Grafton Street, Dublin

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This topic contains 370 replies, has 80 voices, and was last updated by  urbanisto 1 year, 11 months ago.

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  • #708932

    Daragh
    Participant

    Now that the final stage of the O’Connell Street redevelopment plan is about to proceed, does anyone think that Dublin City Council should start work on redeveloping, or at least improving, our main street south of the Liffey?
    For what is supposed to be Dublin’s best and most fashionable street, Grafton Street has become increasingly run down, dirty, and not to mention smelly over the past few years! The entire street is also in dire need of being properly repaved. However, what the Council has continually decided to do is simply throw down a few new red bricks every time a new section of the street is in need of work. The result is that the street paving now has at least 20 different shades of red brick! Not very pleasing to the eye indeed. And as for the smell which comes from those bins….!
    Also, I read with interest in the Irish Times a few days ago that the Council, along with local retailers, are becoming increasingly concerned about the quality of retailers on the street. These concerns would appear to be well founded when one considers that yet ANOTHER convenience store opened up on the street several days ago.
    I really fear that the same problems which befell O’Connell in relation to its lack of high-quality retailers are going to befall Grafton Street as well. And while the Council has said that it may look at ways in which it could regulate the types of retailer that can open up on the street, it also says that it doesn’t want to interfere with the free market either. However, if Grafton Street is to be saved, and prevented from turning into a tacky street full of Centra shops and fast-food outlets (i.e. another O’Connell Street) then action will need to be taken. The Council’s blasé attitude to the increasingly tacky types of shop which are opening up all over the city centre is all the more surprising when one considers the intense competition which the city centre is now under from out-of-town shopping centres, such as those in Dundrum and Liffey Valley etc.

  • #784740

    Anonymous

    i completely agree, grafton street is in dire need of renovation and quailty retailers, especially if it is to justify such high rent. if it really is “the fifth most expensive shopping street in the world” as rte/tv3 claimed months back, then it is greatly lacking in class compared to the other four

  • #784741

    Anonymous

    i agree, Grafton street has had better days,
    Now its Under threat from the likes of Dundrum shopping centre and competition from northe side streets eg As Henry street which is really coming close in ranks to Grafton street for shoppers and crowds.
    i heard that Grafton street takes something like 12,500 pedstrains per day , which is huge figure, but it has remain static throughout the , considering the consumer spending and population explosion of the city!
    While Henry street is thriving and it pedstrian figures is about 11,500 and increassing , due to a number of international retailers such as Zara and more comming and since the Ilac centre is been redevloped H&M will be moving there next year too. so its bad news for Grafton street!

    A lot of existing and well estblished businesses on Grafton street are moving elsewhere to the likes of wicklow st and suffolk street, due to the outrages rents

    by the way the pavents could do with a facelift!

  • #784742

    admin
    Keymaster

    @ihateawake wrote:

    “the fifth most expensive shopping street in the world”

    I’m not so sure that this actually the case in that the rents quoted for Grafton St represent a rate per square metre that only treats the first 6 metres back from the front at the rent before falling to 50% for the next 6 metres back and so on. I think that in many of the Cities quoted the rent taken has no such discounting on the basis of proximity to the frontage and simply reflects an overall rate per metre.

  • #784743

    Anonymous

    Might as well chuck in another ‘I agree’ 🙂

    Yes Grafton St needs a Special Planning Control Scheme as the CC are suggesting, as well as Architectural Conservation Area status given the diverse range of architectural styles and building types on the street, and the thoroughfare’s importance in the city centre.

    Agreed about the paving, it is in a terrible condition at this stage. There is as Daragh says a crazy paving effect being generated now with the amount of patched up areas. The street is constantly under repair – don’t think I’ve walked down it in two years without cones and tape erected somewhere. And even then these works simply don’t have the phyiscal ability necessary to cover all areas: there’s always loose bricks or white tiles somewhere.

    For some strange reason though, I think the ‘heritage’ look works very well on Grafton St – it just suits it.
    I’d hate to see it get the cold Barcelonisation treatment – rather the traditional feel by and large should be maintained with the street furniture, though perhaps given a simpler more streamlined look, and crucially a warm paving scheme kept.
    The rust coloured granite that’s used on Henry St as a mere accent to the dominant grey could be used as the main stone on Grafton St for example – maybe with basalt as the accent.

    I think the warm colour of Grafton St’s paving is what makes the street stand out in the city and should be kept.

  • #784744

    Anonymous

    http://www.rte.ie/business/2004/1027/cities.html

    just quoting what i heard from infallible RTE :rolleyes:
    but even so, both rates(front and rear) were most likely taken into account, anything but an average would surely not be considered accurate.

  • #784745

    Anonymous

    It is amazing how all these convenience stores can afford such high rents. In fact Fifth Avenue NY must be awash with Centras and Spars!

  • #784746

    Anonymous

    Dick Gleeson Chief Planner in DCC, Frank McDonald and Senator David Norris were on the radio this morning discussing (and one reminiscing ;)) the proposed ACA and Special Planning Control Scheme for Grafton Street. You can hear it below. First item on the programme, it starts just after 4.24:

    http://www.rte.ie/rams/radio/latest/rte-todaywithpatkenny.smil

    Seemingly there’s a big landbank to be exploited behind the old Habitat.

  • #784747

    Anonymous

    At first there I thought you were going to make us listen to Ryan Tubridy.:eek:

  • #784748

    Anonymous

    Haha, that old English gent in hilarious.

    “I’m an old FART, but I’m not a roaring snob!”

    “Up Grafton St., the pooong of cheap sent, music blaring, street blocked by rock artists, ghastly!”

  • #784749

    Anonymous

    You’ve never heard of David Norris? – shame on you!
    Over Christmas he was on the telly reenacting a war of words he had with a scanger on O’Connell Street over throwing her burger wrapper on the ground – God I never laughed so much in all my life. If only to hear it again…

    I managed to convince Mr Kenny on the radio the other morning to hop on his bike and get up to Dundalk to marvel at its (if somewhat embellished :D) architectural wonders. Better get the good china out.

    Can be heard here a few seconds after 1:13.45:

    http://www.rte.ie/rams/radio/latest/Wed/rte-todaywithpatkenny.smil

    Was going to slip in a plug for Archiseek, but he wouldn’t have read it out then! Maybe next time…

  • #784750

    Anonymous

    lol lol

    “Hanging bastkets, PVC windows, a virtual treasure trove,”

    Great 😀 The way Pat reads it too, so poetically!

    “I’ve driven through Dundalk many time.. and.. well.. I’ve managed to miss all that!” 😀

  • #784751

    Anonymous

    That last part made me laugh too 😀
    Think ‘drive through’ explains it all somehow though…

    Yes, it’s easy to work to his style when mailing him – he does like his hyphens 🙂

  • #784752

    Anonymous

    @graham Hickey wrote:

    Dick Gleeson Chief Planner in DCC, Frank McDonald and Senator David Norris were on the radio this morning discussing (and one reminiscing ]www.rte.ie/rams/radio/latest/rte-todaywithpatkenny.smil[/url]

    Seemingly there’s a big landbank to be exploited behind the old Habitat.

    Hugh O’Regan, formerly of Thomas Read Group, is buying up properties there. Below is an extract of what I wrote in Dec in The Sunday Business Post. It outlines main redevelopment plans for the area at present, although I’ve since written about Shelbourne’s plan to turn the Royal & Sun Alliance building into a dept store.

    By Neil Callanan
    The Grafton Street Arcade is finally expected to be redeveloped into a department store style format next year.
    Property sources said the arcade, which is owned by Marks & Spencer, has already been quietly put up for sale and about half a dozen potential tenants are interested in buying it.
    Rent is likely to equal, if not better, the previous Zone A record for the street, which was set when River Island agreed to pay e13,750 per square metre a year for its shop on the street.
    Since the River Island deal the mix of shops on the street is generally regarded as having worsened, partly because Dublin City Council failed to introduce restrictions on the number of mobile phone shops opening on the street.
    The strong demand for large shops on the street was further underlined when Treasury Holdings offered to pay e6 million to the Campbell Bewley Group to buy back the lease to Bewley’s on Grafton Street, which the group had decided to close.
    The offer emerged during a court case taken by Treasury, which was concerned about internal works under way at the restaurant.
    several sources said that if Treasury’s bid had been successful, the shop would almost certainly have been relet to Spanish retailer Zara, which is anxious to open a shop on the street.
    Conscious of the lack of suitable store formats on Grafton Street, the council is actively encouraging the creation of larger store formats in the area and favours expanding the retail centre to the west of the street towards South Great George’s Street.
    This would link Dublin’s main retail centres — Henry Street and Grafton Street — via Temple Bar and South Great George’s Street.
    The council’s new focus will be helped when property developer Joe O’Reilly builds his shopping complex on South King Street on the site of the former Eircom offices next to the Gaiety Theatre.
    The demolition of the building is scheduled to start in January. However, O’Reilly would have had the chance to enlarge the 7,400 square metre centre, if he had not been outbid by fellow property developer Bernard McNamara for a row of shops on Chatham Street at the back of the building.
    McNamara bought the shops as part of a portfolio of investments earlier this year. O’Reilly’s scheme will open in the autumn of 2007.
    The next major redevelopment project in the area, according to retail sources, is likely to be the College of Music, which is also on Chatham Street. It is expected to be sold next year.
    On the Dawson Street side of Grafton Street, there is also likely to be major changes. The Royal & Sun Alliance building and the Hibernian Arcade are prime redevelopment opportunities.
    Publican Hugh O’Regan has been purchasing a number of buildings in the area. He bought the former Hibernian United Services Club on St Stephen’s Green and last year he acquired an office building behind the club for e10 million.
    He has since leased this building to Dermot Desmond’s casino, The Sporting Emporium.
    O’Regan is also believed to have been the underbidder for the former Habitat store on St Stephen’s Green, which adjoins the former Hibernian club. It has since reopened as Topshop after a e3 million premium was paid for the leasehold interest on the building.

  • #784753

    Anonymous

    Well it’s about time soon. At least the Council appears to have learnt from its mistakes and is trying to avoid Grafton Street becoming another O’Connell Street. Nevertheless, I can’t help but feel this decision is still coming a few years too late. Does anyone know if its possible for the Council to terminate any of the existing leases on the street? I heard a rumour that this was what the Council was going to try to do to the fast food outlets on O’Connell Street..

  • #784754

    Anonymous

    It is possible under the SPCS of O’Connell Street (as with all SPCSs one would assume) in the form of forced change of use rather than termination of lease as far as I know – presumably sub-letting would come into play in such a case. It seems its a tactic they are reluctant to use.
    I wouldn’t say it is too late to change things but agreed that Grafton Street has been allowed get out of hand for far too long. As usual response-led tactics are the order of the day…

    What I’d like to know about Grafton Street is why is it such a busy thoroughfare? It’s not particularly near the central business district of Baggot St/Merrion Square, nor are stores that populate its length any more appealing than elsewhere in the city. Are people just naturally drawn to the place as a popular route though the city, or is it the fact that it’s a pedestrianised street that makes it seem more busy to the average eye than it really is? (though obviously statistically it is).

    I can never understand why the place is so busy, nor why people would want to avail of the majority of its shops: they’re busier then elsewhere, probably more expensive, and nothing particularly special. It seems that it just happens to be sited on a natural nodal point of sorts in the city, where pedestrian activity overlaps and intensifies. Or is it a combination of the various factorsmentioned above?
    I don’t know – other than I tend to avoid the place like the Plague; can rarely see the appeal of it at all.

  • #784755

    Anonymous

    @graham Hickey wrote:

    I can never understand why the place is so busy, nor why people would want to avail of the majority of its shops: .

    I can’t remember the last time I bought anything from Grafton Street, apart from the odd bag of Tayto in the newsagents. I do make a point of walking up the street though when I’m in town. I like the vibe of the place and all those other little streets to the west of Grafton St.

    I’d love to see Clarendon and South William Street predestrianised. You’d have to remove the carparks there, I’m not sure how easy that would be. The two streets are unperforming and a bit rundown but there’s still a great vibe in the place.

  • #784756

    admin
    Keymaster

    Experts say special Grafton Street planning restrictions won’t work
    Archiseek / Ireland / News / 2006 / February 7
    The Irish Times

    Special planning restrictions aimed at reversing the spread of mobile phone shops and convenience stores along Grafton Street are likely to backfire, according to a number of landlords and property experts. Two weeks ago Dublin City Council (DCC) proposed transforming the capital’s main shopping thoroughfare into an architectural conservation area (ACA) following mounting concerns over the street’s deteriorating character. The new planning designation will give the local authority strict control over what types of businesses can trade from the street and it’s expected that mobile phone shops, convenience stores and pharmacies will be among those retailers that are in future either limited or excluded from the prime shopping thoroughfare.

    Could someone please post the full article I am interested to see which particular genius is of that opinion.

  • #784757

    Anonymous

    Presumably being a landlord on that street makes one an expert!

  • #784758

    admin
    Keymaster

    Agreed 😉

    But it is equally relevant to acknowledge that Dublin City Council are equally a landlord in that they depend heavily on Commercial rates to keep the City maintained.

    Grafton Street is arguably the premier Mall in what is the Nations biggest Shopping Centre; vital to the success of any thriving shopping centre is a vibrant and diverse tenant mix. I would be very interested to see ‘the experts’ that deny that a diverse tenant mix in terms of use is in the Streets best interest.

  • #784759

    Anonymous

    Here’s the full thing…

    Experts say special Grafton Street planning restrictions won’t work
    Gretchen Friemann

    Planning&Development: Special planning restrictions aimed at reversing the spread of mobile phone shops and convenience stores along Grafton Street are likely to backfire, according to a number of landlords and property experts.

    Two weeks ago Dublin City Council (DCC) proposed transforming the capital’s main shopping thoroughfare into an architectural conservation area (ACA) following mounting concerns over the street’s deteriorating character.

    The new planning designation will give the local authority strict control over what types of businesses can trade from the street and it’s expected that mobile phone shops, convenience stores and pharmacies will be among those retailers that are in future either limited or excluded from the prime shopping thoroughfare.

    But property experts claim such interference in the market is counter-productive.

    They argue that restricting certain retailers from acquiring leases simply “incentivises” the current undesirable occupiers to remain trading on the street and creates an unpredictable market dynamic.

    The fear is that under the ACA, leasehold values on certain properties will shoot through the roof making it harder for new, more attractive retailers to gain a foothold on the thoroughfare.

    For example, mobile phone companies pay top rents for their outlets but, if special planning restrictions limit their numbers, then their existing leaseholds become a scarce commodity. That means any retailer looking to buy-out the lease has to fork-out key money significantly above the going market rate. And, according to Stephen Murray, head of retail at Jones Lang LaSalle, “restricted” companies – like the mobile phone shops – could then be faced with “reverse premiums” if the leaseholds were impossible to sell at the adjusted value. In other words, the blacklisted retailer would have to pay another user to take over the terms of the lease if it wanted to exit the street.

    Murray argues that since few companies would agree to such a transaction, given the stratospheric rental terms they currently trade under, the ACA would “ironically be preserving” Grafton Street’s retail mix rather than enhancing it.

    However, Dick Gleeson, head of planning at Dublin City Council, maintains the special planning restrictions will improve the area’s appeal by offering easier access to certain retailers.

    Over the past few years supply constraints on Grafton Street have blocked the arrival of international fashion houses and Gleeson claims the ACA will ensure new traders are of a “quality and standard” that is appropriate for Ireland’s most famous shopping location.

    If the scheme is adopted as an amendment to the city development plan by the end of the year, as Dublin City Council hopes it will be, landlords and tenants will no longer be able to award a lease to the highest bidder.

    Instead the local authority will have the final say over what retailers can occupy Grafton Street.

    A list of “difficult users” will be compiled, identifying retailers that are banned from the thoroughfare and specifying other users that are only allowed in limited numbers.

    But, as property experts point out, Dublin City Council does not have a successful track record in controlling city centre retailing. Seven years ago the Ann Summers sex shop chain won its battle to open an outlet on O’Connell Street after it challenged the local authorities in the High Court.

    Some property experts argue the Grafton Street ACA could precipitate similar legal disputes.

    They also claim the mobile phone shops, convenience stores and pharmacies which have been at the centre of an increasingly bitter debate about Grafton Street’s tarnished image would have been flushed out by the forces of the free market.

    Hugh Linehan, head of property with Hibernian Investments, which owns six shops on the thoroughfare, insists the mobile phone outlets are temporary traders, more concerned with marketing than clocking up sales.

    “It’s difficult to imagine they can reconcile these high rents with the number of products they are selling. I think this is all about maintaining a high-profile image.”

    And he claims retailers, like the phone shops, will inevitably relocate as the demand for space increases from other users.

    Yet it is this constant churn that has most incensed local politicians and lobby groups, such as the Dublin City Business Organisation. They blame the institutional funds, which own large chunks of property along Grafton Street, for mismanaging the area and undermining its appeal to the general public.

    Over the past 12 months more than half a dozen shops have changed hands, most of them prompted by rent reviews where landlords have pushed for leases to increase to the latest Zone A benchmark.

    It is the highest churn rate in 20 years and has almost culled the street of indigenous retailers.

    However, Niall Gaffney, the investments director with IPUT, a property pension fund which owns five outlets on the thoroughfare, including the O2 Experience shop, insists Grafton Street’s problems could be solved by developing the surrounding area.

    “Henry Street really is stealing a march on Grafton Street at the moment because it has large-scale sites that can accommodate key tenants, like Arnotts and Roches Stores. So the most effective way to improve the retail mix on the southside is to offer more space and that means developing the large landbanks that surround Grafton Street.

    “They’re going some way to address this supply crunch with the South King Street and South Anne Street schemes but we need the local authorities to concentrate their efforts on encouraging more of these developments.”

