Trying to stop the Clarence Hotel demolition at An Bord Pleanala’s oral hearing

cannibalised quay      loss-making hotelier          Cape Canaveral

Day 2:

Edge is all over the papers, steered there by Breda Keena, who used to do PR for An Taisce! He reckons demolishing the quay is a coup for Dublin. A little immodest I would say given if it’s a coup it’s his coup. U2 should write a song about their vision of facade-retention on the quayscape: where the streets have no shame. Also they’re bleating again about how much money they’ve lost on the hotel. But they’ve made a fortune in capital appreciation on it. If they close it out of pique someone else will buy it and do what they should – extend it into the shells of the adjoining buildings.

It’s scandalous how many professionals read their scripts today. Not just overpaid but boring too. On average there were at least five people asleep at any time in the warm room, shut down by the minutiae of the Ministerial architectural guidelines. At one stage I found myself asleep – during my own presentation. Of course the anger ups the temperature. I raised the heat at least a degree when I responded to the City Council’s submission. The principal guide for the city’s planners is supposed to be the City Development Plan. Kieran Rose, the City planner, referred to it not once except for a bald reference to the zoning – preferring instead some abstruse philosophy manual about “memory boxes”. Do the elected representatives know that the document they so industriously and democratically created is flouted in favour of a book on boxes? Incidentally Kieran Rose is Mr high-rise also – having put his name to the Dunne decision in Ballsbridge and several ill-placed towers on Thomas St. The City’s conservation architect sits next to him but she’s not been allowed to speak so far. She just sits there, a mute monument to thwarted democracy. Mr Rose determines many important decisions for the local authority but luckily he loses them in An Bord Pleanala. I have never spoken to the Conservation Architect but she looks like if he loses this one she will be extra happy.

Day 1:

The Bord Pleanala oral hearing started today in the usual sunless room on Marlborough St. It was my first one in a good few years and it felt much the same. The portals heavy with the smell of overpaid professionals and fear. Impossible to say if they all hate each other but are pretending to like each other or the reverse. And journalists desperate for a one-minute crash course in planning, the Universe and everything. There were a lot of them today. An Taisce was good – Ian Lumley, Kevin Duff and James Kelly. All the international hotels Foster and Partners aim to replicate in the demolished Clarence turn out to be conservation jobs! At lunch I came home to eat and finished the presentation I should have finished last night. I also decided to perfect the shave I started this morning but the razor gave me a rash. That’s always the way with razors: look for too much from them on a special occasion and they fight back. Marlborough Street was lively with Hillery fans. Where have they been these intervening years? I passed Albert Reynolds looking wrinkly in a black Mercedes as I made my hurried way back – late – after lunch. I was on at 215. It was fine and I managed to dish some descriptions of the fundamental problems with a scheme that breaks all the rules – at a forum that’s keen on the rules. The Edge sat down opposite me after I’d been going a few minutes. After that I took out the personal bits since better to be kind when we’re probably going to have to help them with a revised application after they get turned down. He was inscrutable under that hat thing. I had to leave early to pick up a child so I’m on again tomorrow.

The Clarence is the biggest proposed demolition of protected (i.e. listed) structures in more than ten years in Dublin. But most of the buildings’ facades will be retained and a “Skycatcher” built overhead.

Damning letters have recently been sent from the Department of the Environment and Failte Ireland (formerly Bord Failte). It should not get permission. Bord Pleanala usually applies national standards. Thankfully since the Planning Act of 2000 standards are quite high for preventing demolitions of protected structures.

It will be a tense and probably bad-tempered three days. Here’s my written submission to An Bord Pleanala.

