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1965 – ESB Headquarters, Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin

Architect: Stephenson Gibney & Associates

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Fitzwilliam Street once the longest expanse of intact Georgian architecture anywhere in the world was destroyed in the 1960s when the ESB a supposedly responsible semi-state body wantonly demolished twelve of the houses. The Georgian vista that existed till then consisted of almost a mile of continuous houses passing through two squares. Between the two squares, the ESB removed almost the whole left hand side of Fitzwilliam Street to build their headquarters, a very poor example of modern architecture, which was the result of an architectural competition held in 1961. Since then they have tried to redeem themselves by restoring one house that they failed to demolish to a facsimile reproduction of life in the 18th century. This is scandalous when you appreciate what they destroyed. It only further displays their disregard for Georgian architecture in that they can assume that by restoring one single building to a theme park attraction they can apologise for the atrocity that they committed on the city of Dublin.

The architect Sam Stephenson argued at the time of construction, that Georgian houses were “never intended to last more than a lifetime” and it should be clearly understood that “they cannot be usefully preserved at all”.