    And he pointed out “you don’t attract big name retailers by slapping down ACAs. How many have moved into O’Connell Street as a result of similar planning restrictions? Henry Street proves the only way to attract these companies is by providing high-quality, large-scale units.”

    © The Irish Times

  • #784760

    admin
    Keymaster

    Thanks for that Cobalt and how revealing it was to 😉

    Gretchen should have her brief/future with the IT seriously considered after that article;

  • #784761

    Anonymous
    Thomond Park wrote:
    ] Eh??:confused:
  • #784762

    Anonymous

    While Grafton Street maybe Dublins busiest street, it has a lower spend per user than that of Henry Street.

    Grafton Street serves two main purposes: as a main shopping street and as a main pedestrian thouroughfare linking the city to St. Stephens Green and its associated office district. As such many of the users are simply going somewhere else.

    However Henry Street is more of a shopping Street than Grafton Street. It is not used as a thouroughfare in the sense that Grafton Street: it is not a link to any major business or commercial district. People mostly use Henry Street as a shopping destination.

    Is there not a contradiction in DCC seeking to improve the street by discouraging certain retailers but being interested in attracting Zara and its ilk? Surely this would accelerate the decline from a unique and high class shopping destination to a monotonous ‘high street’ repeated ad nauseum throughout Britain? In attempting to get Zara etc, it would involve knocking some of the smaller units together – destroying the variety of stores on offer on the street.

    Over the past century, once prosperous thouroughfares became economic backwaters and similarly once ignored streets became dominant retail districts. In the 1950s, O’Connell, Sth. Gt Georges and Thomas Streets vied with Henry Street and Grafton Street for attracting the mass of shoppers. Given the increasing attractiveness of Georges Street and Liffey Street for shoppers, may we be seeing other streets eclipsing the tired and jaded established retail core?

  • #784763

    Anonymous

    looks like i got what i was looking for, although on a much smaller scale:D
    a television screen advertising smart telecom has been erected just under the budweiser sign on the top of grafton. Its my hope that this area will evolve into dublins time square/piccadilly circus… 😮 well not that cluttered as it is a small area, but i think a larger screen or two would suit. how does everyone else feel about screens in the city???

  • #784764

    Anonymous

    @ihateawake wrote:

    looks like i got what i was looking for, although on a much smaller scale:D
    a television screen advertising smart telecom has been erected just under the budweiser sign on the top of grafton. Its my hope that this area will evolve into dublins time square/piccadilly circus… 😮 well not that cluttered as it is a small area, but i think a larger screen or two would suit. how does everyone else feel about screens in the city???

    I feel that you should shoot yourself ? Times square is kind of cool,but the billboards are simply hiding ugly buildings. Piccadilly circus is a cesspool of muck that makes temple bar look rarefied. It fails utterly to recreate the buzz of times square.Theres a place for garish lighting and tv billboards but it’s not on grafton street. i’m not sure we have somewhere that would suit. The newer buildings facing temple bar square would work, but that would cement temple bar as the dungeon of booze.The building to the east of the central bank (facing dame street ) might be an appropriate place . But on the whole it’s just a bad idea. Null points.

  • #784765

    Anonymous

    :p Harsh, i dont think the area should be covered with them, but as the center of dublins commercial lifestyle, i think a little modernisation wouldnt hurt. The corner building over bus stop was certainly ugly enough to completely cover with that giant blue “Manpower” ad for a week or two. The old style buildings add class, I think, but not with a scrap metal budweiser sign and other ads hanging off them, I think they should take the ads down, or make them uniform and neat(a screen). The point village seems like it would be an ideal place.

  • #784766

    Anonymous

    @ihateawake wrote:

    :Harsh

    Sorry! sarcasm just comes across as rudeness through de wonderfuul mediam ov de tinternett. My experience of times squares is that it works as it is an area full , no bursting , with theatres and “eateries” and such. I think that’s why The lighting on Piccadilly doesn’t work : there just aren’t enough places like theatres and cinemas . Piccadilly happens to have lots of people going by that’s all.It has no buzz at all. Grafton street would be the same. That’s why i suggested the square in temple bar , but there again no .Because i don’t think that would look quite right. The point village maybe , i’m not sure though. The top of liffey street , maybe the side of the central bank that faces dame street ( that might be cool , as the screens would be angled towards the ground). Maybe on the pedestrian area leading to talbot street from o’connell street .

  • #784767

    Anonymous

    Np, I like sarcasm, once I cop onto it:D You’re right about piccadilly having no buzz, I suppose grafton is similar. Seems there is a large temporary screen fitted in the square in temple bar every year… http://www.eyecandymediapartners.com/press/stpatricksday_dublin2006/

    Mabey they should strap one to the spire

  • #784768

    Anonymous

    Heinous as it might sound , i really really like the the spike. Especially at night.Wait maybe it’s a great idea ! The next time right wing nationalists go a marching down the liberator’s street we could display the level of support for their cause. Or flash nuggets of history onto the screen. I really like to see the reaction of a load of these loonies to “Robert Emmet was a prod , and so was Wolf Tone” scrolling across a big screen.

  • #784769

    Anonymous

    heh, the poor telly wouldnt work too well with €50,000 worth of street lodged in it

  • #784770

    Anonymous

    Why not fly a blimp over the city, with a huge screen displaying news, information and advertisments? It’d be a huge attraction “There’s the famous Dublin blimp!” they’d say.

  • #784771

    Anonymous

    The Harp building would be a great place for a big sparkly screen.

  • #784772

    Anonymous

    I just feel that screens and flashy advertising look better in an area of height and scale, not to mention modernity. Highrise buildings or skyscrapers would reduce the impact and in a way make the dazzling signs seem somewhat more fitting. In a low rise street like Grafton, which is narrow and has much historic architecture a concentration of Time Square type advertising would look garishly out of place.

    There’s a screen tacked onto an old building in Shaftesbury Square in Belfast. It disfigures the Victorian(?) architecture and so looks a bit ridiculous. However, as the area is quite large and has already been fill with architectural crap over the past few decades it seems slightly less obtrusive than might have been the case.

  • #784773

    Anonymous

    Yes, O’Connell House would be a good spot. The bridge and Westmorland St will be rid of cars soon anyway.

    Or how about BOI on college green? Perfect! 😉

  • #784774

    Anonymous

    Are they thinking of putting up a permament sign ??

  • #784775

    Anonymous

    @maskhadov wrote:

    Are they thinking of putting up a permament sign ??

    no no ihateawake was just fantasising , it’s ok though i sent some hitmen to rough him up .

  • #784776

    Anonymous

    @ihateawake wrote:

    looks like i got what i was looking for, although on a much smaller scale:D
    a television screen advertising smart telecom has been erected just under the budweiser sign on the top of grafton. Its my hope that this area will evolve into dublins time square/piccadilly circus… 😮 well not that cluttered as it is a small area, but i think a larger screen or two would suit. how does everyone else feel about screens in the city???

    I think the screen on Grafton St. will just make it harder for other screens to get PP and generate interest in potential advertisers for future screens, and for the record ihateawake, it’s an LED screen not a television!;)

    LED screens combine the colours red, green and blue at varying intensities to produce full colour video imaging. At the right viewing distance and intensity level these colours combine in each pixel to produce white. The screen on Grafton St. isn’t doing this. It also has at least one IM (an LED array) that isn’t producing colour.

    Another rather rudimentary factor to consider with LED screens is viewing angles. Depending on the mounting technology used the LEDs can block each other out from certain angles. There are also louvres between each row of LEDs to help with shading, sometimes these are pointed downwards for extra effect. Either way, these louvres are designed to run parallel with the horizon. The screen on Grafton St. is the only screen of its type I’ve ever seen that doesn’t do this. Why? It appears that the entire unit has been turned 90 degrees to make it fit on the wall. 😮 This makes the viewing angles far narrower than is usually acceptable for typical urban spaces and may have an impact on the IP65 ingress rating.

    There is definitely scope for the development of LED screens in Dublin but like everything else it needs to be done properly. Every screen that is poorly conceived and implemented makes it harder for the next one to get PP. Many cities have badly integrated LED screens that look poor and are in a state of disrepair. Hopefully Dublin will get it right.

  • #784777

    Anonymous

    LED sry:rolleyes: Although I like city center screens, I agree that the grafton st one is terrible, and is in the wrong place. Like many other things new to our city, its faults are the result of bad planning or the complete lack thereof. Hopefully tellys;) will be considered in jc decaux’s new advertising scheme for dublin, such a reputable company should be able to integrate them into our city fairly well.

  • #784778

    Anonymous

    @ihateawake wrote:

    LED sry:rolleyes: Although I like city center screens, I agree that the grafton st one is terrible, and is in the wrong place. Like many other things new to our city, its faults are the result of bad planning or the complete lack thereof. Hopefully tellys]new advertising scheme for dublin[/URL], such a reputable company should be able to integrate them into our city fairly well.

    That’s a very interesting link. I wonder if it will see private operators trying to maximise site revenue by turning to LED screens instead of hoarding sites. A small poster site could well be a large LED screen site. It’ll be interesting to see where it all ends up.

  • #784779

    Anonymous

    This might be of some interest. The full plans were published in the week and I suppose as always comments from the public are welcome.

    Gratfon Street Architectural Conservation Area

  • #784780

    Anonymous

    Thanks for that Stephen. Glad to see improvement works to the public domain is one of the core objectives of implementing the ACA at this point – the paving has deteriorated hugely in recent years (I’ll get some pics). It’s hardly surprising given the footfall of 15,000-20,000 people per hour during peak hours, nearly every day for the past 18 years.

    Cobblelock surfaces, being made up of small pieces, gradually lose their tightness and fall apart under such pressure. Similarly there must be hundreds of broken white paving tiles lining the street at this stage. The City Council are gradually losing the battle in keeping up the maintenance of what is simply a disintegrating surface – there’s constantly road works on the street solving only the worst problems, while the others wait their turn, deteriorating themselves.

    A few extracts from the ACA introduction:

    Grafton Street is one of Dublin’s best known destinations, celebrated in song, verse, film and literature with a long and rich history dating back to the early 17th century. The unique form of the street combined with the architectural quality of many of its buildings creates a distinctive physical character, which enhances the commercial and social functions of the street.

    Despite its strong physical character and economic performance, a number of recent trends is detracting from its attractiveness and threatening the long term viability of the street. These trends relate largely to the increasing imbalance in the mix of uses in the street, the deteriorating quality in the design of shopfronts and the public domain, including the condition of street paving and street furniture. As part of an initiative to address these issues Dublin City Council is proposing to designate the street as an Architectural Conservation Area. The character of Grafton Street is not rooted in any one dimension but is multi-faceted with economic, physical and social aspects, all of which contribute in part to its unique quality. It is this unique character that Dublin City council wishes to protect and enhance.

    Notably it says:

    It is an objective to carry out a co-ordinated street improvement scheme for Grafton Street that will upgrade the existing paving and street furniture. Paving work will be to a high design standard and of high quality paving materials and complementary in slab size, colour and texture with the architectural character of the street. As yet there is no time scale proposed for this work.

    As part of the proposed street improvement scheme it is proposed to create a new public space at the top of Grafton St at its junction with St Stephens Green and to provide for a special treatment of the space at the junction with Nassau St/Suffolk St.

    The latter in particular is good news – Lower Grafton Street is a complete shambles, so much so that most people don’t even know it is a street al all, let alone Grafton Street. It has no coherence whatsoever, packed to the rafters with urban clutter, bus stops, buses and more buses, bus queues, parking bays, bicycle parking, vans constantly unloading, shocking paving, motorway street lighting, wholly inadequate space for pedestrians etc etc etc. Bit like Nassau Street so 🙂 :rolleyes:

    Whatever public scheme is devised for Grafton Street proper must be pulled out into Lower Grafton St to spacially link the two areas. The character of the scheme also ought to be similar to that we currently have – a warm distinctive paving, kept simple without acres of granite cobble being plonked down every few metres to denote every nodal point, entrance and crossing on the street, and with traditionally-influenced street furnishings. Indeed I’d even suggest retaining the current lampposts but updating them with more contemporary heads. It’d be terrible to see the pleasant welcoming character of the street (even if only created 20 years ago) replaced with a cold and sterile Barcelona treatment. Certainly update it – just keep that warmth.

    Indeed looking back, it was a major undertaking in 1988 or so to pave that entire street – a massive project by any standards, especially in a city that had never done anything like this before, and with such tight resources. Does anyone know if the granite used in the paving is Irish? It’s lovely and coarse-grained, and also warmer than the Chinese and Portuguese stuff we’re getting today. Perhaps the last use of Irish granite in the paving of the capital?

  • #784781

    Anonymous

    The DCC published plans by the Road Works Department to redesign and improve the pedestrian areas on Suffolk Street just recently. Unfortunately I never got to have a look and wouldnt you know it, its not on the website. I imagine they are widening the pavements in light of all the new retail going in here. No doubt the Habitat developers demanded it from the not inconsiderable development levies they had to pay.

    Really the whole area needs a coherent plan, and I agree fully with what you say about lower Grafton Street. Its a mess and always has been, especially when one considers its footfall.

    I think an architectural competition is required to get a really interesting vision for the street. More chinese granite and stainless steel would not be welcome.

  • #784782

    Anonymous

    From today’s Independent. As has been said a slight case of the horse having bolted but better late than never I suppose…

    Council to wage war on shopfront shockers

    DUBLIN City Council has deemed that Grafton Street is in danger of growing old disgracefully.

    It has set itself the task of restoring some “old decency” to the thoroughfare.

    The city fathers are concerned the area is in real danger of becoming more bargain basement than haute couture.

    They have issued an SOS – save our status – in the hope of restoring the street’s fading grandeur, and reviving its high class shopping ambiance.

    A similar plan was successfully used to bring dignity back to O’Connell Street more than a decade ago, when it was deemed that burger joints and amusement arcades were draining its character.

    Under the council’s radical new proposals, fashion stores, beauticians and art galleries would be favoured.

    But no more fast food shops, betting shops, phone call outlets or banks will get planning permission on the capital’s premier shopping street.

    Loud music, showy shop signs and flashy advertising would be banished from the area which has become “tired”, according to the council. Among the “worst offenders” for overly colourful branding are Vodafone and Spar, its report claims.

    It says too many mobile phone shops, newsagents and pharmacies are threatening Grafton Street’s position as Ireland’s most upmarket shopping area.

    The council claims heavy branding, “jarring” signs and broken paving have reduced the street’s appeal.

    In the proposed draft variation of the Dublin City Development Plan, it is claimed this has “serious implications” for the future of Grafton Street” and its role in the city centre.

    The council wants to make Grafton Street an architectural conservation area (ACA), which would mean any changes to a shopfront would require planning permission. There would be an upgrade of the street’s paving, bins and signs.

    Feedback on the plan is being sought at present, but it is expected to be introduced before the autumn.

    The council says that the street “has a warm and intimate character”, but this has been damaged in recent years.

    It states the growing number of non-fashion shops have created “an imbalance in the mix of units in the street”.

    If Grafton Street gets ACA status, a new public space would be created near St Stephen’s Green and special planning controls would be put in place to help improve the mix of retailers and encourage high fashion stores.

    Flashy colours would have to “be avoided” and corporate branding would have to blend in with historical buildings.

    However, the high rents on Grafton Street have already pushed many retailers out of the street.

    Critics of the council’s plan are likely to point out that mobile phone giants and convenience stores are the only type of outlets which can now afford to locate there.

    SPAR Ireland said last night that it was an international brand but would continue to talk to Dublin City Council about store design. Vodafone said it would contribute to the consultation process and was complying with planning permission.

    Samantha McCaughren

  • #784783

    Anonymous

    Samantha sounds like she is from another city, especially at the start. The difference in the style between the Time s and the Indo is so obvious in stories such as these.

  • #784784

    Anonymous

    “the street has a warm and intimate character” – nice to see this is acknowledged, as is the poor state of the paving.

    Below is only a fraction of the damage at the paving at the southern (Green) end. The northern end is actually much worse – possibly down to the heavy traffic entering here that disperses into side streets before reaching the south.

    These are everywhere:

    Loose bricks all about too:

    And typical remedial works:

    The place was in a terrible state after Christmas – a lot of work has taken place since then to patch things up.
    To consider how bad Grafton Street has become in places, just think of how pleasant Henry Street is to walk on – its acres of billiard table-like paving is a joy to walk on, by far the best pedestrian surface in the entire city, with no kerbs or tree holes or crossings or raised areas; you don’t even have to look where you’re walking.
    Grafton Street is a disaster by comparision – it’s very easy to trip up if you’re not careful. Thankfully this is going to be addressed.

    As suspected, the Grafton St lampposts appear to be original Hammond Lane models, probably from the inner suburbs. Here’s the stamp on the base:

    There are repro versions of these about the city too though – indeed it is just about conceivable even these are repros, cast from originals with the stamp retained! Hopefully not.
    Always hate these wonky extension arms though – they look ridiculous, and elevate high above the street what should be intimate pedestrian street lighting:

    They seem to have been raised to accomodate the flower baskets. THey do look magnificent in high summer (though arguably should be a single colour), but could be moved a bit lower down to preserve the lampposts as designed. And the light emitted is secondary anyway – they’re really only decorative, not least as there’s domestic CFL bulbs in them :rolleyes:. Grafton Street is mainly lit by lamps attached to the buildings.

    Also some of the lovely granite – surely Irish?

  • #784785

    Anonymous

    I think that one of the first things they should do is introduce a standardised signage for shops on the street. Most of the Champs Elysees has shopfront names in silver lettering that are suspended a few inches from the shopfront. I think that could work on Grafton Street, particularly if the maximum size of each letters was set in stone (It should be around 10-12 inches I think). That way the gaudy fast food/Londis/HMV/Next signage would be gone.