10 Dec 2007

The Secretary
An Bord Pleanala
Marlborough St
Dublin 1

Re: 1394/07 Demolition and Rebuild behind façade of Clarence Hotel, Dollard House, 9-12 Wellington Quay etc

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wish to appeal the demolition behind facade of the Clarence Hotel, the Georgian buildings at 9-12 Wellington Quay and the former Dollard printing works. These are among the most distinguished quayfront buildings in the City and are all in good or excellent condition. Two of the buildings and four facades are protected structures. In an era of aspirant sustainability the proposed destructions behind facades betray an anachronistic insensitivity, especially from people – in the case of the U2 members – with an acute sense of modern mores. This is the biggest demolition of historic and protected structures in more than a decade – indeed since the legislation providing for “protected structures” was introduced in 2000. It brazenly conflicts with the City Development Plan, national legislation and national guidelines.

The quays
The quays are an important element in the integrity of Dublin. For example the Liffey is the City’s most important determinant of place and the quays iconically frame the most famous pictures and postcards of Dublin.

In 1974 the Architectural Review produced a classic supplement called, A Future for Dublin. The editor, Kenneth Browne, singled out the Liffey Quays. “Without question it is the quays which give topographical coherence to Dublin. They are the frontispiece to the city and the nation. These riverside buildings are the essential Dublin . . . grand, yet human in scale, varied yet orderly, they present a picture of a satisfactory city community; it is as though two ranks of people were lined up, mildly varying in their gifts, appearance and fortune, but happily agreed on basic values. Individually unremarkable as works of architecture, collectively they are superb, and form a perfect foil to the special buildings such as the Four Courts and the Custom House. If they are allowed to disintegrate, to be replaced by unsympathetic new buildings, the most memorable aspect of the city will be lost.” As the City Conservation Architect observes in her report on this scheme, “Dublin’s beauty as a capital and its claim to being one of the greatest of surviving Georgian cities depends on its whole fabric of streetscapes rather than a collection of resounding buildings – the quiet ease of understatement, something rarely found in Europe. The river Liffey has always had a charismatic presence within the city. Its quays ‘grand yet human in scale’ … provide coherence to the city, backbone to an intimate, humorous capital. Almost all of its most significant buildings – the Custom House, Trinity College, the Parliament Building, City Hall, Christ Church Cathedral, Four Courts, Blue-coat school, the Royal Barracks, Royal Hospital and Phoenix Park – are located within a few minutes walking distance of its quays”.

Wellington Quay is an eastward extension of the original Custom House quay where Thomas Burgh’s Custom House stood for a hundred years from 1704. It is one of the better-preserved quays with a critical mass of historic buildings.

The site in the context of the quays
The Clarence and Dollard House are important examples of late-Nineteenth/early-Twentieth-Century mid-size buildings. They form a counterbalance on the one hand to the set-piece buildings such as the Four Courts, Custom House and Civic Offices and on the other to the simple “soldier-like” Georgian and Victorian houses. The ensemble of these three forms characterizes the subtlety of the quays, Dublin’s most important artery – grand yet human in scale.

The proposed scheme
Although the architect, Lord Foster, describes the proposed development as “a confident yet sympathetic civic presence” and planner Anthony Abbot-King, in his last decision before leaving the Council for the Docklands Authority, felt it was “an exemplary design solution”, I consider that in fact the proposal is contextually illiterate showing no awareness of the importance, subtlety or uniqueness of Dublin’s quays. It provides for a parodying ragbag Leviathan of all the three forms, oversailed by a greedy cybership. The effect is to create a silly setpiece on the scale of the Civic Offices but comprising a mismatch of eviscerated typologies under a single roofscape which is somewhat redolent of the Civic Offices. The idiom is a none-too-humble Georgian-Galactica-Deco

The days of grateful fawnings over international (or in this case intergalactic) architecture on Dublin’s landmark sites should be over. Essex Street, Wellington Quay and the quays generally are first-rate historic environments – not Cape Canaveral. The site integrates first rate exemplars of Dublin’s rich quayscape. They should not be subsumed into one Spaceship.

The imposed new Gargantua would be particularly overwhelming because of the width of the river and quays. It is entirely inappropriate that a private hotel, rather than a great public building, would dominate classic views of the city quays, “overwhelming”, as the City Architect notes, the Four Courts and important views of City Hall. She goes on, “the urban silhouette or Stadtbild should be an advertisement for civic priorities rather than commercial branding”.

