined in criminal law.

    corruption (uncountable and countable; plural corruptions)
    The act of corrupting or of impairing integrity, virtue, or moral principle; the state of being corrupted or debased; loss of purity or integrity; depravity; wickedness; impurity; bribery.
    Political corruption, corruption of a political system through bribery, intimidation, extortion, vote buying, destabilization, or influence peddling

    in reply to: Developments in Cork #780811

    Most developments in Cork are cheap and badly designed. We are building a short term future that will lead to problems for the next generations. We are also killing the character of our once beautiful city. We are killing our opportunity to be a considerate and beautiful travel destination. We are killing the future of our economy. We should be building high quality buildings not badly designed ones. The problem is we are not running a democracy here and we dont have even the expertese of our planning officers (if somewhat limited sometimes it is a valid system to protect the publics interest) to rely on. Cork is a subtle 18th and 19th Century Urban landscape.

    New buildings require a certain response to this. A good designer will analise this and adhere to the rules to benefit the continuation of a masterful set of rules set down in the past few thousand years by experienced urban designers. But no we (some architects) know it all now and we dont need to analise history or respect existing urban environments. What is good for Serbiton is good for Cork. What is limited in the imagination of Developers is limited in the imagination of their architects. Developers are supported by the city managers office. Why does the University maintain a high standard but the City cannot. What we have in Cork is limited to the mediocraty of those running the City and those developing it. What we see are their, limited ambitions and their limited imaginations. Their greed and egos are leading the way for the future problems of our children and the destruction of this once beautiful place. We are not getting the architecture of the Tate Modern, we are getting the architecture of a buisness park in Serbaton. It has got to stop.

    I have read numerous planning recommendations, by planners lately where their comments (constructive in many cases) are ignored and the planning applications are granted. Yes we should be promoting as much development as possible and creating a development environment but we should not just grant everything without looking at redesign or modification where inappropriate. The Council and City Manager should realise that they are destroying the city and should at least take the advice of the paid professionals that we are all supposed to rely on.

    The Lonely Planet guide calls Irish people tacky. People in Dublin describe development in Cork as low class, plastic and tacky. We can hardly disagree with them.

    Please look around at the stage set that is the centre of Cork and become aware of what was trying to be achieved by its original concept. Public bildings were clearly positiond and the general mass of buildings has a considerate calmness that creates a stage set of considerable grace and proportion. While the planners and architects are largely ignored, Cork is run by people who have no real education in the field of planning and urban design. Goodbye Cork. Hello Serbiton. Hello Marbella. Goodbye education. Hello ignorance. Goodbye democracy. Hello greed, deceipt and hello to corruption. We are not overestimating. There is no equality in Cork, no freedom, no brotherhood. There is no democracy. There is hardly a free or educated press. Recently the city manager sold a portion of the city centre on Popes Quay to a property developer to park his cars for 1 euro. Though the area is of significan value to the city as an open space. The Civic Trust supported this. They should resign.This was public land since its development in the 18th Century. Planning files have gone missing. It gets worse. Go and ask for the planning file for 6 and 7 Lapps quay in the Planning Department. See what you get. Go and look at the planning file for 21 Lapps Quay.


    the economic redevelopment ot the lanes and the recognision of the architectural character of the city are compatable. almost everything you say makes sense lexington but you seem to have no confidence in the compatability of considerate urban design and the regeneration of areas and the sucessful economic development of individual sites.

    let’s all be clear. the city needs better design to further the aims which we are all putting forward and which many of us agree on. what is difficult to swallow is the fact that we want development of the design standard of barcelona and we are being served up the standards of a buisness park in baisingstoke. we all need to respect the city centre environment and raise our standards and expectations.


    what has happened to lavitts quay. it is obvious to everyone that the development is too big. it is too high. in less economically sucessful times Mr O’Callaghan could have argued that he needed the floor areas to justify the development of the site but he owned most if not all of it for years. he cannot be excused for ignoring local context and squeezing so much from our environment to his benefit and our loss. this is the point. there are many good developments in cork that take a reasonable amount of return from a site and many responsable developers give the city long term and context specific developments.