  • #784786

    Anonymous

    I think Graham its more likely the extended sections were introduced because the lamp kept getting smashed by gurriers. They were how enough to scale up a bit and take a good swipe. Interestingly some of the mlamps on Talbot St are of this height without an extra attachment.

    Regent St in London is also a good example of standardised shopfronts/signage

  • #784787

    admin
    Keymaster

    I can see where you are coming from in relation to signage and lets be honest there has been a terrible attitude towards what is considered acceptable in Ireland in common with many other places.

    However I do not feel that introducing a manditory signage regime would be ideal either given the architectural diversity on our main streets with particular reference to places like Pana or Grafton Street.

    For a start a prescriptive regime would eliminate all possibility for innovative contemporary designs and this would be retrograde in my opinion. If the concept of ACAs were enforced signage would present a medium for retailers to drawn attention to their pitches without undermining the architectural integrity of their location.

    A good example of good signage is the Spar shop on Camden Street where simple contemporary metal lettering has been used on a period building.

  • #784788

    Anonymous

    @Thomond Park wrote:

    For a start a prescriptive regime would eliminate all possibility for innovative contemporary designs and this would be retrograde in my opinion. If the concept of ACAs were enforced signage would present a medium for retailers to drawn attention to their pitches without undermining the architectural integrity of their location.

    A good example of good signage is the Spar shop on Camden Street where simple contemporary metal lettering has been used on a period building.

    Which is pretty much what i suggested. As for the innovative contemporary designs, they could still use them in shopping centres. I don’t think there should be big Golden Arches etc on Grafton St. In Krakow, Paris etc they use metallic/silver lettering on the main street and I think that should be the case here too – they could still use them on streets other than Grafton St , Henry St and O’Connell St.

  • #784789

    admin
    Keymaster

    I certainly wasn’t referring to McDonalds signage or footlocker or any other generic design as being innovative in any sense. What I was referring to are the type of shopfront such as No.1 Clare Street or Neu Bleu Eru on South William Street

  • #784790

    Anonymous

    I’ve never seen standardised signage in operation, there’s not many decent pics on the internet – anyone know of any links?
    It’s certainly an interesting idea for Grafton Street, though I wouldn’t like to see it tip too far over into homogenisation – if it could be done using basic templates but retaining individuality it’d certainly be something to consider.
    The Champs

  • #784791

    Anonymous

    two McDonalds and two Quick Burgers – it’s as bad as O’Connell Street :rolleyes:

    http://www.magicparis.com/CHAMPsElYsEEs/En/FrameFastfood.htm

  • #784792

    Anonymous

    Can Grafton Street survive as Ireland’s premiere retail core with the change in Ireland’s retail market.

  • #784793

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    No I don’t think so – too much is against it – the relative small size of buildings means it cannot compete for the masses like henry Street. Its future could lie in high-end shops – smaller unites, high priced goods…

  • #784794

    Anonymous

    Back to what it was, then …

    Some years ago, an aunt of mine, coming home from America after 20 years, remarked that ‘you don’t expect to see McDonalds on Grafton Street’. She thought it had really gone downhill from what she remembered it to be.

    We think it’s posh now cos it has a handful of high-end shops – Weir’s & Brown T’s – but apparently it was all like that not too long ago.

  • #784795

    Anonymous

    Given the fuss over the number of mobile phone stores on Grafton Street, 6 if I’m correct, I find it amazing that no one seems to have batted an eyelid at the announcement over the weekend by the mobile operator 3 Ireland saying it intends to open its own store on Grafton Street shortly…

  • #784796

    Anonymous

    What is replacing Golden Discs?

  • #784797

    Anonymous

    @The Denouncer wrote:

    What is replacing Golden Discs?

    Planning application yet to be lodged, it will be a department store but it is being marketed at present. H&M and Zara were expected to be favourites but now are to open in Sth King Street according to Irish Times. Ann Summers, Penneys, Next and Mango are all looking for stores on Grafton St

  • #784798

    Anonymous

    Why are there no ‘top-end’ stores gunning for the street? Do they just not need the exposure?

  • #784799

    Anonymous

    What do you mean by top end? It’s too small a department store for the likes of Harvey Nicks. If I was a top end retailer I couldn’t be bothered opening on Grafton St anyway, it’s just not up to scratch. Was talking to a leading British retailer a couple of weeks ago and he said he couldn’t get over how bad the street had gotten or why restrictions weren’t put into place years ago about the type of stores that could open there. interestingly he has a number of shops off Grafton Street but is only now opening his first one there.

  • #784800

    Anonymous

    Grafton Street for design revamp

    Ireland’s most famous shopping street is to get a design revamp in new city plans for Dublin.

    Grafton Street draws 80,000 shoppers a day and has one of the highest retail rents in the world.

    But Dublin’s planners today warned there were too many mobile phone shops and convenience stores on the street and that it wanted to attract better quality retailers.

    City planner Dick Gleeson said: “We want to put our foot down. There has been a slide on the design front. We want the best design approaches for shop fronts – both contemporary and traditional.”

    City Manager John Tierney said that footfall levels on Grafton Street were equivalent to an All-Ireland Final every day.

    The city council, which today unveiled its spending estimates for 2007, aims to designate the Grafton Street district as a Architectural Conservation Area to protect its character.

    Mr Tierney also predicted that Dublin would need more high-rise developments to cope with its increasing population in the future.

    PA

  • #784801

    Anonymous

    hmm.

    anyone heard about plans to develop the entire area between grafton street and south great georges street?

    hate to say it, but I think this area is quite interesting, and could perhaps benefit from more of the independant “low end” shops that currently occupy the area. I’m sure the developers just want to bring in more boring high end shops that 1) most people can’t afford and 2) don’t offer anything different to all the big malls recently developed in dublin.

    I would be very sorry to see some of the most interesting clothing and music stores disappear because they’re apparently “dragging down” the grafton street area. who doesn’t like the arcade?

    bummer.

    fjp

  • #784802

    Anonymous

    The area between Grafton St and South Great George’s St is one my favourite areas in the city, especially around the arcade. It has a really offbeat charm and it lovely and quiet in comparison to the rest of the city centre. Not only that, but the quirky shops make it what it is.
    I know Dublin City Council want the area to be a Temple Bar as Temple Bar was originally planned to be, and that seems a good call, but so long as every application to open shop etc in the area is considered for its merits and not just increasing footfall. We’ve enough Carrolls, newagents and mobile phone shops already, thanks.

  • #784803

    Anonymous

    I agree … the goal shouldn’t be to cram in another phone shop or eve Zara or H&M on every street .. some good quality independent retailers and quirky boutiques (like the Lanes in Brighton) would make the area far more interesting..

  • #784804

    Anonymous

    Phone Shops are sooo 2006. 2007 is the year of the Chinese Herbal Remedy shop. Two opened opposite each other in as many weeks!

  • #784805

    Anonymous

    @The Denouncer wrote:

    What is replacing Golden Discs?

    Marks & Spencers are expanding their shop into the area formerly occupied by the Grafton Arcade. The seperate unit is now off the cards

  • #784806

    admin
    Keymaster

    @d_d_dallas wrote:

    Phone Shops are sooo 2006.

    Agreed they have pulled back massively much to the disappointment of landlords but once in it is very difficult for them to assign their interests as it is very easy for a landlord to argue that virtually any other occupier including say Arcadia or even Dunnes Stores is a much weaker covenent based on market cap.

    Landlords love them becuasse they hold the retail records for lettings on Oxford St London since 2003, Grafton St Dublin the Vodafone letting in 2005 and Hauptwache Frankfurt record from 2004.

    Only the Corporation introducing micro-zoning by use class on their principal streets will stop the next fad occupier which could very well be Chinese Herbal Remedy shops. Which if Parnell St is anything to go by will certainly add a splash of colour.

    My main gripe are covenience stores there are simply too many of them and their signage is as other posters have said designed to appeal to our most base impulses.

  • #784807

    Anonymous

    Mobile-phone shops ‘ban’ for Grafton Street

    Irish Independent Sunday December 3rd 2006
    JEROME REILLY
    CONVENIENCE stores and mobile-phone shops will be banned from locating on Dublin’s most expensive street as part of a multimillion-euro plan to lure back shoppers.
    Dublin City Council is preparing to block certain shops from Grafton Street in the future, as cash-rich shoppers are choosing to spend abroad.
    Commercially, Grafton Street has lost none of its allure but officials believe the balance of shops is wrong and that the red-brick paving, laid in 1988, needs replacing with high-class granite and new street furniture.
    The plan is to develop the side streets around Grafton Street and Henry Street and, eventually, to have shops all the way between the two.
    Currently there are sixmobile-phone shops on Grafton Street. Vodafone and O2 have two each; Meteor and Carphone Warehouse make up the rest.
    According to Dublin City planner Dick Gleeson, the local authority is aiming to create an architectural conservation area. “That will allow us to follow on with the introduction of an area of Special Planning Control. With that we can define the range of uses, define much more demanding standards for shop-front design, and we can control lax advertising,” Mr Gleeson said.
    Under the new plan, convenience shops will also be limited. Mr Gleeson also believes that financial-services outlets add nothing to the streets.
    “People go into those places once or twice in a decade – mostly for mortgages,” he added. “The phone shops are using the street as an advertising station because they have the footfall. If too many [shops] go in, it kills the goose that lays the golden egg.
    “Irish people are now so well off and so well travelled that they tend to think of going off to Paris or Milan or New York for the shops. We want to make sure that they put Dublin No 1 on their list.”
    © Irish Independent
    http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/ & http://www.unison.ie/
    http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=9&si=1735459&issue_id=14965

  • #784808

    Anonymous

    I don’t think they should replace the paving.
    Maybe do something about the constant smell of vomit at the bottom end.

  • #784809

    Anonymous

    The paving has to go, or at the very least those stupid white tiles. Though obviously, if the tiles go the lot should go too.
    I lost count this weekend of the number of people who I witnessed going arse over tit from a slip on the white tiles. I’m amazed there haven’t been more personal injury claims on the street- we are, after all, the personal injury capital of the world (or are we second in the world? I can never remember…:rolleyes: ).

  • #784810

    Anonymous

    @kite wrote:

    Mobile-phone shops ‘ban’ for Grafton Street

    Irish Independent Sunday December 3rd 2006

    All was reported months ago and even John Tierney’s media briefings two weeks ago reiterated it

  • #784811

    Anonymous

    I know the paving is rather dated, but the red brick (with the white trim) adds warmth to the street. Grey paving can be very austere, drab and cold.
    After having the the O’Connell Street paving debacle drag on for the last few years it would be a dread to face it all again.
    Remember as well, the 2 million pound job spent on Henry Street before that which dragged on for a couple of years. Was the finished artcle worth it? …especially that they took away the coordinating street bins.
    Regarding Grafton Street, maybe the paving and kinda kitsch retro street furniture should be just maintained. For it to get another ubiquitous grey paving with brushed metal additions makeover would remove it’s quirky kind of appearance. It looks good in the Summer too with the hanging baskets.
    Hard to imagine that cars once jammed this street with its narrow broken foothpaths

  • #784812

    Anonymous

    I’d prefer the existing scheme be retained; we’ve enough “grey paving + stainless steel fittings” type schemes around the city as it is. However, I agree that the white tiles are an absolute menace when wet and should be replaced with something with a safer surface. I nearly brained myself on them the other day.

  • #784813

    Anonymous

    Pia Bang out… 3 in… The very illustration of Graton St’s decline.

  • #784814

    admin
    Keymaster

    Totally agree that this is a metaphor for the streets change from quality products not available elsewhere aimed at a then small catchment say 10% of the population to one which is very mass market with goods at all prices.

    I have no problem with luxery goods moving off the street; I am sure that Pia Bang did her maths and realised that she could make money serving her customer base developed over 30 years at a lower rent than requiring a 200% or 300% uplift in sales to make a similar return.

    Take half the phoneshops out and prevent convenience stores going in and it is entirely likely that Grafton Street will re-balance. The ideal result would be that a quality offereing would spill over in places such as South King St and Clarendon St to diversify the offering.

    I definitely see a half full glass here with a little attention to paving repair vs replacement and some large anchors on the adjoining streets this area will re-emerge as the dominent location for Dubliners

  • #784815

    Anonymous

    Ironically Pia Bang is now more accessible on South Anne Street (or is it Duke Street?) than on bustling Grafton Street. It’s also more visible in this wider, less congested location, while still easily seen from Grafton Street. So virtually all the benefits of the principal thoroughfare – indeed it feeds off it like a leech – but rent slashed by a substantial percentage. Akin to wealthy familes moving to the suburbs in the 19th century – makes perfect financial sense.

    jimg wrote:
    I’d prefer the existing scheme be retained]

    Could not agree more. Grafton Street is almost defined by its warmth – this must be sustained with a new scheme. I made up a submission on this very point for the ACA and SPCA consultations but didn’t get it in in time 🙁
    We have enough white granite in the city – at least do something different this time round. Without question the paving does need to be renewed though, as seen in some pics here. Also the notorious garish winter light that pierces the street from the south could make things even more uncomfortable with bright granite paving lining the thoroughfare. And though historicist, the lampposts have an undoubted charm and ought to be retained, especially as many are original (though not to the street).

  • #784816

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT ACTS 2000-2006

    NOTICE OF PREPARATION OF SPECIAL PLANNING CONTROL SCHEME FOR THE GRAFTON STREET AND ENVIRONS

    ARCHITECTURAL CONSERVATION AREA.

    http://www.dublincity.ie/press_news/news/notice_of_preparation_of_special_planning_control_scheme_for_grafton_street_and_environs.asp

  • #784817

    Anonymous

    This looks welcome but late … is anything similar in place re O’Connell Street?

  • #784818

    Anonymous

    Also this, from yestrday’s Times:

    New rules to control shop types on Grafton Street
    Olivia Kelly

    New planning regulations to prevent “inappropriate” shops such as fast food outlets, mobile phone shops, discount outlets and sex shops opening on Dublin’s Grafton Street will be put out to public consultation today.

    The special planning control guidelines would stop particular enterprises from setting up in Grafton Street without planning permission and would make others “not permissible” on the city’s premier shopping street.

    The rules follow the designation of Grafton Street as an architectural conservation area last July. The designation served to protect the appearance of the street by specifying shopfront design and the material used in the maintenance of old buildings and in new developments.

    The new planning regulations bring the protection of the street a step further by controlling the type of shops permitted.

    Under existing regulations, the owner of a building could change its use from a clothes shop to a newsagents without reference to the council. However once the regulations are passed, this will no longer be allowed.

    The council wants to discourage “non-fashion or fashion-related uses” and will require pharmacies, souvenir shops, card shops, health food shops and cosmetic/ beauty retailers to apply for planning permission.

    However it has designated other shops as being “non-permissible” as they would “detract from the character of the street”. Included in a list of 14 banned businesses are bookmakers, amusement arcades, fast-food restaurants, estate agents, mobile phone shops, convenience shops, sex shops and travel agents.

    In its consultation document, the council has given examples of the types of businesses it considers “essential” to the street’s character. These include Brown Thomas department store, Weir and Sons jewellers and Bewley’s Cafe. These businesses are “major magnets” for the street, the council says, and it is a specific aim of the planning regulations to protect them.

    The council also hopes to maximise the use of buildings by suggesting specific uses for upper floors including restaurants, tailors, hairdressers and beauticians. It also hopes that residential units will be included in vacant upper floors.

    While the council cannot evict any existing undesirable retailers from the street, it hopes that they will gradually disappear as the quality of new businesses improves.

    © The Irish Times – January 10, 2007

  • #784819

    Anonymous

    All offset of course by the news that Treasury may kick Bewleys out of their site due to some legal disagreement. Couldn’t find the story on ireland.com but I definitely read it somewhere. I’ll keep lookin

    hurray here it is

    http://www.breakingnews.ie/archives/story.asp?j=252713153&p=z5z7y4xy6&n=252714096&archive=10/01/2007

  • #784820

    Anonymous

    The following Irish Times article was posted by Cobalt on February 8th 2006 (no date given for date of publication):

    Experts say special Grafton Street planning restrictions won’t work
    Gretchen Friemann

    Planning&Development: Special planning restrictions aimed at reversing the spread of mobile phone shops and convenience stores along Grafton Street are likely to backfire, according to a number of landlords and property experts.

    Two weeks ago Dublin City Council (DCC) proposed transforming the capital’s main shopping thoroughfare into an architectural conservation area (ACA) following mounting concerns over the street’s deteriorating character.

    The new planning designation will give the local authority strict control over what types of businesses can trade from the street and it’s expected that mobile phone shops, convenience stores and pharmacies will be among those retailers that are in future either limited or excluded from the prime shopping thoroughfare.

    But property experts claim such interference in the market is counter-productive.

    They argue that restricting certain retailers from acquiring leases simply “incentivises” the current undesirable occupiers to remain trading on the street and creates an unpredictable market dynamic.

    The fear is that under the ACA, leasehold values on certain properties will shoot through the roof making it harder for new, more attractive retailers to gain a foothold on the thoroughfare.

    For example, mobile phone companies pay top rents for their outlets but, if special planning restrictions limit their numbers, then their existing leaseholds become a scarce commodity. That means any retailer looking to buy-out the lease has to fork-out key money significantly above the going market rate. And, according to Stephen Murray, head of retail at Jones Lang LaSalle, “restricted” companies – like the mobile phone shops – could then be faced with “reverse premiums” if the leaseholds were impossible to sell at the adjusted value. In other words, the blacklisted retailer would have to pay another user to take over the terms of the lease if it wanted to exit the street.

    Murray argues that since few companies would agree to such a transaction, given the stratospheric rental terms they currently trade under, the ACA would “ironically be preserving” Grafton Street’s retail mix rather than enhancing it.

    However, Dick Gleeson, head of planning at Dublin City Council, maintains the special planning restrictions will improve the area’s appeal by offering easier access to certain retailers.