As part of the process of destruction and imposition the scheme also promotes “facadism” a device that in serious architectural circles has been generally left behind. This is reflected in the Department of the Environment Guidelines to Local Authorities on Development Control which see facadism as: “rarely an acceptable compromise, as only in exceptional circumstances would the full special interest of the structure be retained”. As the City Conservation Architect comments, “Facadism is a meaningless discredited architectural device”. Norman Foster appears to have been dozing when his scheme embraced it.

The planning context

Zoning
Inevitably therefore the proposal conflicts with the Z5 zoning for the site, the stated objective for which is “To consolidate and facilitate the development of the central area, and to identify, reinforce, strengthen and protect its civic design character and dignity”.

Development Plan Policies
It also conflicts with Dublin City Development Plan Policy H15 which states ‘It is the policy of Dublin City Council that new buildings in conservation areas should complement the character of the existing architecture in design, materials and scale’. Patently the scheme does nothing to reinforce or complement the dignity of the quays or the character of the existing architecture.

The substantial demolition of these buildings also abnegates Conservation Area Policy H13, which states “It is the policy of Dublin City Council to protect … [the] historic fabric of conservation areas in the control of development”.

It also conflicts with the following sections of the Dublin City Development Plan:

Section 10.2.1 of the Development Plan which states: “The River Liffey and its quays is a designated conservation area. The establishment of riverside quays with buildings facing onto the river was the single most important intervention in shaping the city. Today the character of the quays is defined by the existing historic fabric, new build, the height and setting of buildings, the quays bridges and port area, the curving nature of the river and the vistas which emerge along its course.”

Policy H16 states: “It is the policy of Dublin City Council to protect and reinforce the important civic design character of Dublin’s quays, which are designated a conservation area and infill development should complement the character of the quays in terms of context, scale and design.”

National Guidelines
The proposal conflicts with the DoEHLG Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities for dealing with roof alteration proposals. Section 9.2.7 of the guidelines state: “Roofs of protected structures should retain their original form and profile and should not be radically altered, for example, to provide extra accommodation …”

The buildings.
The buildings are all of regional significance. This means they are buildings which make a significant contribution to the architectural heritage within their region or area –
in this case the iconic city quays.

Wellington Quay frontage
The Clarence itself is a unique remaining example of an eclectic mélange of stripped classical/ Arts and Crafts/Art Deco architecture. It was rebuilt in 1939 by Bradbury and Evans and extended upwards in 1996 with the addition of a copper-clad penthouse. The building won a conservation award as recently as 2005 from the RIAI for its conversion. So why demolish it? Dollard House is a fine late-nineteenth Century (1886) Commercial Building of Elizabethan style and in good condition. It is said to have been protected in part because of its manifestation of technical innovation.

The adjoining quayfront houses are late Georgian and of good quality for the quays. Christine Casey in Dublin (2005) states that No 10, the former Working Man’s Club retains much early C19 detail and alterations by WH Beardwood in 1885. Planner Anthony Abbot-King considered that the four Georgian buildings were in “poor to very poor condition” even though the City Conservation Architect’s view was the owners ”have neglected routine maintenance and allowed the external facades to deteriorate into a superficially scruffy condition but otherwise the buildings are in good structural condition”. Mr Abbot-King is neither an architect nor an engineer. It will be interesting to see how the City Council explains this extraordinary contradiction.

The proposal undermines the typical heterogeneous quayfront charm of the site by demolishing the interior and corrupting the external ethos of each of these ensembles severally by incorporating the Clarence within a Fosteresque twenty-first-Century rockstar bubble.
All the buildings have good interiors which are protected. There is no reason, and no reason given, to demolish them. The interiors of the Georgian houses and of the Clarence’s Octagon Bar and Tea Room are of good quality by any standards. Removing them (even to replace some of them) is not an appropriate use of scarce resources, physical and cultural.

