Dublin City Architect

OPINION
20 March 2008

Quayside Fridgeimages2.jpgthe-anna-livia-statue.jpg
Fridge                                 Spike                                     Floozie

SO THEY have finally knocked down the book market on Capel Street Bridge which I can see from my window.

To the outsider it always looked like a line of grey refrigerators that were nearly always closed and out of which things like window-blinds were occasionally sold, but to Dublin City Council they were bookstalls.

Responsibility for this mistake rests ultimately with Jim Barrett, the newly-retired Dublin City Architect, whose idea they were and who recently received a lifetime achievement award from Opus for “a high level of excellence, insight and achievement in his field over an extended period of time”.

The bookstalls were not his only contribution. Where they lead can the gas-guzzling Nuremberg-style braziers on a largely unused Smithfield be far behind on the runway to architectural oblivion? While they’re at it the City Council could also remove the somewhat clumsy Calatrava Bridge on Usher’s Island, the second-rate new granite all over the City, the hard-surface refurbishments of Ormond Square and Jervis Park and the taller-than-proposed office block with the toilet-block side-elevation, on the former civic green space on Dame St.

They won’t have to demolish the Chime in the Slime or the wibbly-wobbly bridge as they’ re gone and never happened respectively. Or the original elephantine scheme for Spencer Dock which Mr Barrett supported but which was refused permission on appeal.

Most of these schemes were non-contextual, non-green, functionless, “big” and carried out top-down without much regard to the wishes of the citizenry or local community. Terminal criticisms you would think.

In deference to sustainability and because his legacy is not entirely negative, the demolition squads should be permitted to leave the refurbishment of City Hall and arguably the Boardwalk, though the pointless spire may have to follow the Floozie in the Jacuzzi (which pre-dates Mr Barrett and is missing in action from O’Connell St en route to the Croppy’s Acre), which we all got a bit tired of.

Mr Barrett’s legacy is very mixed. With the appointment of a new City Architect, Ali Grehan, it is time for a general rethink.

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One Response to “Dublin City Architect”

  1. The bookstalls,you fail to note, never became book stalls. So the idea was good but the execution dire

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