    Over the past few years supply constraints on Grafton Street have blocked the arrival of international fashion houses and Gleeson claims the ACA will ensure new traders are of a “quality and standard” that is appropriate for Ireland’s most famous shopping location.

    If the scheme is adopted as an amendment to the city development plan by the end of the year, as Dublin City Council hopes it will be, landlords and tenants will no longer be able to award a lease to the highest bidder.

    Instead the local authority will have the final say over what retailers can occupy Grafton Street.

    A list of “difficult users” will be compiled, identifying retailers that are banned from the thoroughfare and specifying other users that are only allowed in limited numbers.

    But, as property experts point out, Dublin City Council does not have a successful track record in controlling city centre retailing. Seven years ago the Ann Summers sex shop chain won its battle to open an outlet on O’Connell Street after it challenged the local authorities in the High Court.

    Some property experts argue the Grafton Street ACA could precipitate similar legal disputes.

    They also claim the mobile phone shops, convenience stores and pharmacies which have been at the centre of an increasingly bitter debate about Grafton Street’s tarnished image would have been flushed out by the forces of the free market.

    Hugh Linehan, head of property with Hibernian Investments, which owns six shops on the thoroughfare, insists the mobile phone outlets are temporary traders, more concerned with marketing than clocking up sales.

    “It’s difficult to imagine they can reconcile these high rents with the number of products they are selling. I think this is all about maintaining a high-profile image.”

    And he claims retailers, like the phone shops, will inevitably relocate as the demand for space increases from other users.

    Yet it is this constant churn that has most incensed local politicians and lobby groups, such as the Dublin City Business Organisation. They blame the institutional funds, which own large chunks of property along Grafton Street, for mismanaging the area and undermining its appeal to the general public.

    Over the past 12 months more than half a dozen shops have changed hands, most of them prompted by rent reviews where landlords have pushed for leases to increase to the latest Zone A benchmark.

    It is the highest churn rate in 20 years and has almost culled the street of indigenous retailers.

    However, Niall Gaffney, the investments director with IPUT, a property pension fund which owns five outlets on the thoroughfare, including the O2 Experience shop, insists Grafton Street’s problems could be solved by developing the surrounding area.

    “Henry Street really is stealing a march on Grafton Street at the moment because it has large-scale sites that can accommodate key tenants, like Arnotts and Roches Stores. So the most effective way to improve the retail mix on the southside is to offer more space and that means developing the large landbanks that surround Grafton Street.

    “They’re going some way to address this supply crunch with the South King Street and South Anne Street schemes but we need the local authorities to concentrate their efforts on encouraging more of these developments.”

    And he pointed out “you don’t attract big name retailers by slapping down ACAs. How many have moved into O’Connell Street as a result of similar planning restrictions? Henry Street proves the only way to attract these companies is by providing high-quality, large-scale units.”

  • #784821

    Anonymous

    John Graby of the RIAI wrote a piece on this very subject in the Sunday Tribune of 12 November entitled ‘Say “no more” to mobile phone shops in the city’. I have the cutting, but it doesn’t seem to be in their online content.

  • #784822

    admin
    Keymaster

    There are a lot of mobile phone shops on Grafton Street and it is very hard to believe that any opened recently; as the trend in other European Cities has definitely been consolidation within that setor as more and more phones are sold online. I think the main problem with mobile phone shops are that because they often pay such a massive premium rent that it is very difficult to assign them because no other retailer can justify the rental levels they often pay which combined with covenant strength makes them almost as permanent as the buildings they occupy.

    I think that a change in the rating system from a rate in the pound to one linked to rental level could make for an interesting scenario. Particularly if rates rebates were given for more disireable uses such as comparison retailing uses such as clothes and footware

  • #784823

    Anonymous

    @PVC King wrote:

    There are a lot of mobile phone shops on Grafton Street and it is very hard to believe that any opened recently

    3 opened in last few months, Vodafone moved to a bigger store at Stephen’s Green end of the street and Meteor opened last year I think

  • #784824

    Anonymous

    in my opinion marks and spencers are been allowed swallow up way too much of the street further lowering the retail mix available and they really just make a large stretch of the street kind of lifeless with the one entrance at one end and the rest just black shutters for most the time!!also i dont think they should be allowed close of grafton arcade just because they bought up all the surronding shops.

  • #784825

    Anonymous

    @archipimp wrote:

    in my opinion marks and spencers are been allowed swallow up way too much of the street further lowering the retail mix available and they really just make a large stretch of the street kind of lifeless with the one entrance at one end and the rest just black shutters for most the time!!also i dont think they should be allowed close of grafton arcade just because they bought up all the surronding shops.

    They’ve owned all the shops for years. They are planning to subsume the Grafton Street arcade into the rest of the shop.

  • #784826

    Anonymous

    Most of the mobile phone stores actually make very little money from their Grafton Street outlets, in fact I understand they even operate at a loss. They’re there for brand exposure more than anything else

  • #784827

    Anonymous

    I’ve been reading about some of the new tenants who have recently located on Grafton Street and am beginning to think that the street’s fortunes are finally changing. Although it’s been a long time coming, it appears that the street’s outrageous rents are finally forcing some of the more tacky retail chains to move elsewhere and allow more high-end shops, which can afford the rents, to enter the street.

    Over the past eight months or so we’ve seen the Serena store at the southern end of Grafton Street vacating its premises to be replaced by the Italian fashion chain Sisley, which forms part of the Benetton group. Principles has also left to be replaced by the more up market British fashion house Karen Millen. Jack Jones also left the street to be replaced by the expensive Austrian crystal and jewelry store Swarovski. And although Jigsaw was a fine tenant for the street, the news that it’s leaving its premises and will be replaced by the even more up market fashion label Ted Baker is no bad thing. And finally, the highly expensive London-based jewelry store Boodles also recently opened in the shop formerly occupied by middle-of-the-road British chain Suits You. News that Tommy Hilfiger is on the lookout for a premises on the street is also welcome.

    And although the tenants can hardly be regarded as up market, the news that both Zara and H&M are opening major stores in the new King Street complex beside the Gaiety is excellent news and a much needed boost for the street as well.

    However, I’m still amazed at how few topend, luxury fashion stores seem to want to open on Grafton Street, or indeed anywhere else in Dublin. I’m currently in Sydney and am amazed at how many Gucci, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Prada stores etc. are littered all over the city. Even when I was in Buenos Aires, which is still recovering from a major economic crisis which has left millions in the throng of poverty, there were dozens and dozens of luxury fashion stores everywhere. Also, the places where these stores are located are often on small, badly paved, litter strewn streets, with little class or sophistication that compare badly to the charm that Grafton Street and its surrounds still have, especially in the case of Sydney.

    Is it that we Irish simply don’t know good taste and therefore luxury brands know that they can’t afford to open here?

  • #784828

    Anonymous

    rent rent rent.

  • #784829

    admin
    Keymaster

    Agreed it is rental levels that prevent high end retailers from opening on Grafton Street as a business case block. However the terms of these retailers concession and or supply agreements with BT may also prevent them from opening rival operations in Dublin for a specified number of years. Luxery retail is also not such a clear cut thing as analysing the size of an abc1 income level and acheiving scale. In China only Chanel and Christian D’ior have made any real profits. For whatever reason many people will buy luxury goods in Paris or Milan but not Dublin or Edinburgh.

    Grafton Street has a long way to go to fulfill its potential.

  • #784830

    Anonymous

    Look at all the cars on Grafton St. Anyone know what year Grafton St became pedestrian only?

  • #784831

    admin
    Keymaster

    1984

  • #784832

    Anonymous

    Interesting that the pre-pedestrainised Grafton Street had no lampposts? At all? There were lamps hanging on building to building wires, like they have all over Europe even today. I prefer lampposts though.

  • #784833

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    that’s given me a real flashback to my childhood – i still remember walking down the narrow footpaths crammed with people

  • #784834

    Anonymous

    great photo.I forgot the buses used to run along the street

  • #784835

    Anonymous

    It’s odd how it looks like an English town high street, especially with those lamps suspended over the road 🙂
    Extensive antique granite paving too…

    The first picture of course shows the swan neck lampposts installed all over the city centre in around 1903, most of which were replaced in the 1930s with the famous concrete pillars, but it’s possible the swan necks survived on Grafton Street up until the 1960s.

    That picture also shows how elegant Brown Thomas’/Switzer’s main facade was with its original windows. Oddly for BT, today the facade looks terrible with dodgy Edwardian-like casements fitted with nasty mirror glass blindly reflecting back on the street.. The transparent, airy original one-over-ones make all the difference and should be reinstated.

  • #784836

    Anonymous

    it’s amazing that even with a dilapidated surface, and a multitude of gammy shopfronts, a pedestrianised street is still a million times more attractive than a trafficked one. Take note DCC when the City Centre Plan is on the table. Also DLRCoCo who believe that reintrducing traffic into Dun Laoghaire Main street will somehow bring the droves back from Dundrum to shop in that kip of a centre, and the various €1 and charity shops. Not the brightest sparks thems that works on Marine Road

  • #784837

    Anonymous

    Alonso, what is the ‘City Centre Plan’ to which you refer?

  • #784838

    Anonymous

    It’s the public transport only option for College Green and the whole Traffic Management regime for O’Connell Street. All aimed at reducing through traffic in the CIty Centre, and making life a little easier for us mere cyclists and pedestrians. It is also pretty necessary for LUAS Line BX, and pretty compromised by the Arnotts proposal with underground car park access from the footpath!!!

  • #784839

    Anonymous

    Thanks Alonso. I must have a look for some sort of draft version of it on the Dublin City Council website.

  • #784840

    Anonymous

    It’s not publicly available yet, but it’ll go to consultation this year. I just read about it in the press, and on some websites, including here i think. The Strategic Policy Committee for Transport had a meeting about it last month. No idea of the outcome, but I wouldn’t hold your breath… And it’ll be years after it’s implemented before it’s on dublincity.ie probably under motor tax, sanitation, or some menu for a department that doesn’t exist!

  • #784841

    Anonymous

    thanks again. Must say though that I am not completely oppossed to cars in city centres. Sometimes, and I really do mean sometimes, cars can add something to the centre of a city. In reality though, the car has been allowed to dominate for too long. What I would hate to see happen is for a whole area to become pedestrian friendly, but because of this areas not in this area become completely dominated by car traffic. If you see what I mean?

  • #784842

    Anonymous

    So the fears expressed previously by phil and others have come to pass- the new bins on Grafton Street (as seen on the threads for O’Connell Street and the Dame Street bunker) are now carrying advertising in the little panels on the front.

    I didn’t see the site notice for these ads, nor in fact the bikes that must surely be part of the deal… :rolleyes:

    I took a picture just now which I’ll post this evening.

    (Update: I seem to have misplaced the USB cable for my camera. Thank you for holding. We value your custom.)

  • #784843

    admin
    Keymaster

    They would probably be below the proscribed dimensions so would constitute exempt development

    There does however appear to be a wider commercialisation strategy at City level and there doesn’t appear to have been a lot of discussion on this which is a pity because a balanced regulatory regime on commercialisation would be a real win win scenario!!

  • #784844

    Anonymous

    Re point 1- yes, I was being a little facetious. 😮

    Re point 2- commercialisation by stealth is precisely my concern with this development.

    (Edited for spelling.)

  • #784845

    Anonymous

    As promised (taken on 20.vii.07):

  • #784846

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    nice traditional irish summer day i see

  • #784847

    Anonymous

    @PVC King wrote:

    They would probably be below the proscribed dimensions so would constitute exempt development

    PVC King, Ctesiphon, I first noticed these ads yesterday and thought they were fly-posters at first. Funny eh?

  • #784848

    Anonymous

    Tacky arent they? They started out with a sign saying “Litter Point” but I suppose the temptation to make a quick buck….

    Anyone go to the recent Open Day on Litter Management (I was sad enough to go! LOL) The Council are singing the praises of these new look bins.

    Another nail in the coffin of an attractive public realm

  • #784849

    Anonymous

    I don’t mind the design of the bins – in fact, I quite like them – but I have problems with their capacity, the number of them, their appropriateness in historic settings and their advertising potential.

    So, one out of five ain’t bad.

  • #784850

    Anonymous

    I understand from DCC that their capacity is higher than the old black units uses. I did mention it to the Area Manager about the march of these bins in streets where they aren’t suitable from a design view. And I commented on O’Connell Street where they are replacing the smart stainless steel version with these. I also intend on getting a life LOL

  • #784851

    Anonymous

    These bins are now cropping up with advertisements outside the GPO. What a farce.
    Forget regulating private property – DCC can’t even contain their own departments in an ACA/SPAC.

    It’s also notable that the bin model popping up in other areas like the Coombe is decidely more attractive than the yokes being imposed on the city centre,


    © Hartecast

    There’s no doubting the city centre model’s efficiency and ease of use on a fast-paced street, but I cannot agree on the quality of design – I think it’s awful. Nit-picky perhaps, but the bag should not be on display, and the gun metal is lifeless and drab. The casting of the bin also has an unpleasant plasticy quality that looks cheap and slapdash. The above one manages to improve on this aspect also.

  • #784852

    Anonymous

    @ctesiphon wrote:

    As promised (taken on 20.vii.07):

    These bins look good on Henry Street, now that they have replaced the black pastiche Victorian types.

    However they look crap on Graton Street now as they clash with the Disneyland old world style lamp-posts and paving.

    Also on O’Connell Street they don’t look as good as the plain steel cylinder bins that were initially placed there as part of the upgrade of the street and somewhat echoed the Spire.

    Why do the Councl keep getting it wrong!

  • #784853

    admin
    Keymaster

    they remind me of a key ring for some reason … I’d agree Graham that the Cork St. version is better, the problem is one size doesn’t fit all, why they saw fit to remove the IAP O’Connell St. bins is beyond me.

    I’ve noticed a fairly nasty third bin type that appears to be part of this scheme popping up in the DCC suburbs, you could slit your rist on the crude slot thats provided to insert the litter.

  • #784854

    Anonymous

    I have to say the bins look appaling. How or why the DCC chose these bins is beyond me. Yes, they may have a greater capacity than the bins they’re replacing, but they also look cheap and tacky. And I can’t believe they’ve decided to change the ones on O’Connell St. What was the need?

    Have all the bins on Grafton St. and O’Connell St. been replaced with these new bins? At least then we’d have some sort of uniforminty. The last time I was on Henry St. there were about three or four different types of bins lining the street and it all looked ridiculous.

  • #784855

    Anonymous

    Just a few of the O’Connell Street ones have been replaced, but just enough to upset the balance, and many of course right outside the GPO. This is very annoying, not only because of how awful they are, and the visual clutter created, but also because they’re replaced one of the few decent pieces of the street furniture that was introduced as part of the IAP. The brushed steel bins are so smart – they look great simply in their own right, whatever about actually serving a function. Indeed I’ve even seen a few people taking photographs of them.

    It’s also frustrating how the one-siize-fits-all approach is being rolled out across the city with these new yokes; by any logic the same model is not going to be suitable for all locations, let alone such a frumpy design as this. Again joined-up thinking given a back seat.

  • #784856

    Anonymous

    @grahamh wrote:

    Indeed I’ve even taken photographs of a few people taking photographs of them.

    Fixed. 😉

  • #784857

    Anonymous

    Having spent almost 12 months travelling abroad I had a stroll down Grafton Street today for the first time in as many months. I have to say I was highly impressed with the improvements relating to the quality of new shops on the street: Karen Millan, Sisley, TopMan, Ted Baker (soon), Swarovski Jewellers and Rocks Jewellers to name but a few. News today that Tommy Hilfigger is to open a large store on the street is to be welcomed as well. Of course, yet ANOTHER mobile phone shop (3 Ireland) had opened on the street, but you can’t have everything I guess?

    However, what struck me most were the understated, and often elegant designs of the shop fronts of all the new premises. Even many current retailers on the street, such as Next, Pamela Scott, Wallis, The Loft Cafe, The Bus Stop newsagents towards the south of the street, and Fitzpatrick’s shoes had all introduced new, sleek, and reasonably eye-pleasing shop front designs within the past year.

    I know the Grafton Street area was designated some sort of Architectural Conservation Area several months ago by the Council with a view to improving street and shop front design, as well as the street’s tenants. I’m glad to say that it appears to be working.

    What I was most disappointed with, however, was those awful new bins, I’d seen pictures of them on this thread already, but the pictures don’t seem to do justice to their horridness. While they JUST about fit in on Henry Street, they look absolutely disgusting and TOTALLY out of place in the Grafton Street and St. Stephen’s Green Area. They also seem to have been literally flung down randomly all over the city. And why in God’s name have they replaced the lovely silver ones on O’Connell Street? I really would love to know what the Council were thinking. Then again, they never do seem to think much do they?

  • #784858

    Anonymous

    I’ve seen a bunch of the O’Connell street brushed steel bins along the canal between Leeson street and Charlemont Luas stop. Anyone want to join me in the middle of the night to do a swap 😉

  • #784859

    Anonymous

    There’s been something of a planning soap opera recently, played out between Marks and Spencer and DCC regarding alterations to their store – specifically in relation to a (shock!) proposed pavilion storey and roof-top terrace.

    After submitting decidely inadequate plans and photomontages of the proposed development, M&S’s clients were then asked for Further Information, which was duly supplied and in turn found to be equally inadequate and indeed inaccurate. So a relatively unusual Clarification of Additional Information request was then made, and was replied to shortly afterwards. Even this was deemed by the case planner to be inaccurate in part, but was considered sufficient to assess the proposal and make a decision. It was passed, subject to a number of conditions.

    Personally I found it a thoroughly objectionable development as originally proposed, given it impacts on the single most important (and lets face it, the only half decent) view of Grafton Street, and what is largely the only vista in the city with a ‘continental’ feel to it, generated by none other than the Marks and Spencers premises.