Essex St.
I concur with the City Conservation Architect that, “the severe Essex Street facades of the Hotel and Dollard House form a pleasing foil to the more exuberant brick building across the street. The relationship of the height of these buildings to the narrow width and short length of this street results in a pleasant introduction to the Temple Bar quarter”. Essex Street which was opened in 1674 would have its character irredeemably altered by the undulating glazed screen proposed in the development which bears no relationship to the surrounding buildings. The Essex St elevation is one of the most characteristic Temple Bar frontages and the proposed non-contextual and boastful treatment with a greedy gable on Essex St will mirror nothing so much as the effect of the current frontage when viewed from Aston Quay.

Protected Facades
As regards the houses whose facades only are protected I draw the City Council’s attention to the Ministerial Guidelines on Architectural Protection (2005) §2.5.2 which state “although it is possible to give protection to part only of a structure, the initial assessment should include the whole of the structure including the interior and rear of the structure, the land in its curtilage and any structures within its curtilage before it is established that only a specified part of the structure is worthy of protection”.

I therefore submit that the substantial demolition of these buildings conflicts with Section 15.10.3 of the Development Plan which states that “The re-use of older buildings of significance is a central element in the conservation of the built heritage of the city and important to the achievement of sustainability …” The contrived and mostly a-contextual reuse of some important elements within the scheme entails so much energy as not to be sustainable. It entirely ignores the first rule of conservation which is minimal intervention, particularly in the case of good buildings.

Owners
Some of the applicants were implicated in the 1996 bastardization of the Clarence through the construction of a lumpen over-parapet roof . This should preclude them from arguing that the current building needs to be improved by demolition and further flashy extension. Their current proposal does even more damage to the subtle and fragile rhythm of the quays than their earlier adventure. Of course that divagation was tax-fuelled (like most of the protagonists’ schemes). The common good is not served by allowing the richest people in Ireland to build with the benefit of tax incentives only to demolish when they get bored.

The fact that the current owners are not up to running a hotel, having allegedly lost up to 18 million Euro on their plaything, does not give them a right to demolish it and start again. The owners’ interest in this hotel, honourably nurtured in the ‘90s in a desire to preserve a venerable if ramshackle Dublin institution, now owes more to a fetish for glamour than any interest in sustainability or even hotel-running. The owners clearly still have not found what they are looking for. Without presuming too much, I venture it is not a hotel.

The City Council has indulged U2 and Mr McKillen (who is addicted to façade-retention) enough elsewhere. If assessed for good-old-fashioned rockstar glamour (Big, New, 150m Euro: Man) this proposal is a success. Unfortunately for its owners the Clarence Hotel is not a pair of sunglasses or a Hat. The proposal should be considered for its legality and contribution to proper planning and sustainable development only.

Architects
I would have expected a holistic approach to this sensitive site from this practice. Foster and Partners’ website asserts that they “design by challenging – by asking the right questions”. In this case the first question they asked should have been how do they integrate rather than destroy the existing buildings.

They also claim that they are “guided by a sensitivity to the culture and climate of place” but have applied for a cannibalistic behemoth.

The Law
The 2000 Planning and Development Act provides: (10) (a) For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that a planning authority or the Board on appeal—

(i) in considering any application for permission in relation to a protected structure, shall have regard to the protected status of the structure, or

(b) A planning authority, or the Board on appeal, shall not grant permission for the demolition of a protected structure or proposed protected structure, save in exceptional circumstances.

The DoEHLG Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities (Section 6.8.11) under the Planning & Development Act 2000 provide that ‘permission may only be granted for the demolition of a protected structure in exceptional circumstances. Where a proposal is made to demolish such a structure, it requires the strongest justification before it can be granted permission and will require input from an architect or engineer with specialist knowledge so that all options, other than demolition, receive serious consideration ’

The additional information submitted by the applicants does not indicate serious consideration, as opposed to self-conscious self-justification.