    the city belongs to us. it is the capital of the county and it expresses our values and our views in our time. the development at lavitts quay seriously lets us down and while we may wish to see the site developed we forget how the dereliction has been created. we have lost the respect for the city as an entity. this loss of respect for us and our city and our lack of confidence and civic pride is centrally demonstrated by this inconsiderate, possibly wellmeaning but greed driven development.
    any strong city would recognise the necessity to maintain a sense of scale in this area, to maintain a sense of material quality and maintain a sence of continuity in the environment of the quay. a confident city would maintain a sence of respect for the environment by building a large building that did not compete with the public buildings in the area for attention. a confident city would not allow a building that did not reinforce the character of the city but took from it instead. cork has allowed this building that is out of context and does not even understand the simplest of architectural devices. the expression of this building on plan and in elevation discontinues the line of the quay and generally serves its own needs and ignores those of the city environment. it is anti society. this is not a matter of opinion as some try to argue [an argument of those less educated in a subject]. the ignorance of respect for the environment and character of cork expresses to us the whole basis of the building. we and our environment are being ignored to serve the needs of the few. this is like the globalisation of our environment,out of our control. those we pay to run our city have ignored us and allowed this disproportioate and decorated postmodern wedding cake, ignorant of even widely accepted architectural devices to add even further destruction to our environment.
    the central fact here is that we still havent recognised how individual and specific the environment of cork city is. it still is an very specific environment and even a small amount of study of this environment should allow us to keep the thread of identity that runs through the city. good design comes from the study of the devices of past societies and context…. it isnt just a matter of opinion. the recognisable design thread that is is specific to us in cork and it exists in many cities in different ways eg. barcelona, paris, bath, venice …… is a central thread of identity that inspires consideration of the existing fabric and promotes confident and modern development and a strong long term economic climate. the development on lavitts quay erodes this thread that is our identity and erodes our confidence and our prospects to form a considerate and optomistic environment for our children. this building would seem dated, nieve and out of place in an average airport business park. why Mr O’Callaghan feels we deserve nothing more than this in our great city is beyond understanding.
    anger often represents guilt Mr O’Callaghan and you seem to be angry. the little respect you have for us as you negativly exploit our environment is being recognised. bring back the Crawfords who gave us great schools and Art Galleries. we dont want developers that do not respect us, our great city or our environment.
    in relation to the merchants quay it is not just that this building created a quayside that was destitute and empty but that the development decanted the interest of many different people from the area and instead of adding to our environment it took from us the vibrancy of a european city where many different property owners have an interest in an area. we lost a grain and atmosphere that is unique and developes over hundreds of years. this kind of environment can be wiped in a few months. the merchants quay anf the lavitts quay development are like a tumour within a city grain that remained unspoilet and in economic and environmental equilibrium over hundreds of years. in recession we should have helped these areas to survive and pull through not left them to the single ideas of one developer. what a loss for us and for our city.
    there is no recession now and there are no excuses why we have to be served up this childlike development. Mr O’Callaghan please get some better advice and show us that you have the maturity to think of the future of our society as much as the future of your cheque book.

    in reply to: developments in cork #758609

    @lexington wrote:

    :rolleyes: How long has this thing been going on??? 😮 Finally, the Cork School of Music (CSM) designed by architects Murray O’Laoire, looks set to roll. Originally, the 110,000sq ft + project was proposed back in 1999 and has since suffered a number of severe setbacks from planning to funding to contractual misendeavours. Jarvis had originally been appointed to the PPP educational project – at one point in 2004, movement looked set when Jarvis signed a contract with John Sisk & Sons Construction to build the project on their behalf, however, when Jarvis ran into financial difficulties, its PPP wing was sold to German-firm Hochtief. The Dept. of Education has since been in negotiations with the firm about commencing work on the belated building – now, an agreement would seem to have been reached. If all goes well, a construction date is set for sometime in September of this year with an 18 month build-period. The project should be functional and open to the college’s 3,000+ music students in time for the 2007 semester.

    This indeed, is another positive development (following yesterday’s announcement regarding Eglinton Street) in Cork’s architectural and educational wilderness. It is believed Sisk Construction will still remain appointed to the contract.

    Any opinions on its design?

    the design of the school of music looks good…..however…. it would have taken more talent to integrate the previous school building which was an incredible and rare structure from the post war period in cork. shame on all involved in this destruction. no argument can justify this level of disregard for the work of others and the sustainabiliyy of maintaining an existing high quality building in use. we say lay your egos off our environment. some humility and respect was called for here. you missed your chance. we can only hope that this new building may be finished to a high quality and not full of unresolved finishes that wont last half as well as its now destroyed predecessor.

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