    It looks and feels like it’s been plucked from the centre of Prague or a side street in St. Petersburg, and adds texture and visual interest to the thoroughfare with its distinctive rounded corner. For this monstrous pile of clutter to be dumped on top of its urn-peppered parapet would be devastating blow to the vernacular character of the street.

    The planner pretty much acknowledges this, claiming there are “a number of concerns with regard to the potential impact of the proposed additional accommodation on the streetscape of what is an ACA and protected structure. The supplied photomontages do indicate that there are a number of elements of the proposed development that would clearly be visible from street level. In particular, it is my opinion that the proposed north west corner of the building in the vicinity of the proposed terrace area has the potential to have a significantly negative impact on the streetscape due to excessive proximity to the parapet of the building thereby resulting in the potentially prominent views of the proposed extension above the existing parapet line… In summary, while glimpsed views are acceptable and unavoidable. it is considered that the overall visual impact of the development as currently proposed would be excessive and have a significant negative impact on the character and setting of the building and the general streetscape.”

    The conclusion went on to recommend a set back of four metres from the parapet which was later granted. What sort of impact this would have is unclear, nor is that of the proposed glazed balustrade and its location.

    The roof terrace, with sweeping views over the um, enchanting roofscape of Brown Thomas…

    Nice idea, but excessively intrusive as originally proposed at least.

  • #784860

    Anonymous

    I agree. I think the DCC should instruct them to set it back another 3 metres from the parapet. They can always put some parasols up there to account for the lost cover, at least they are not permanant.

  • #784861

    Anonymous

    The Christmas lights were switched on on Grafton street last night. The traders have forked out for new lights, they’re simply gorgeous, chandeliers stretching down the length of the street with sparkling white lights. Irish and non-Irish alike were snapping away with their cameras.

    The Henry street lights now look so tacky by comparison 🙂

  • #784862

    Anonymous

    Any of you photoshop pros want to photoshop in the new bins 😉

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjRFpmUmmZ0

  • #784863

    Anonymous

    I too agree, the new Christmas lighting scheme for Grafton Street is superb, and the use of Christmas greetings ‘as Gaeilge’ is a nice touch as well. However, it appears the Council could have paid a bit more attention to straightening some of the small candles which encircle each chandelier on the street. A few of them are quite crooked, and some are almost pointing in the wrong direction. A bit annoying, but only a small glitch I guess. A bit ironic, however, that the year the Council decides to go all glam with the Christmas decorations for arguably the country’s most stylish and fashionable street, is the same year the most tacky and awful-looking litter bins are dumped on the street as well.
    As I said last year, or maybe the year before, I’m actually quite a fan of the Christmas lighting on Henry Street. It’s a HUGE improvement on the lighting scheme that was being used up until recently, and is simple, understated and yet a bit funky. Henry Street, I think, will never have quite the same class as Grafton Street, so trying to copy Grafton Street’s very elegant and grandiose lighting scheme would be silly. Each lighting scheme complements its respective street I think.

  • #784864

    Anonymous

    snapping steel…

    not grafton st but close

    this was snapped then they took its brother too!
    now you would never know all in todays work…

    someone must of really hit this to snap it???

  • #784865

    Anonymous

    Nooooooo! Not a heritage lamppost!!!
    Why is it always the good ones, why?!

    *shakes fist*

    That’s crazy – it’s been sheared right off with what could only be an angle grinder or similar surely…

  • #784866

    Anonymous

    it’s a pity that whoever did that, didn’t take out that bin too

  • #784867

    Anonymous

    I was thinking exactly the same 😀

  • #784868

    Anonymous

    This street looks pretty awful for what its meant to be… any plans to repave it, like O Connell? Could it be done when metro works are taking place? Seems once they create this “plaza” at the top, it would look very odd unless they used the same nasty red (wtf?) crap.

    Cant find any pics to illustrate, but jeez… sure people know how bad it is in places.

  • #784869

    Anonymous

    Read in the Irish Times today that the keys were handed back to the owners of the ‘Habitat’ building on Suffolk St. Attempts to lure in a new trader have failed so far. The article suggested that some high end fashion names were put off because of the poor mix of retail in Grafton st. and the overall quality of the urban environment. The street has been going downhill for years and is in desperate need of upgrading – new paving is pretty much a basic requirement. As for the old ‘heritage’ lamps, black bollards & street furniture in general… please lets see something more contemporary next time around?

  • #784870

    Anonymous

    I disagree. Done properly, with well manufactured and well informed contextually ‘Dublin’ furniture and paving design, a so-called heritage look could work extremely well on Grafton Street. Far from it downgrading the street, being the only thoroughfare in the city centre with such a treatment would inject it with a new status.

    Barcelonaisation across the board is both as tiresome as it is as unimaginative as people tend to claim the historicist approach is.

  • #784871

    admin
    Keymaster

    I agree with Graham, chinese granite & stainless steel bollards should be out of the question for Grafton St.

  • #784872

    Anonymous

    And in fairness some of what’s there at present is of a good standard. Okay the globe heads a tad civic 80s improvement scheme-like, but still of good design and well proportioned. Merely giving these attractive pedestrian-scale standards, some of which may be original but most reproduction, a coat of dark green paint and elegant new lamps with glittering white halogen bulbs would transform the street. In this new era of cutbacks across the board, there is simply no need to go lavishing funds on an entire suite of modernist furniture for Grafton Street, complete with happy-clappy banner poles and other such notions. Obviously litter bins and signage will be required, and an appropriate paving scheme, but keep things simple and elegant.

    The problem is we’re used to appalling standards of reproduction in Dublin, ranging from the silver lampposts of the quays to the factory monsters capping the very icon of the city: the Ha’penny Bridge. Bizarrely, two perfectly lovely lanterns on the side elevation of City Hall have just been replaced with two more of these hideously manufactured tin cans, complete with CFL globe bulbs, making the side door of City Hall now bear more resemblance to a vulgar one-off in the countryside than the entrance to one of the most important attractions in the city. Really quite extraordinary how resources can be so misdirected, and to such ignorant effect.

  • #784873

    admin
    Keymaster

    and to be honest, the red paving isn’t the worst thing i’ve ever seen in my life. Ok so its a little garish but did inject some colour into a grey 1980’s Dublin and whether we like it or not, it has served to define Grafton St. and its environs as a distinct quarter in itself.

    Having said that, it is time for it to go – difficult to know what should replace it, perhaps a sandy coloured paver or some such. Any suggestions ?

  • #784874

    Anonymous

    Belfast City Council are undertaking a revamp of all the main shopping streets. They are using some lovely coloured flagstones set off with granite. Looks very smart.

  • #784875

    Anonymous

    Well, I’m still not convinced about the ‘heritage’ approach. For a street that is constantly touted as Dublin’s premier shopping quarter, the reality is that the public domain in Grafton Street is badly maintained with patchy paving and a mishmash of public furniture. The debate over the very poor choice of litter bins has been well aired in this forum. To me, the globe lighting and the flower baskets look is just a little too Victorian park for my liking. The red paving did look new and exciting in the dull 1980s but definitely time to stop patching it up and go for a more comprehensive overhaul.

    I’m not saying we need more chinese granite and steel furnishing – these are not the only choices available – and Grafton Street certainly deserves to have an image of its own. I’ve always thought that it would be great to get away from the central carriageway with a ‘pavement’ on either side which was adoped with the original paving scheme. I presume this was adopted because of the practicalities around deliveries but it would be great to see a scheme developed which was not so obviously based around the needs of motorised vehicles.

  • #784876

    Anonymous

    I agree….some creative use of the street would be great….maybe a pattern. I like the old lamps though….they suit the street very well I think. Absolutely no need for bollards through. Traffic guys are obsessed with them these days it seems

  • #784877

    Anonymous

    I admire the red bricks but I don’t know if they are suitable long term…
    pattern would be nice mabye for graftonplatz
    we can go further than 1700 into history it is possible…
    I would be against ordinary lamps

  • #784878

    Anonymous

    Yes the bollards are an obstruction on such a busy street and unduly cluttering. A particular nightmare at Christmas (though then a street to be avoided at all costs in any event).

    The perfect example of what we should have on Grafton Street is pictured below, currently hidden away on Kildare Place. A curiously grand installtion on the part of DCC.

    These beautiful lamps are sited atop typical Grafton Street posts of c. 1900. Also minus the ridiculous extension poles of Grafton Street, they are perfectly proportioned, and would look extremely gracious as proud upstanding specimens standing isolated on crisp new paving with no flower bakets hanging out of them. Iconic is not the word.

    The lamps are also ‘native’ to Dublin, being reproductions of the O’Connell Bridge and Grattan Bridge lamps of the 1870s and 1880s. Accurate, well-informed, contextual and thoroughly appropriate.

  • #784879

    Anonymous

    raise your hands in favour…
    and say I…

    approved by the archidail:D

  • #784880

    Anonymous

    NO!
    Perhps there should be a competition to design such lamps, because the standard issue “modern” stainless steel shite wont do it (agreed GrahamH) but this heritage stuff… I mean bloody hell, we’re not tring to dress the set of a period drama here, “contextual” or “appropriate” etc, does not mean it has to look the exact same as it did in 1870. What if we were to find an “accurate, well-informed, contextual and throughly appropriate” and contemporary piece (Appropriate to the fact that we’re in the 21st century). I find it hard to imagine my new hover car parked infront of a heritage lamp. I’m sorry GrahamH, I’m not trying to pick arguments with you, I just find myself with too much time on my hands this week.

  • #784881

    Anonymous

    What exactly is wrong with Chinese granite? The granite doesn’t know it’s Chinese. Half the cobble stones in Dublin are Welsh, but nobody goes round insulting them.

  • #784882

    Anonymous

    what about irish blue limestone…

    Material: Irish Limestone
    Architect: Foster & Partners
    Landscape Architects: Townshends

    In May 2001 More London Development awarded Stone Developments the supply contract for stonework, paving and landscaping at the More London project, one of the largest and most presgitious limestone based projects produced by the company. The completed project holds 30,000m2 of Flame Textured Irish Blue Limestone paving. In addition it includes heavy section Irish limestone for an amphitheatre (‘The Scoop’), balustrading, benches/seating, cladding and water features. The fourth and final phase of the project is due for completion in 2009.

    lets get a heavies in flame grilled;)

    which gets me thinking I only want 15,000 of the green stuff but 30 will do

  • #784883

    Anonymous

    It depends on the variety of granite, gunter. O’Connell Street’s (if even Chinese) is a particularly warm and textured version. The white finely grained type however stains very easily and looks very bland and washed out. City Hall plaza a prime example. Also a minor detail being its importation from the other side of the world, and from potentially dubious sources.

    spoil sport why do you always have to be such a spoil sport. Tsk. I’m not saying an historical style as an idiom is contextual and well-informed etc, I’m referring specifically to the above design, which in contrast to all the other repro rubbish around the city is actually accurate, of good design and informed by precedent.

    I don’t dispute a modern style would work well on Grafton Street, nor anywhere else for that matter. I’m saying it would be a personal preference for this particular street, be apt in its low-scale pedestrian context, and would continue the established style of the thoroughfare in a more informed and aesthetically pleasing fashion than what we currently have. You’re jumping to conclusions.

  • #784884

    Anonymous

    I can only draw conclusions from what is written….

  • #784885

    Anonymous

    spoil sport lets do a deal I have a better place for your competition lamps…

    metro north or the underground… ask the RPA or CIE

    I just want shamrock lamps around the green wink wink

    I’m trying to do a deal with Waterford crystal for exclusive rights:p
    but they have not got back to me…

    Have a go at the RPA CIE and see what response you get…

    its in moredublins interest

  • #784886

    admin
    Keymaster

    @dgf wrote:

    I’ve always thought that it would be great to get away from the central carriageway with a ‘pavement’ on either side which was adoped with the original paving scheme.

    I disagree, I think the current layout does a good job of regularising & elevating a street that is almost laneway like in parts. Agreed that the number of bollards & obstructions in general are not necessary.

  • #784887

    Anonymous

    Are there any firm plans to re-pave and upgrade Grafton St? I know it’s now an ACA…

  • #784888

    admin
    Keymaster

    No firm plans that i’m aware of but hopefully its somewhere on the radar in DCC. All side & related streets should be repaved also imo and any paving scheme should be extended to lower grafton st., as i said earlier the red paving does a good job of defining the entire area as a distinct city quarter, we shouldn’t loose that distinction.

    As an aside, not only is there a Dublin in California, but there is also a Grafton Street in Dublin, California ;).

  • #784889

    Anonymous

    Thanks Peter – agreed about also repaving the side streets and defining the area with a common brick. It was in very poor shape last time I was on the street.

  • #784890

    Anonymous

    Retail development just off grafton street and beside the Gaiety Theatre. One Clarendon Row due for completion before christmas 2008.

  • #784891

    Anonymous

    johnny a lot of these images are old?

  • #784892

    Anonymous

    ALRITE!!I didnt see it on other threads, so i just added.

  • #784893

    Anonymous

    …to a thread on Grafton Street. :rolleyes:

    Gaiety Centre.

  • #784894

    Anonymous

    Thanks:rolleyes::rolleyes:

  • #784895

    Anonymous

    And American Apparel is coming.
    Score!
    I am hooked on their hoodies.

  • #784896

    Anonymous

    ah jaysus

  • #784897

    Anonymous

    shamrock metro / missarchi-

    Cut it out.

  • #784898

    Anonymous
  • #784899

    Anonymous

    The Grafton Street Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) is already unravelling. Many people probably noticed the enormous scaffold that Brown Thomas had erected over their entire premises fronting Grafton Street for the past month or so. Given the enormous expense of erecting such a structure along with all of the lavish attendant cosmetic installations to ease the pain at ground level, it was naturally assumed BTs as one of the capital’s flagship stores was making a substantial investment in their tired upper elevations – i.e. reinstating the original windows, putting back the Victorian cornice and roofline that were mauled in the 90s and now so blatently evident from the renovated M&S across the road, as well as general service rationalisation works.

    What has just emerged however is a meagre wishy washy repainting job, but also crucially what is without question the installation of the most ignorant floodlighting job in the entire city. The principal Victorian facade has effectively been destroyed.

    This is absolutely appalling stuff, for any building, let alone a Protected Structure in an ACA.

    What individual in their right mind thought a fresh, pastelly, effeminate Victorian stucco facade could take ranks of projecting hulks of grey plastic without impacting on its architectural character?

    While crude cabling has just been tacked right across the brick facades.

    As for ground floor level. Classy.

    While other windows have been pockmarked with yet more intrusive units instead of linear strips concealed behind the sills. Suffice to say none of the hideous mirror glass has been removed either.

    And none of the original elegant fenestration of the main building has been reinstated, or its clunky 1990s bungalow roof structure altered to the original format with bracketed cornice.

    c. 1930

    Today

  • #784900

    Anonymous

    Also absolutely extraordinarily, Douglas Wallace’s exquisite egg-and-dart cornice of crisp Portuguese Moleanos limestone installed in the mid-1990s and until now part of arguably the best contemporary shopfront in the entire city has been painted over in gloss paint! 😮

    This is just plain madness. What is going on here!? There seems to have been not so much as an iota of input from a planner on this job, let alone a conservation architect. What an absolute disaster and a shameful waste of money.

    Critically, no planning permission was applied for for these works. Curiously however, in an instance of ‘minor’ development such as this, it is arguable that a Protected Structure in an ACA actually has less protection than than of a non-protected structure. As bizarre as this may sound, it is entirely possible, as a Protected Structure in an ACA just goes through the usual Protected Structure procedure of applying for a Declaration as to what is and what is not a permissible alteration. Effectively it is up to the opinion of a planner and/or contracted assessor to decide what would and would not materially alter the character of the structure. By contrast, a non-protected structure in an ACA has the precise protection of the development management policy set out in the ACA, which expressly stipulates examples of what would require planning permission such as in the case of Grafton Street: “The provision of lighting on the exteriors of structures” or “The attachment of any wires, cables or pipes to the front of any building.” Therefore it is entirely possible in this case that a planner or contracted individual compiling a Declaration issued a general blurb about the facade, while a planner rubber stamped the works for “ah only a bit of repainting and fitting of some lights to spruce the place up”. Arguably if it was non-protected the planner would/should have consulted the express provisions of the ACA and thus requested an application for permission for the installation of lighting. This is all assuming of course that BTs even contacted the planning authority at all.

    This exact same scenario occurred in respect of Irish Nationwide at the corner of O’Connell Bridge in the O’Connell Street ACA. No planning permission applied for and the facade was mauled with outrageously large lighting units. This simply has got to stop.

    This awful Brown Thomas job merely compounds the equally dreadful impact of M&S’s new rooftop restaurant across the road. Not only does the new structure and attendant railings clutter the roofscape of this once-charming early Victorian building, but the utterly preposterous array of umbrellas mounted along the terrace further consolidate the appalling vista now offered of Grafton Street from College Green. This entire scheme should never have been permitted and has ruined one of the premier views of a street anywhere in the city, least of all its flagship retail thoroughfare. Equally one of the most elegant and unique early retail buildings in Dublin with its fairytale parapet of parapet urns piercing the skyline has been wrecked. Simply appalling stuff across the board. So much for Protected Structure or ACA legislation. You’d find better use for them wrapping the chips of your hastily acquired McDonald’s further down the street, as to add insult to injury, the ‘restaurant’ is simply appalling.

    (To try and negate some of the negativity, the M&S renovation of the store itself has been spot on – an excellent example of sharp contemporary styling incorporating existing historic elements).

  • #784901

    Anonymous

    That is damn awful alright, is there anything that can be done to reduce the damage, remove lights and wiring etc? Or is it likely at all that anyone will even protest at planning level?

  • #784902

    Anonymous

    Developers seem to be forever pulling the balls outta these particular buildings on Grafton Street…..the last time was the Switzers – Brown Thomas – M&S changeover/makeover, which went on for ages!