I also submit that the planning authority cannot have regard to the protected status of these structures: elegant, unique, contextual, landmarks in good or excellent condition and at the same time permit their demolition. It is extraordinary that The Irish Times could quote a Mr Bow of Foster and Partners to the effect that the city council’s planners were “hugely supportive” of this scheme and it can be only this knee-jerk enthusiasm that shepherded the scheme to permission in teeth of all the rules.

Exceptional Circumstances
The 2000 Act states: ‘A planning authority, or the Board on appeal, shall not grant permission for the demolition of a protected structure or proposed protected structure, save in exceptional circumstances.’

The Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities issued by the Department of Environment Local Government – statutory guidelines issued under the Act) at 6.8.14 –6.8.16 elaborate circumstances where demolition or partial demolition may be acceptable. They include where there is obscuring of an important feature, in case of fire and where there is danger. They do not include reasons of ordinary economic imperative. They seem to be very specific and seem to admit of no further exceptions.

General
In their response to a request for additional information the applicants signally failed to show the existence of exceptional circumstances. Most of their effort goes into showing what they perceive to be exceptional merit for their scheme or the allegedly exceptional importance of certain benefits or economic and rejuvenation policy goals. These are not circumstances. Circumstances are the ineradicable background to the application. Exceptionality requires more than just the whim of developers or a vague policy goal. It requires circumstances that border on the unique. If there are exceptional circumstances they should be of a clear type that would constitute a general imperative. Such could be the case with a dangerous or destroyed protected structure (though An Bord Pleanala found such factors insufficient in the recent refusal of an application to demolish the inaccurately-alleged birthplace of Richard Brinsley Sheridan on Dorset St). It could also be the case in unique circumstances such as existed in Lansdowne Road where permission was granted for demolition of a protected rugby clubhouse as a vital piece of new national sports infrastructure had nowhere else realistic to go. Such demolitions do not undermine the essence of hard-won legislation. A permission for this particular scheme, on the other hand, would initiate open-season for demolitions of good buildings for economic reasons or economic whims.

Dublin City Council’s Logic
The Dublin City Council planner apprehends the existence of exceptional circumstances for economic reasons and through the proposal to reinstate facades and some internal room volumes, the importance of “continuity hotel use” and the need to rejuvenate the west end of Temple Bar. The logic is circumstance-free and exception-free rigmarole.

Car parking and swimming pools
The applicants’ belief that there is an exceptional need to pander to the international five-star punter’s alleged insistence on underground parking and swimming pools is special pleading. If the Clarence is good enough at the moment for Bill Clinton who stayed there on his recent visit (and is a renowned connoisseur of international penthousing) and me (a neighbour and sometime frequenter of the Clarence), frankly it will – particularly if extended and upgraded – be good enough for them!

Economic Reasons
The applicants argued that there were exceptional circumstances in the positive influence the hotel will have on Dublin internationally and the help it will give the Irish economy to retain its reputation as progressive and sustainable. These are not circumstances but perceived benefits.

Owners’ Financial Plight
The ephemeral financial vicissitudes of the rockstar owners (and friends) – exacerbated by their inexplicable decision to close their excellent night-club and the loss of status (e.g. its removal from the Bridgestone Guide) of the attractive Tea Rooms Restaurant – are of no legitimate planning concern.

Owners’ Pique
It has been alleged by the applicants that failure to get approval for the ambitious scheme to redevelop and extend Dublin’s Clarence Hotel could lead to its owners – including U2’s Bono and The Edge – selling the property. It seems most unlikely that the alternative to the proposed scheme would “most likely be a down-market budget hotel or . . . the closing of a long-established Dublin landmark business”. If the current owners cannot run the hotel that does not mean that others – especially with the addition of the adjoining buildings that are included in this application and the re-opening of closed-down sections of the buildings such as the former Kitchen night-club – cannot run a profitable business.