  • #784903

    Anonymous

    did you notice which comapny did it?

  • #784904

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    what a fabulous building the old woolworths was

  • #784905

    Anonymous

    We cant go backwards of course but what strikes me most about the Cushman images is the uniformity and coherence of the streetscapes in 1961 and the lack of clutter. While certainly much of what we see might appear old fashioned now, everything from colour schemes to shopfronts to signage exudes calm and elegance. It makes you wonder just how much we have progressed.

  • #784906

    Anonymous

    The National Photographic Archive should seek to do an exhibition of these in conjunction with the Cushman estate, blowing them up 3 x 4 foot on the wall. Would look great.

  • #784907

    Anonymous

    @paul Clerkin wrote:

    what a fabulous building the old woolworths was
    http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/collections/cushman/full/P12284.jpg

    My god how Dublin has been raped..

  • #784908

    Anonymous

    Are there any architects offices on grafton st? what do their look like? can you see models from the street?

  • #784909

    admin
    Keymaster

    Are there any architects offices on grafton st? what do their look like? can you see models from the street?

    Do you ever have a point?

    We cant go backwards of course but what strikes me most about the Cushman images is the uniformity and coherence of the streetscapes in 1961 and the lack of clutter. While certainly much of what we see might appear old fashioned now, everything from colour schemes to shopfronts to signage exudes calm and elegance. It makes you wonder just how much we have progressed.

    I totally agree with your sentiments; I guess since that great rush to modernity in the 1960’s there have been a number of retailing trends which really upset the signage applecart built up organically over decades previously.

    From the 1970’s on and the introduction of metal lightboxes fronted by plastic signs the days of tasteful timber or stone shopfronts were always numbered unless the local authority adopted and enforced a smart signage policy.

    Ask all but the most prestigous retailers as to their signage preference and it is internally illuminated orange or yellow plastic as large as they can get away with. Sadly whilst Grafton Street has got better what is going on with Westmoreland and O’Connell Streets?

  • #784910

    Anonymous

    Mesmerizing reading through everyone’s opinions and sentiments. It always was and still is Dubliners favorite street to wander down when quiet and bustle along when busy. My focus is on what our overseas visitors (tourists) see when walking down Grafton street or any other main street in Dublin for that matter. On view is our heritage and our sense of pride in our surrounding.
    A great new developement is the new visitors street maps and guides posted over all those old electrical boxes.

  • #784911

    Anonymous

    Thank goodness those awful suspended sodium lamps never became that popular in Ireland – one of the worst British urban design influences of the 20th century. They make Grafton Street look like Belfast!

    I never knew the corner building on the corner with Chatham Street was in fact part of a pair – one of the best Victorian infills in the city. How grand they looked side by side. And how magnificent Woolworths looked indeed – a most unusually frothy design for Dublin.

    Thankfully the separate ownership of the northern end of the building, as evidenced above by a different paint colour on the farthermost bays – which apparently was built a little later than the adjoining four bays but in the same style – resulted in its survival. It can still be seen today, looking forlorn and distinctly overdressed on its ownio. Oddly, this building jumped out of the streetscape at me (metaphorically speaking) coming up Anne Street only the other week. Grafton Street narrows at this point, making it otherwise unnoticable.

    The rest of course was whacked for Woolworths in the late 1940s, in the store’s time-honoured UK post-war blitz style, and is now HMV.

  • #784912

    Anonymous

    1940s? You mean 60’s or 70’s surely.
    There has it has to be said been a fair bit of improvement to shopfronts along Grafton Street in recent times. All very contemporary and minimalist if a little uniform and bland.
    The public domain is dreadful though. It just struck me walking along this morning how bad the paving and street furniture has become. Its really shocking. It should surely be an urgent capital project for the city.

  • #784913

    Anonymous

    Try Grafton Street on crurtches in the rain…. gives you a whole new perspective on the paving. Those white ones are bastards

  • #784914

    Anonymous

    @alonso wrote:

    Try Grafton Street on crurtches in the rain…. gives you a whole new perspective on the paving. Those white ones are bastards

    Do you speak from experience?

  • #784915

    Anonymous

    indeed… the 5 pints may also have been a factor

  • #784916

    Anonymous

    @alonso wrote:

    indeed… the 5 pints may also have been a factor

    🙂

    …only 5 were you going home early!!!

    🙂

  • #784917

    Anonymous

    i thought publicising the true amount of booze coupled with the fact that i was on crutches may harm my reputation here.

  • #784918

    Anonymous

    I have always been wary of the white ones…

  • #784919

    Anonymous

    how well do you know dublin?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR2alFmp8JQ

  • #784920

    Anonymous

    @StephenC wrote:

    There has it has to be said been a fair bit of improvement to shopfronts along Grafton Street in recent times. All very contemporary and minimalist if a little uniform and bland.

    Seems to be true ! Look at this pic from the early ’80s:

  • #784921

    Anonymous

    The Grafton Street ‘Architectural Conservation Area’ is a joke. The owners of the Vodafone building at the top of the street have just installed a giant video billboard on their Georgian facade. It covers the entire first floor, obscuring the windows, and is brutally drilled into the beautiful red brick. A little bit of Piccadilly Circus on our own main street. Sorry I don’t have a photo – words can’t convey the horror.

    Does anyone know if the ACA is just a set of aspirational guidelines or can it actually be enforced?

  • #784922

    Anonymous

    Well, look at Westmoreland Street and ask yourself the same question paddyb.

    There is an apalling Griffins Londis / Subway also near the top of Grafton Street. It has just recently upped its lighting, signage and clutter .. it’s so bad it’s hard to believe.

  • #784923

    Anonymous

    Absolutely – it is just incredible what’s going on on the street. This southern end is getting more and more tawdry by the day, with vacant units, non-compliant convenience stores such as the above mentioned Griffins gougers, the aforementioned electronic billboard with a supporting industrial frame of I-beams drilled directly into the delicate handmade brick, full-length facade banners covering buildings, and a conglomeration of vulgar hand-held signs advertising everything from mobile phone unlocking and sunbed-tanning to discount takeaway foods. It just beggars belief. I’ve photos, but I can’t be bothered posting them.

    At least business interests are finally getting riled over the tawdry handheld signs – if only because they’re disrupting their own business concerns rather than the prestige of the street – which ought to be banned outright. Yes, they’ve been a tradition of Grafton Street going back to the 1960s, but they belong to a different era where planning of pedestrian flows wasn’t exactly on the radar. Of course no provision whatever was made for them in the ACA and SPCA, nor in the recent revision of O’Connell Street’s ACA for that matter. Though we’re lucky to even have the Grafton Street ACA given the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, as per their associates with respective ACAs in other towns in Ireland, actively lobbied against it. One despairs.

  • #784924

    admin
    Keymaster

    That is the first time I’ve ever heard you so negative. 😮

    What Dublin needs is a strong Dublin City Business Association offshoot that only serves the key Spine of Grafton Street, Westmoreland St, O’Connell St as far as the Spire, Henry Street and Mary Street based on the the New West End Company model in London that only serves Oxford St, Regent St and Bond Street. This area has outperformed the rest of the UK by c20% in sales growth in 2009.

    The penny clearly needs to drop that all the investment poured into the Street by the vast majority of retailers on these streets counts for nothing if the few discount operators who are abusing the system can act with impunity.

    Dublin is competition for visitors with a number of other cities and given the price matrix the Dublin retail offer needs to conducted in a setting that is superior to its competitors. The various state and local authorities can keep writing reports into to infinity on macro issues but make no mistake the competitor cities are not allowing the actions of a few shit goods retailers to destroy their prime retail pitches; the tax revenue that a sophisticated tourist brings is just too valuable to risk.

    Some small steps would be

    1. Create a Prime retail group made up of landlords, retailers, local government and Bord Failte

    2. Ban sandwich boards and leaflet distribution in stated areas.

    3. Conduct a Citry Council audit of signage for compliance

    4. Introduce penalties of up to €100,000 per sign for non-compliance

    5. Prosecute offenders and deploy the funds to environmental enhancement or legibility measures

    Visitors love the Dublin leisure offer and peoples attitudes but maximising revenue per visitor can only occur in the right environment

  • #784925

    Anonymous

    Anyone know what’s happening here on Sth Anne St? I had a sneak in on Deegans a few weeks ago, and there seemed to be loads of interior still to savour. And a couple of lovely single bays stuck in the middle too..

  • #784926

    Anonymous

    Hey Punchbowl,

    My understanding was that they were owned by the same company which refurbushed a number of buildings in the same terrace. Although, perhaps I am wrong there as if that was the case, then these would have been incorporated into said development.

    However, what I can definately tell you is that for the past 3-4 years the ground floor of “Deegans” or the slender building nextdoor was used as a site office/canteen for construction workers.

    C

  • #784927

    Anonymous

    Paddy McKillen and Ivor Fitzpatrick planned to do a scheme similiar to the Hackett to Guess? block but given the first phase has been a bit of a disaster and the duo have fallen out don’t know how realistic it is

  • #784928

    Anonymous

    @devin wrote:

    Seems to be true ! Look at this pic from the early ’80s:

    Very amusing picture. Might anyone have a contemporary one taken from the same angle to see a then and now comparison?

  • #784929

    Anonymous

    World’s biggest cultural metaphor to open store on Grafton Street:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/commercialproperty/2010/0519/1224270647144.html

  • #784930

    Anonymous

    I don’t know whether to post this here or in “Shopfront race to the bottom” thread but a bargain bookshop has recently opened its doors on what is our so-called premier shopping street. While I endorse cut-price bookshops (as an avid reader they make my habit easier to finance) I don’t think they belong on a street we should be building into an equal with Oxford St, 5th Avenue and the Champs Elysée etc. Furthermore, the actual shop sign is of the cut-price variety too. It looks like as if it is just a banner attached to the wall by string. It marks a new low for this erstwhile quality street.

  • #784931

    Anonymous

    @Cathal Dunne wrote:

    I don’t think they belong on a street we should be building into an equal with Oxford St, 5th Avenue and the Champs Elysée etc.

    5th Avenue and the Champs Elysée??

  • #784932

    Anonymous

    I cannot see the logic behind why Dunnes Stores refused to let their former premises to Disney, instead the street is loosing a high quality retailer (Laura Ashley). Or are they planning to move elsewhere in the locality?

  • #784933

    Anonymous

    @Cathal Dunne wrote:

    I don’t think they belong on a street we should be building into an equal with Oxford St, 5th Avenue and the Champs Elysée etc.

    I would say it’s already the equal of Oxford St. Have you been on the stretch of it between Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Circus? It’s just like Grafton Street but with traffic.

  • #784934

    admin
    Keymaster

    There is a reason for the decline of the East end of Oxford Street; approximately 50 – 80 shops have been CPO’d to be demolished for the delivery of Cross Rail from Dean Street to TCR These took place in late 2008 but that it was going to happen has been known for years. Consequently retailers won’t spend the c£500k it takes to fit out or refit and then the retailers leave to a location where they can refit. Landlords were left with an assortment of choices restricted to cheap rags and shit goods operators to choose from until they get paid via the CPO. Conversely most of the few national / International retailers that were lease bound have now moved further towards Oxford Circus which has helped that middle section dramatically. But until TfL take full possession of these repossessed properties it will ressemble Burnley on a bad day. Once the consortium led by Land Sec redevelop the mixed use TCR interchange it will be an altogether different proposition with a huge quantum of office workers adding to demand.

    Lauder you would have to guess that Dunnes are keeping the Grafton Street store as leverage in any negotiations they may have with Stephens Green SC; no doubt when they get the optimimum position from the centre they’ll instruct someone to get a new tenant for what is highly marketable space; that is assuming they don’t develop a new retail concept or buy an existing one leveraging tough retail conditions internationally; few retailers manage their cost base as effectively as DS.

    Laura Ashley are also restructuring their retail model; they are expanding Internationally but cutting back on the number of stores in their more mature markets. Recent UK research indicates that most retailers would be a lot more profitable if they stuck to the top 30-40 retail destinations and ditched the other say 100-500 shops they have. This theory if applied to the Irish market could see a dramatic rise in the demand for streets like Grafton Street, Hernry Street and Cork’s Patrick Street at the expense of towns such as say Kilkenny, Mullingar etc. What Grafton Street has to offer is that the stretch from Nassau Street to the Green is all more akin to South Molton Street than Oxford Street in terms of retail ambience and standard of retailer but has the reputation in the local market as the dominent retail choice.

  • #784935

    Anonymous

    M. I. C. – see ya real soon…..

    K. E. Y. – why? because we like you

    M. O. U. S. E. !!!!!

    Saaaaaad :p

  • #784936

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    What a fine shop front No.26 had at one time…

    http://two.archiseek.com/2010/1863-no-26-grafton-street-dublin/

  • #784937

    Anonymous

    Sorry but I don’t think we should be holding Oxford St up as something to try and replicate, it is perhaps the most unpleasant street I have ever encountered in a capital city, I would rather shop anywhere else. Busy, cluttered, dirty – the only reason it is a success is because most Londoners are addicted to clothes and can think of nothing else to do with their time and money than shop.

  • #784938

    Anonymous

    Known by most of you, but I thought I would post anyhow. From last week’s Sunday Tribune:

    Grafton Street pedestrian area set for €40m overhaul
    Project could include closing extra streets to road traffic
    Neil Callanan

    Grafton Street, long criticised for its shoddy look, is in line for a major revamp. Dublin City Council is set to spend up to €40m on new paving and street furniture for the pedestrianised street and surrounding area, according to sources, although the council was keen to stress last week the project was in its early stages.

    “A survey has been carried out on what works need to be done and we have met local businesses including the Dublin City Business Association to discuss the area,” a spokeswoman for the council said. She stressed that no figure had been set yet for the revamp of the street.

    Works are unlikely to begin until next year as the project will have to go through the planning process. Sources said the pedestrian upgrade would reach from Dawson Street to South William Street.

    The works would fit in with the new city development plan which is being drawn up at present.

    An amendment currently being proposed states that the council will explore “the extension of the pedestrian zone in the Grafton Area to include the creation of new pedestrian streets”. Among the streets being considered for pedestrianisation are South Anne Street, Duke Street, Clarendon Street and South William Street.

    September 26, 2010

  • #784939

    Anonymous

    Meanwhile there is a good degree of development for properties on the street in planning at the moment. I came across this one which has passed its public submissions deadline…

    3373/10

    I think the An Taisce submission is very well made. The large box penthouse with grill is likely to be quite unsightly. I havent looked at the floor plans but perhaps a circular penthouse might work and could even create a more attractive roof area.

  • #784940

    Anonymous

    Further along the street, another development seeking to maximise the shop area at a prominent corner location. The building is a mid 20th century brick building. The proposal include removing a lot of accumulated signage and clutter which is welcome.

    2707/10

    Its currently at CFI stage with no objectors.

  • #784941

    Anonymous

    A few others as well….mainly for new shopfronts.

  • #784942

    admin
    Keymaster

    I agree the application has both positives and negatives which the submission by Kevin Duff recognises in a very balanced manner. On the positive by adding more retail floorspace through the elimination of the Creation Arcade and replacement with better configured space. However the additional storey on top of the Burton Building is simply unacceptable and lets be honest won’t add any real value given slightly off prime office rents. To see what this would look like just stand on O’Connell Bridge looking South.

    I was shocked to see that Korkeys have placed a full height advertising shroud on the front facade of their Grafton Street Shop. It was embarrasing seeing tourists have their photos taken with a cheap plastic banner as a backdrop. For the avoidance of doubt Korkeys were offered very substantial sums to assign their lease by UK retailers trying to get onto the street 4-5 years ago; so his complaints are simply just his way of saying I should have taken the money; we all make investment decisions for good or bad but a retailer cannot be allowed to spoil the special character of the main shopping Street in the Country on a vendetta.

  • #784943

    Anonymous

    I spotted another development at the top end of the street at the weekend. This time its No.s 57 and 58, currently occupied by Richard Allan and Sisley. The Richard Allam store extends out onto South King Street and the plans allow for the amalgamation of the two units and a standardising of the floor space.

    http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=3810/10&backURL=%3Ca%20href=wphappcriteria.display?paSearchKey=1410834%3ESearch%20Criteria%3C/a%3E%20%3E%20%3Ca%20href='wphappsearchres.displayResultsURL?ResultID=1763858%26StartIndex=1%26SortOrder=APNID:asc%26DispResultsAs=WPHAPPSEARCHRES%26BackURL=%3Ca%20href=wphappcriteria.display?paSearchKey=1410834%3ESearch%20Criteria%3C/a%3E'%3ESearch%20Results%3C/a%3E

    Sorry for the length of the URL (blame the WYSIWYG)

    One small point from me is the proposed treatment to the facades of Nos. 57 and 58 which are currently painted brick. The plans provide for a rendering of the frontage which seems to me a shame. When viewed from halfway along the street this whole stretch of frontage looks rather bland given that both Dunnes Stores and the soon to arrive Disney Store are painted. I think stripping back to the brick frontage and cleaning up some of the ornamentation would have had a much more dramatic effect. Curiously, the Conservation Report accompanying the application, says nothing about the treatment of the facades, and the DCC Conservation Architect didn’t seem too perturbed either. Permission was granted before Christmas with a condition making amendments to the plans:

    2. Development shall not commence until revised plans, drawings and particulars showing the following amendments have been submitted to, and agreed in writing by the Planning Authority, and such works shall be fully implemented prior to the occupation of the buildings:- a) Details of the exact colours, materials and method of illumination of the signage of the proposed shopfronts to No.s 57 and 58 Grafton Street clearly showing compliance with the Dublin City Council Shopfront Design Guide. b) Details of the elevational treatment of No. 57 shall be submitted at a scale of 1.20including details of the materials to be used. The details shall have regard to its historical architectural context adjoining a protected structure and located within an ACA. c) The survey information shall be updated by a Conservation Architect, and the fabric/layout reviewed and re-submitted at stripping out/opening up stage. Where primary fabric is discovered the conservation strategy should be reviewed and re-submitted. d) Details of render, stone cills, copings and window details. e) Ground and first floor plans shall be revised to retain the vertical circulation route/stairway in the Protected Structure along the north party wall. f) Ground and first floor plans shall be revised to provide for a smaller opening between No. 57 & 58 Grafton Street having regard to the position of historic elements and fabric and the need to provide for its protection. Reason: To ensure that the integrity of this protected structure is maintained and that all works are carried out in accordance with best conservation practice.