Catalyst for Regeneration
Even if future regeneration were a circumstance, I do not accept that a five-star hotel would or could be the catalyst for regeneration along the quays, will bridge the gap between east and west Temple Bar and form a vibrant social hub between the two.” Whatever their other merits, five star hotels are always exclusive and never form bridges of any sort. Hotels such as the Westin were proposed as catalysts, engines of regeneration etc but are closed off and contribute nothing to their areas.

Quality of new building
The applicants’ urban design consultant Richard Coleman states that “the combination of the clients’ vision and their architects’ response have resulted in an exceptional building that deserves to be considered within the parameters of exceptional circumstances”. I do not consider that an exceptional new building (for the future) constitutes an exceptional circumstance which by definition is a feature of the present.

Need for an icon
The applicants state that “Whilst total demolition is inappropriate for this site, partial demolition is vital for Dublin to have a major building of equal stature and importance to the Swiss Re headquarters [ the ‘Gherkin’ in London], which would create substantial benefits for the continued growth of Dublin city”. I submit that the scale and simplicity of the gherkin rendered it inevitably a major building of a stature greater than the weird behemoth that would be the New Clarence. The Clarence would not be a clear icon like the buildings with which the additional information seeks to draw unlikely comparisons but rather a silly setpiece subsumed into a cyber spaceship – and in the wrong place.

The condition of all the buildings proposed for demolition is good or excellent. As a matter of law quality of new-build cannot constitute exceptional circumstances. This is a matter I am prepared to litigate. In any event the architectural quality of this scheme is dubious in the context.

Alternatives to Demolition
The Departmental Guidelines to Local Authorities say “All options, other than demolition [must] receive serious consideration”.

As to the issue of why it was not thought possible to alter and reuse the existing buildings, the architects say this was not viable, “due to the many constrictions of the modest interiors of all six of the buildings”. But they fail to elaborate on how this makes it “impossible” rather than merely more expensive or perhaps less conducive to the sterile tastes of an effete international jet set.

The architects say the proposed redevelopment is necessary if the Clarence is to become “a world hotel that fits into the highest echelon of this genre, to be mentioned in the same breath as the Burj Al Arab in Dubai or Raffles Hotel in Singapore”. Neither of these involved gratuitous demolition. The applicants cite inspirational hotels to help evaluate the proposals but from the Art Deco example of Claridges to the Ritz in Paris all the examples are hotels which have retained and adapted their historic buildings.

The architects say upgrading the Clarence to provide 114 large bedrooms and 28 suites “can only be accommodated by demolishing significant parts of the existing fabric” – as had been done to create the Great Court of the British Museum in London, which was also designed by Foster + Partners. They have failed to prove this. Indeed they do not even seem to have seen proof as their goal.

General Illegality
I also suggest that the treatment of this scheme is already illegal as it should have been refused for want of the proof of the existence of exceptional circumstances. In Illium Properties Ltd v Dublin City Council [2004] I.E.H.C 327; unreported, O’ Leary J, October 15 2004, the High Court held that if the information as submitted with the application did not demonstrate “exceptional circumstances” then planning permission should have been refused, rather than further information sought.

Procedure
As an elementary point – one that would not have been lost on a less arrogant developer – the correct procedure for demolition of these protected structures is clear, if inadvisable in this case. As the City Conservation Architect notes, “There is a procedure to be followed in the event of an applicant making an argument that a building does not merit Protected status. The building is assessed and, if appropriate, put before the Councillors for de-listing. The applicant was made aware of this procedure six months ago and this office questions why the correct procedure has not been followed”. The architectural heritage protection guidelines for local authorities [at 6.8.12] state that this is to avoid “setting a precedent”.