    Its not fully clear but the planner seems to have gone with the proposed rendering. Its a shame because red brick is such a strong feature of Grafton Street and is used to very nice effect elsewhere on the street.

    Anyhow, what with a revamping of the public domain and a number of quite substantial developments its is clear that Grafton Street is likely to change significantly in the coming years.

  • #784944

    Anonymous

    Assuming the public domain revamp will go ahead!

    While the majority of this planning application is perfectly acceptable, it is quite clear this should have gone to further information. It is completely unacceptable that any building, especially that on the main shopping street of the city in a premier ACA, is proposed to be completely altered to its exterior with no architectural impact assessment or design rationale. Indeed, it appears Grafton Street elevation drawings were not even submitted as part of the application! Certainly they are not online, while details of rendering, reveals, sills, capping out etc are not mentioned by the planner. Has this information been provided?

    No information is available about the proposed new windows, about making good the ‘inelegant’ proportions of the opes as mentioned by the conservation report, nor any detailed description of the new shopfronts. There is far too much important information missing in this application to be ‘satisfactorily addressed by way of condition’.

    While I have no image to hand, No. 57 is the nastiest little building on Grafton Street – a cheap piece of brick-clad concrete infill in the idiom of its ugly 1980s colleague over on Upper O’Connell Street at the junction with Parnell Street. Not only does prominent site on Grafton Street’s most tawdry stretch demand design excellence, it arguably also requires an extra storey. Agreed with Stephen that more emphasis should have been placed on restoring the Protected Structure at No. 58 too, with the Council making efforts to stimulate action with the matching building of its pairing at No. 59. It is the lack of joined up thinking like this that makes you pull your hair out in this city. The stripping of brick on these two buildings would transform the entire southerly introduction to Grafton Street and help redefine this tatty quarter of the city.

    Half-baked proposals like this coming through and we’re applying for World Design Capital 2014. Good luck lads.

  • #784945

    Anonymous

    dear oh dear…grouchy!
    and on the sabbath

    The obvious candidates for an amalgamated unit are 58 and 59, given that they have common facades. A bit of a missed opportunity.

  • #784946

    Anonymous

    It is indeed, though the minor issue of ownership tends to dictate matters!

    It should be noted that recent applications for Grafton Street and O’Connell Street have been rigorously well assessed. It just seems this case doesn’t quite aspire to the high aspirations of the ACA.

  • #784947

    Anonymous

    Apologies if this has been brought up before, but does anybody else find the giant screen above Stephens Green Shopping Centre visually and audibly offensive. It seem to have got bigger recently, plus yazoo tv , I think, are now advertising to show anybody’s video for free on it. Who wants to see a stranger’s wonky mobile footage?

    To my mind, it a vast unwanted intrusion on a public space ? Surely it would need planning permission, and is not in keeping with a conservation area….

  • #784948

    Anonymous

    There is one on Henry Street as well at the O2 store, even more offensive than the one at the Green.

  • #784949

    Anonymous

    @pico wrote:

    Apologies if this has been brought up before, but does anybody else find the giant screen above Stephens Green Shopping Centre visually and audibly offensive. It seem to have got bigger recently, plus yazoo tv , I think, are now advertising to show anybody’s video for free on it. Who wants to see a stranger’s wonky mobile footage?

    To my mind, it a vast unwanted intrusion on a public space ? Surely it would need planning permission, and is not in keeping with a conservation area….

    I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I didn’t realise there was one. ditto Henry St.

    Maybe it’s a reflection of my downtrodden life that I must be constantly staring at my shoes

  • #784950

    Anonymous

    @wearnicehats wrote:

    I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I didn’t realise there was one. ditto Henry St.

    Maybe it’s a reflection of my downtrodden life that I must be constantly staring at my shoes

    wnh, rather than a reflection of your life, I think it shows how we just accept the increasing number of signs, notices, announcements everywhere. The output from the Stephen’s Green screen is so unintelligible that few pay it any attention.

    However, it continues to blast out it’s noise and pollute the environment, and it’s only benefit to be a financial gain for the leesor.

  • #784951

    Anonymous

    yeah i first stared at this as i tried to get out of town in the thick of the snow. spent ages waiting at the luas to be eventualy told it was not running, slowly eliminated my buses one by one.. and wondered why something like this wasn’t being used to post useful info lots of people needed at that time.

  • #784952

    admin
    Keymaster

    @pico wrote:

    and it’s only benefit to be a financial gain for the lessor.

    Spot on; there is no way that the display in any way contributes to the design of the building; if the building were a cliff of glass then fair enough; but it is a mock heritage facade which was not designed to incorporate a large format digital display. That the centre greedily packs in an arrangement of kiosks that destroy circulation quality and render the opportunities to install such a display effective internally was the designers choice back in the late 1980’s. To see where this media is done well look at the use of this media in the Trafford Centre foodcourt as featured in the Apprentice late last year; effective, communicates a message and bombards people with a series of messages whilst they eat; a captive audience in a privately owned internal space.

    wondered why something like this wasn’t being used to post useful info lots of people needed at that time.

    Because public information doesn’t contribute income. I don’t want to sound like a grumpy git; but the track record of Dublin City Council’s enforcement of signage from billboards to politically motivated cranks such as Korkey’s with an almost full building advertising shroud and now digital displays is not fit for purpose. I would ask DCC enforcement to view google street view of Oxford Circus in London; how much illegal signage and how many digital displays do you see?

    Now if legislation were passed that all income from illegal signage, displays etc were forfeited upon prosecution and fines levied can you really see any landowners engaging in this type of behaviour if they lost the income and had to pay fines and legal costs?

    You can do development plans, talk about about strategy, cut airport duty but if a city feels tacky then tourists won’t return, retailers won’t renew leases and you end up with secondary pitches of vacant and shuttered shops. Time to see some civic pride at council level………

  • #784953

    Anonymous

    Missed this

    From the Herald

    PLANS to repave the upmarket shopping mecca of Grafton Street are to be pushed through by the end of this year.

    Dublin City Council and the Dublin City Business Association (DCBA) are embarking on an extensive “vision statement” for the Grafton Street quarter.

    The last time the street was repaved was over 20 years ago — when iconic redbrick was laid as part of the Dublin millennium projects with a cost of IR£500,000.

    The extensive works are continuing despite a tightened budget in the council.

    However, its understood that a number of the projects in the scheme may have to be put on the backburner.

    “The vision statement will contain a number of improvement proposals including the repaving of Grafton Street, improved public lighting, street furniture and an improved environment and experience,” said a council spokesman.

    And this week, Dublin businesses are invited to provide their own thoughts.

    “So far approximately 450 views on what people like, don’t like or wish to improve have been taken through on-street surveys,” the spokesman said.

    “In addition the approx 1,500 business owners and residents in the area have been invited to workshops on Thursday and Friday to give their views.

    “Departments in Dublin City Council including planning and Development and Roads and Traffic will also give their views. There will be a wider public consultation following publication of the vision statement.”

    The repaving is expected to be carried out over three to four years to reduce the disturbance along the route.

    centenary
    DCBA chief executive Tom Coffey said the move could be a significant boost by attracting more tourists to the area.

    “There will be pain, but if these kind of projects are completed for the centenary of the 1916 Rising, then we can boost tourism and have a truly modern city,” he said.

    The repaving of Grafton Street will be included in a complete overhaul of the areas around George’s Street and Grafton Street, but the city’s most expensive thoroughfare may not be first on the list of streets to be done.

  • #784954

    Anonymous

    Any update on the dublin2walk scheme?

  • #784955

    Anonymous

    DCC are now finalising their plans for the Grafton Street Qtr. According to the council the first projects to be initiated will be a revamp of Fade Street where the Council will try out some of the surfaces and materials they intend using for the wider area. Next up will be Clarendon Street; the rationale here being that the space will be required to allow access to Grafton Street when it finally gets its revamp. Needless to say T21 works are the big stumbler for Grafton Street. First reviews of the plans look positive (although I have seen any myself)

    The Council’s Public Realm Strategy will be published in the coming weeks. This should give a sampler of whats on offer.

  • #784956

    Anonymous

    I hope they stick to red brick on Grafton.

  • #784957

    Anonymous

    I would prefer that they keep the footpaths and perhaps even the roads when pedestrianising the surrounding area, if only to give an idea of what the streetscape once one.. Would recobbling this area be a bad idea?

  • #784958

    Anonymous

    The Dublin2Walk scheme should definitely happen. That area is one of the best spots in Dublin and anything which makes the area better is positive. I think it might be a good idea to keep the streets as they are with cobbling replacing the asphalt and tarmac on the roads. It would create, along with Temple Bar, an “old city” feel to that part of Town.

  • #784959

    Anonymous

    Ultimately, get rid of the car parks.

    In the mean time, pedestrianise Exchequer/Wicklow/Clarendon Street, and slowly we can flush out the cockroaches (car park owners) to streets outside the Grafton area.


    Remove these bollards and give the entire street the granite treatment. Cars wanting to park in the outdated car parks will feel intimidated by the amount of pedestrians and eventually will avoid the area. (Well, we can dream)


    Why are there loading bays here? Get rid of them, and get rid of the bollards and other crap.


    Wicklow Street – what a waste. This road is here to serve BT’s car park. Pedestrianise it and force drivers to mingle slowly with the pedestrians.

    DCC need to grow a spine and stick it to these car parks. Move them out of the Grafton area and rezone. Easier said than done, I know, but we have to start somewhere.

  • #784960

    Anonymous

    The job on the old West’s premises seems to be nearing completion, for what it’s worth.


    a Graham ‘before’ pic from the ‘shopfronts’ thread


    today with the scaffolding down

    Their shield of green mesh was so dense that it was almost impossible to glimpse the works, but if you peered in with a zoom lens you could just about see that they had knocked off all the render and exposed the original red brickwork, which appeared to be in pretty good condition. . . . [I’d wager that Graham has got exactly that; good zoom images of the brickwork]


    the Grafton Street front with the original brick finish exposed behind the scaffolding mesh


    the Anne Street frontage again with the original brick finish peeping through the protective mesh

    Whatever about not making any effort to reinstate the two chimney stacks on the Anne Street facade, which remain the stumps that they’ve been for years, I don’t understand the concept of re-rendering the building after all the old render had been so painstakingly removed.

    This was built as a brick building, surely the render lessen its quality as a piece of streetscape, and surely it lessens its interest as one of the few remaining 18th century houses on the street. With its anonymous ‘period’ windows and painted facades, I think this is a missed opportunity . . . . and that’s before we even begin to look at the shopfront.

  • #784961

    Anonymous

    I agree gunter. Its incredible how anonymous the building now looks on the street…you’d hardly know its there. I’d wager though that by exposing and repointing the brick the building would have looked brilliant. A real missed opportunity, but not for the want of people telling the owner and city authorities.

  • #784962

    Anonymous

    The finished product is rubbish – a plastic, Disneyland, anywhere piece of ignorantly detailed crud that lowers the tone of Grafton Street as much as any parade of mobile phone shops. And that’s before the provincial heritage Monaghan shopfront c. 1994, currently in the making, is unveiled.

    Every conceivable effort was made with all stakeholders, including the Department of Environment, to make sure what has happened did not happen to this elegant vernacular Dublin street building. But it did.

    One can’t point fingers as to who is responsible for this travesty of a planning scenario, which raises considerable legal questions about the validity of the very foundation of Architectural Conservation Area legislation, but as ever in Dublin, the answer is so obvious, one need not even make the effort.

    What has happened here, on the capital’s ‘premier’ street, is quite simply outrageous.

  • #784963

    Anonymous

    The lost opportunity for Grafton Street of a correctly restored former West jewellers is heart-breaking. The ignorance of even the basic design of the city’s historic building stock, never mind its nuances, amongst property owners, occupiers and the planning authority, reaches nauseating proportions when a flagship building on Grafton Street can be treated in the manner that it has.

    Simply put, this hideously ignorant, expressionless lumpen mass…

    …could and should be this. A beautiful brick building with all the texture and mellowed sophistication of a two hundred year old handcrafted facade.

    As elegantly presented by Marks & Spencer further down the street. Indeed, the former West building would be even more elegant, with red brick elevations, fine wigged pointing, window reveals with subtle whispers of lime-feathered reveals, the potential for delicate tracery of late Georgian sashes, and a handsome shopfront with low, charming proportions. What we now have is a travesty in the context of the street’s Architectural Conservation Area designation, its prestige as the foremost shopping street of the city, and considering the amount of money spent for such spectacularly poor effect.

    As gunter mentioned, beautiful brickwork of c. 1800 with fine jointing was presented in virtually immaculate condition when the render was comprehensively stripped off the building during the summer. The planning drawings only specified ‘repair/replacement where necessary’.

    The brick had previously been painted, hence its good condition under the render.

    Once the quality of the brickwork was exposed, every conceivable effort was made by third parties to ensure its repair and exposure under ACA legislation, but every stroke fell on deaf ears. Simply put, when the planning and development section of the planning authority is not interested, statutory legislation is ignored.

    Likewise, pre-emptive warnings that all the historic windows in the building were going to be dumped, based on onserved precedent elsewhere, were also ignored. Therefore twelve historic sash windows, on Grafton Street, in 2011, were thrown in a skip. This is the level we’re functioning at in Dublin.

    The former elegant sashes.

    The new Disney sashes, which in no way accord with the original design, with double-glazed units, chunky timber members, inappropriate generic Victorian horns, and no less than plastic parting beads.

    Again, a reminder, Grafton Street, in 2011.

  • #784964

    Anonymous

    The original long, elegant proportions of the first floor window opes were also revealed in the course of works. This was probably visible inside prior to any works being undertaken. But again, ignored in favour of a tall and cumbersome new shopfront.

    Let’s not forget the painted granite window sills.

    Or the 1960s-revival slab reveals.

    Or the refined resolution of the quoins.

    The seamlessly subtle, unpainted joint with the adjacent brick facade.

    It should also be noted that, because the building was not a Protected Structure (it should have been), the entire structure was (legitimately) gutted in a matter of weeks. Nothing was left standing only the four walls tottering on steel beams and a corner column. The 1960s shopfront was also partially removed before planning permission was even granted for the external works. Again, the planning authority had no interest in pursuing anything. To stand on the street back in June, hearing the innards of the building collapsing down with multiple blows, floor by floor, through an unauthorised removed shopfront, while a planning permission in an ACA was being prepared with zero conservation input, was simply galling. And even more so when it was being carried out for a Dublin business that prides itself on its tradition and long-standing trading since 1916. Where has the merchant pride gone in Dublin? One truly despairs.

    The sole meagre consolation from the whole ordeal is that the building is worth substantially less than had the job been done properly.

    West RIP

  • #784965

    Anonymous

    The completed shop opened yesterday…

  • #784966

    Anonymous

    you sound impressed

  • #784967

    Anonymous

    Well…its a smart frontage but I cant help being disheartened about treatment of the upper levels and the inevitable gutting that took place inside. I wasn’t a great fan of the old West’s front. If you are heading down to view it take a look at the urban crime that is the vista down South Anne Street towards the Church. Unbelievable. How do we move on from this? How do we progress in this city? I’m stumped if I know..

  • #784968

    Anonymous

    Meanwhile, down the street Boots went from this:

    To this:

    And I felt sick.

  • #784969

    Anonymous

    Jez Louise, one can only imagine how you’ll feel when you see the plastic muck going up on the former Richard Allan store today. A hip new pop-up sports store don’t you know. Take one stone clad frontage, apply glue, apply plastic and they will come.

    The irony of DCC Architects touting their designs for this new upmarket Grafton Street Quarter while DCC planners stand by as it rots and a business community runs riot is shocking to see.

  • #784970

    Anonymous

    Aul Mr Brereton’s on Grafton Street…

  • #784971

    Anonymous

    New plastic muck on the former Richard Allan store, further south along the street. No planning permission for this of course.

    There is a permission in place to revamp and refurbish the store which extends out to South King Street.

  • #784972

    Anonymous

    Where do you start with the continuing proliferation of plastic on the street. The decline of Grafton Street over the past 24 months has been stark. It must be said that use has held up…there are very few vacant units on the street. However a development free-for-all seems to have taken hold, all the more marked when one considers the major DCC plans for the area as an upmarket shopping street (Grafton Quarter) and of course the now ignored ACA and Special Planning Control Scheme.

    Leaving aside the poor quality paving and lighting, which everyone would agree requires updating, the street’s quality is greatly diminished by the sheer amount of signage and clutter being added to buildings, from plastic fascias, to projecting signs, to banners and flags. Secondary street’s such as South Anne Street and Duke Street fair just as badly, if not worse…

  • #784973

    Anonymous

    You’d be tripping over these guys as well…must have counted 20+ sandwich boards and finger signs

  • #784974

    Anonymous

    Grafton Street is now such a kip that I refuse to walk it anymore. It is baffling how a prestigious street, initially brought down with lower order uses such as mobile phone chains and the loss of specialist shops – and long acknowledged as such by everyone, even including the moronic Irish media – is now entering complete freefall in how the place is presented and the quality of the uses pervading. Once one passes the manicured, if somewhat plasticised, elevations of Brown Thomas, the street presents all the qualities of the main drag of a third rate London suburb – ten years ago.