Recommendation
The City Council’s permission has the air of a rubber stamping by breathless Foster and U2 fans with a misplaced obsession with tiring cliches like “signature buildings” and “the knowledge economy”. Bono and the Edge deserve credit for restoring the interior of the hotel in the 1990s. They should now expand it into the other adjoining buildings they own but they should keep their exterior shells and not demolish them. It’s simple. The current scheme blatantly breaches not just the Council’s own plan but government legislation and guidelines and has no place in any mature vision of the future of Dublin. It should be refused on its own terms and as a precedent.
In many ways I am merely trying to save the applicants from themselves. In other contexts they of course appreciate the quality of their propertyholding – and their own laudable role in enhancing its interior at least. The hotel itself, for example, writes on its website: “A part of the Dublin scene since 1852, The Clarence Hotel was purchased in 1992 by two members of the rock group U2, Bono and The Edge. They took on the task of restoring The Clarence, creating their own vision of the ideal place to stay. Its design merges the traditional and the contemporary to create an environment with its own unique and welcoming personality. Arts and crafts style frames the basis of the interior with a subtle palette of the finest natural materials: Portland stone, American white oak, Italian limestone, leather and velvet”.http://www.travelintelligence.net/php/hotels/htls.php?id=146&gclid=CJitnKGp3IoCFUMLQgodyDcV2g. Every day ten times a bus passes my house and the tour guide points at the Clarence and delivers a noisy awestruck spiel about the price of the rooms and its “cool” owners. Presumably the visitors do not anticipate its demolition at their hands.

Expert Submissions
Finally I would ask that An Bord Pleanala seek submissions from the Heritage Council and the Department of the Environment. Although the Department of the Environment always comments on applications for demolition of protected structures, a previous submission was thwarted under the previous government. If there is an oral hearing it would be advisable also to hear from Dublin City Council’s Conservation Architect.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Smith

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3 Responses to “Trying to stop the Clarence Hotel demolition at An Bord Pleanala’s oral hearing”

  1. Just a brief note of thanks, for your excellent, well-marshaled set of objections and arguments, and your erudite critique of the dismally vain-glorious Foster design proposal.

    Like so many others I am appalled that this proposal of vandalism and the desperate replacement design idea has got even this far.
    Although, in the breathless vulgarity of our celebrity-obsessed age, (with the powerful owners and famous architect attached) prehaps it is less surprising, if hardly any less depressing.

    The whole thing makes me feel angry and somewhat confused. Like most other people I admire and applaud daring modern architecture in the right context. But, again like most others, I honestly thought large-scale destruction of our built-heritage were firmly a thing of the past.

    Anyway, one can see how much work went into your letter of objection.

    Please keep up the good work, on all our behalves. Vital for the future of our beloved city, if we wish to leave much of it to our children.

    Hopefully we will defeat this sickeningly vain and selfish application and (as you mention yourself) that refusal will then form a precedent for future decisons.

    Finally, may I ask, is there any notion of a petition one might sign?
    Do you think that would help at all?
    Thank you again.

    best regards- Arran Henderson.

  2. http://galwaytent.blogspot.com/2008/07/bono-elevated-to-galway-tent.html

    Bono Elevated To Galway Tent

    “[Bono] undermines ]…[ the basis of the city’s attractiveness for tourists”.
    Bord Pleanala Inspector.
    Before Execution.

    The Purple & The Pinstripe.

    The purple and the pinstripe
    Mutely shake their heads

    A silence shrieking volumes
    A violence worse than the condemn

    Stab you in the back yeah
    Laughing in your face

    Glad to see the place again
    It’s a pity nothing’s changed

    BANANA REPUBLIC

    Four Seasons – The Ice Bar – Brickie Section.

    Did you hear the honorable executive board of Bord Pleanala only enters The Clarence using the Revolving Doors? These days Billy Gates can’t get a job ’cause the band ain’t hiring. But as for friends of An Bord Pleanala’a executive board …. ?

    This time the Clarence’s bouncer, from the northside abandoned by Bono, tore off the head of the Bord Pleanala Inspector and then pissed down his neck. The little schijt had said His Holiness Bono and Monsignor The Edge would destroy Georgian Dublin with their hotel thing.

    Holiness Bono is the true saint, not Geldof.
    Saint Bob only sings about The Banana Republic and The Rats, and that was 1978.
    Bono truly embodies the The Banana Republic and The Rats.

  3. check this out…

    this is mine…

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