    Is it any wonder major international retailers will not touch Grafton Street with a bargepole. Certainly, if I saw potential in the Irish market for my brand, I would be over to grand and elegant Henry Street in a flash. Or imperious and spacious O’Connell Street, or parts of Dawson Street at a push. Grotty, grubby, garish Grafton Street is now a badge of destruction – not distinction – for any quality retailer and is to be avoided at all costs. The non-existent planning enforcement is shocking, but equally, these myriad crude interventions reflect the mediocre business culture on the street, where many owners and occupiers want investment from DCC handed to them on a plate when they don’t even know their own brand or the type of quality environment their customers want. The amount of plastic windows, signage, awful shopfronts, banners, postering, finger signs and speaker music all indicate an absentee landlordisim – much of it pension fund generated – and a business class of occupiers that just don’t recognise the urban quality of what they could have.

    But yes, the lack of proactive implemention of any planning tools at DCC’s disposal is the greatest problem on our hands. Their carelessness and mismanagement of this thoroughfare is really quite shocking and at this stage they should be held to account by the Department of Environment. Likewise, the implementation of their own policies – as with the protection of shopfronts such as Boots, highlighted by Service charge above. The painting of this, one of the last polished timber shopfronts in Dublin, containing a number of historic elements, was granted late last year.

    Giving us this delight from Bromley high street.

    Elegant reticence of an old lady…

    …transformed into utter mediocrity, on a Protected Structure, in an ACA on the city’s ‘premier’ street.

    At least the polished granite plinth still survives.

    Also the glazing bars before they were painted.

    The delightful timber signage with gold lettering has now been replaced with plastic. DCC quality control alive and well as ever.

    In honesty, I’d sooner see a million quid spent on some decent large concrete slab paving for the street and the other seven million plus for the bells and whistles regeneration be redirected into a fund to clean up the street’s buildings. It ain’t gonna happen otherwise.

  • #784975

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    What date does that shopfront hail from? Just out of interest.

  • #784976

    Anonymous

    Yes Paul, a question that’s often pondered about. It’s an interesting amalgam of what appears to be an Edwardian shopfront layered over with pretty convincing 1980s elements – though I’m sure others will have a clearer recollection of when the more recent layers were added. The shimmering imitation vitrolite is not without its charms – I imagine it was installed at the same time. The rather floating nature of the pilasters strongly suggests there may be original fabric behind. I’ve picked and poked at the sides to no avail, but there does seem to be something lurking in there.

    What is particularly unique about this building is how the ground floor actually protrudes right out into the street, taking advantage of the kink in the building line. It’s a delightful feature, reminicent of Georgian and Victorian retailing modifications to older townhouses – of which there are now so few examples left in the city.

  • #784977

    Anonymous

    From RTE:

    A €4m upgrade of Dublin’s Grafton Street is planned to start early next year.
    City councillors agreed this evening to begin the process for tenders to be ready for September.
    This evening’s monthly meeting heard that the current paving for the pedestrianised street was laid in the 1980s and now has to be repaired daily.
    A report presented to councillors states that the new paving would be the same grey granite that is in Henry Street.
    There would also be a dark grey way finding path along one side with sections in pink to highlight intersections and points of interest.
    The work would take about a year to complete and be phased so disruption is minimised.
    A special information meeting for councillors will be held within two weeks.

  • #784978

    Anonymous

    The new paving should be “calm and understated in nature” the council says. The background colour will be a mid-grey with a “way-finding path” of dark grey stone off the central roadway on one side to provide an obstruction-free route along the street.

    Street junctions will be marked along the street with a light pink granite square set into a darker orange apron. Entrances to small side streets are marked with cyan granite threshold paving and the shopfronts will be edged with a margin of pink granite setts.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0306/1224312850751.html

  • #784979

    Anonymous

    There is no room for a botched job here. What happened to the notion of testing various paving schemes on minor adjoining streets?

    a “way-finding path” of dark grey stone off the central roadway on one side to provide an obstruction-free route along the street.

    The existing layout does a good job of regularising what is a fairly haphazzard street line.

    This sounds as if the primary visual guide delineated by darker paving will be for vehicular traffic, and worse, set to one side. This is a street for pedestrians and the pedestrian should be the sole focus of any new paving scheme.

    @grahamh wrote:

    Grafton Street is now such a kip that I refuse to walk it anymore.

    Can’t believe what they have done to the Boots frontage, and that permission was actually granted.

  • #784980

    Anonymous

    I look forward to seeing the scheme…including details such as lighting and street furniture. In essence was is proposed from the description is a similar scheme to Henry Street which uses mid grey granite offset with pink stone and a cobble sett effect to frame entrances. I generally like the Henry Street scheme although it had its problems. The original bollards being the main issue….nasty little things that were soon being removed and discarded. There are some still in place I think but they look awful. The stainless steel (we do our own thing) bollards outside Debenhams (then Roches Stores) arent much better and completely redundant on a pedestrianised street. Still this is Dublin and here the bollards rule.

    Back to the Grafton Street design…the scheme has been completed for a while now because it was shown to DCBA a few months back. The plan then was to complete temp works to Clarendon Street (with an awful painted on scheme) to allow greater numbers to walk that street while Grafton was dug up. I understood from a presentation about 2 months back that the Clarendon works were imminent. Don’t hold your breath on this one though…remember that Fade Street is part of this DCC ‘vision’ for the area.

    Coverage of the story in Irish Times:

    Grafton St repaving in pink and grey to cost €2.5m
    OLIVIA KELLY

    DUBLIN’S PRINCIPAL shopping street, Grafton Street, is to be repaved in grey and pink granite by Dublin City Council at a cost of approximately €2.5 million.

    The work, which will see the surface of the entire street dug up and the existing red-brick paving removed, is expected to take about a year to complete. It is due to get under way next January.

    The council says the Eurobrick paving, which was laid on the pedestrianised street in the mid- 1980s, has deteriorated badly to the point where it requires repair on an almost daily basis.

    “The replacement of its existing paving material is an imperative for the street and the city,” councillors were told last night.

    The work will involve the removal of the existing pavement for the length of the street from the junction of Nassau Street and Suffolk Street, just in front of the Molly Malone Statue, to St Stephen’s Green North. The paving will be stripped back to the building line at each side of the street. All “street furniture” such as bins, bollards and poles will be removed and replaced.

    The new paving should be “calm and understated in nature” the council says. The background colour will be a mid-grey with a “way-finding path” of dark grey stone off the central roadway on one side to provide an obstruction-free route along the street.

    Street junctions will be marked along the street with a light pink granite square set into a darker pink apron. Entrances to small side streets are marked with pink granite threshold paving and the shopfronts will be edged with a margin of pink granite setts.

    Councillors last night approved the initiation of the plans but raised concerns that the works would have a serious impact on the use of the street.

    The work will be undertaken on a phased basis to minimise disruption for businesses, the council says. The new paving and street furniture will also provide protection to existing private under-street cellars from the weight of delivery vehicles and will allow for street maintenance by mechanised street-cleaning vehicles.

    The work is to be the first in a series of improvements for the area which the council has dubbed the Grafton Street quarter.

    The council plans to spend a further €9.5 million by the end of 2014 on improvements to other streets surrounding Grafton Street. Plans for the repaving come more than five years after the council designated Grafton Street as an architectural conservation area.

    The designation serves to protect the appearance of the street by specifying shopfront design and the material used in the maintenance of old buildings and in new developments.

  • #784981

    Anonymous
  • #784982

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    [attachment=1:iygeliz6]422807_306193652777873_100001617226452_806248_1672915804_n.jpg[/attachment:iygeliz6]
    Graham – Grafton St. c.1922

    [attachment=0:iygeliz6]boots.jpg[/attachment:iygeliz6]
    And the shopfront as then

  • #784983

    Anonymous

    @StephenC wrote:

    I look forward to seeing the scheme…including details such as lighting and street furniture. In essence was is proposed from the description is a similar scheme to Henry Street which uses mid grey granite offset with pink stone and a cobble sett effect to frame entrances. I generally like the Henry Street scheme although it had its problems.

    Not a fan of the Henry Street scheme. This is not fucking China!

    What’s wrong with a bit of Kilkenny Limestone?

  • #784984

    Anonymous

    It’s interesting that the press release about the Grafton Street Area redevelopment harps on about improved and ‘matching’ street furniture like bins and lamposts etc. Isn’t that what was originally promised and done for Henry Street and O’Connell Street before it was all chipped away at during the years after those streets’ redevelopments?

    But just why did DCC replace the modern-looking stylish steel bins on Henry Street and O’Connell Street after their redevelopment? It really bugs me as I think those bins were way nicer that the ones currently on the street. Anyone know?

  • #784985

    Anonymous

    One of life’s eternal mysteries, Daragh…

    Interesting photograph there, Paul. It appears to show the same glazed shopfront with curved glass and granite plinth, but different pilasters and fascia.

    And sure enough, when you do a bit of crawling, a nice bit of matching pink granite exposes itself beneath the modern timber pilasters.

    Viewed head-on, you can see how the shopfront clearly projects out into the street in a skewed fashion.

    The building in late 2011 before the shopfront was mauled.

    We mustn’t forget that the Boots building is also one of the oldest on Grafton Street, and was probably gable-fronted originally. Here it is in Shaw’s Pictorial Directory of 1850, showing a squat little attic storey of apparent Regency vintage that almost certainly replaced a gable storey. A projecting closet return remains to the rear, while the chopped-out early 18th century chimneystack and replacement supporting decorative column can still be observed inside the shop, now surrounded by delightful frothy plasterwork.

    A wonderful tell tale indicator of the building’s former gable-fronted status is this beautifully ornate hopper that remains stranded, swamped by the stucco of the facade, a considerable distance down from the new parapet valley.

    One would like to think of it as original to the construction of the house and hence one of the oldest surviving in the city, but it does appear to be 19th century cast-iron, complete with lettering of some kind. A niave little face also adorns the collar.

    The figure at first floor level, presumably Hygieia wth serpent, can just about be made out in Paul’s earlier picture.

  • #784986

    Anonymous

    As much as I dislike it, surely Boots are simply following the trend. I mean, why should they retain a respectable shopfront when everyone else on the street isn’t?

  • #784987

    Anonymous

    Any plans on-line detailing proposed new paving scheme / layout?

  • #784988

    Anonymous

    Gosh, this thread would bring you back down after enjoying all the lovely sunny weather. While the above commenters are certainly right that some premises have deteriorated (particularly Boots, it’s shocking that they’ve been let ruin that beautiful old-fashioned shop front with that plasticised mess) there are still places on Grafton Street which recognise that they are on the premier shopping street of Ireland’s premier city. Swarovski, Bewley’s, Brown Thomas, Weir and Sons, Tommy Hilfiger, M&S, McDonalds and the Disney Shop would be examples of better stewards than the ones mentioned above. So while there are problems with Grafton St. such as cracked paving, a proliferation of gaudy signage and a lack of general will to maintain standards, those standards are still there and Grafton Street, especially in frosty December with the lights aglow, still has the power to sparkle.

  • #784989

    Anonymous

    I don’t think anyone would disagree with you Cathal. Its because so many can see the potential of the street and are concerned at how the falling standards of some affect the overall quality for everyone that we moan. 🙂

    I wandered about Dublin yesterday and it was fab, in the sunshine you could be in the prettiest Continental city. The red brick and huge windows about the squares looked gorgeous in the afternoon light. The parks looked beautiful with spring planting and people enjoying themselves. The buzz about South William Street and Clarendon Street with cafes and streetlife was a real tonic.

  • #784990

    Anonymous

    The proposals for Grafton Street have been submitted for planning permission today. I cant find anything on the DCC website…probably be a few days. The notice details repaving and replacement of street furniture (which I imagine means goodbye to Dublin cast irons and hello catalogue).

  • #784991

    Anonymous

    I emailed DCC asking for photomontages of the Grafton Street proposals. DENIED.

    I guess we’ll have to wait for the vague, black and white photocopies that they stick up on their site.

    I’m a bit concerned about this:

    The background colour will be a mid-grey with a “way-finding path” of dark grey stone off the central roadway on one side to provide an obstruction-free route along the street.

    Does that mean that there will be a marked roadway through the street? If so, wouldn’t that transform the entire experience of the street from being exclusively pedestrian to a shared roadway? Pedestrians will be subconsciously aware that the street is for also for traffic. Not good.

    Are we going to end up with something like Fail Street in Stephen’s pic?

    I have zero faith in DCC.

  • #784992

    Anonymous

    @morlan wrote:

    Does that mean that there will be a marked roadway through the street? If so, wouldn’t that transform the entire experience of the street from being exclusively pedestrian to a shared roadway? Pedestrians will be subconsciously aware that the street is for also for traffic. Not good.

    I have major issues with this.

    This sounds as if the primary visual guide delineated by darker paving will be for vehicular traffic, and worse, set to one side. This is a street for pedestrians and the pedestrian should be the sole focus of any new paving scheme.

  • #784993

    Anonymous

    Firstly might be best to wait until the plans can be viewed. The Part 8 plans were lodged yesterday and are on view until June 6th. I assume all will be on the DCC website next week. Another outlet for the plans might be here http://www.dublincityarchitects.ie/

    I think you are both reading too much into the architects design speak on this. I haven’t heard anything to suggest that a shared roadway is envisaged or that the pedestrian nature of the street is to change. In face, if anything the trend seems to be for more pedestrianised streets in the area.

    I think the architect is taking about differentiated pavements to guide pedestrian flows along the street. I think an example of what will happen on Grafton Street can already be found on Henry Street. Indeed the media story a few weeks back suggested that the ‘look’ of the street would be changed to match O’Connell and Henry Streets.

  • #784994

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    As it stands right now, there is a vehicular traffic route down Grafton Street, just delineated by the lamp standards and rubbish bins rather than paving.

  • #784995

    Anonymous

    I think you are both reading too much into the architects design speak on this. I haven’t heard anything to suggest that a shared roadway is envisaged or that the pedestrian nature of the street is to change. In face, if anything the trend seems to be for more pedestrianised streets in the area.

    Perhaps Stephen – will have to wait & see.

    The background colour will be a mid-grey with a “way-finding path” of dark grey stone off the central roadway on one side to provide an obstruction-free route along the street.

    Difficult to reconcile this ‘way finding path’ business, however.

    For me the Henry Street scheme is forgettable, and the general homogenisation of our entire public realm with Chinese granite, regrettable.

    Gone are the nuances that define and characterise various pockets of the city.

    Dyed ‘red’ concrete brick should never really have worked on Grafton Street, but it did. It defined and lifted the entire south city quarter. Sure, it is now time for it to go, but Grafton Street is in need of more than just another granite job. Using Irish stone would be a start.

  • #784996

    Anonymous

    I fear you may be disappointed by what’s planned Peter

  • #784997

    Anonymous

    hmmm…probably.

  • #784998

    Anonymous
  • #784999

    Anonymous

    Well gee whizz..I just couldnt contain myself and ventured into the Civic Offices to see what is planned for myself.

    So what do we get…after a 2 year design project, after the Designing Dublin initaive to redefine the area as a Grafton Street Quarter full of interesting new uses and ideas…

    What’s on offer is a bog standard public realm scheme. The proposed layout more or less mirrors what exists now. A central carriageway flanked by two smaller pavement areas deliniated by line of bollards, lampstandards and bins. The proposal is NOT to allow for greater car use on Grafton Street. As I thought, the confusion created in earlier posts is a result of the architects description of the scheme.

    Materials-wise the paving will mirror that used on Henry Street and O’Connell Street…leaning more to Henry Street. The majority is a mid-grey granite. The wayfinding path along one side of the street (which looks a big crappy in the plan layout) comprises the small tactile cobbles also found on Henry Street (the forecourts to most shops) and is intended to guide sight impaired people along the street. The various junctions along the street are denoted by square expanses of pink granite (again similar to that on Henry Street),

    Bollards, lighting etc is positioned to ensure that heavy vehicles dont damage the pavement over cellars (its the same arrangement as now). The materials here are contemporary and while the design brief speaks of ‘reflecting the unique design qualities of Grafton Street’ (Im paraphrasing ), the street furniture is catelogue stuff similar to what you find on O’connell Street

  • #785000

    Anonymous

    I also noted in the application that a Masterplan has been prepared for the whole area from Dawson Street to South Great Georges Street – and a small image of it is included. North St Stephen’s Green, Dawson Street and Lower Grafton Street are all top be dealt with by the Luas BXD works. The remaining streets will be gradually resurfaced over a period in similar materials. There doesnt appear to be any major rethinking of the layout of the area (as lobbied for). Curriously, South King Street is omitted from improvements…we can leave that defunct water feature in place for a while longer.

    The Masterplan is not available to view anywwhere.

  • #785001

    Anonymous

    An interesting article in light of Grafton Street seeking ‘reinvention’

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/apr/28/high-streets?CMP=twt_gu

  • #785002

    Anonymous

    Still no sign of plans and drawings on the DCC website. Nothing about the designs in the media. :thumbdown:

  • #785003

    Anonymous

    Shockingly the documents are STILL not up on the DCC website. Here are the details courtesy of Dublin City Business Association http://www.dcba.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Part-8-Explanatory-Booklet-Reduced.pdf

  • #785004

    Anonymous

    yick.

  • #785005

    Anonymous

    Almost a full month since this plan went public and STILL no sign on the DCC website. One can only but draw their own conclusions. It is also remarkable that for a scheme as significant as this, a general public presentation has not been conducted by DCC officials other than those made to private business groups and traders on the street.

    The above, coupled with what is apparent in the plan, confirms how this scheme seems to have plummeted down the priority list in DCC, where the repaving now appears to be being carried out with the minimum of fuss, design complexity and general public engagement. As much as these areas generally went OTT during the boom years, this is not a good thing and it is highly regrettable, not to mention disconcerting, that the reordering of the so-called premier street in the State is generating zero public or media comment. What’s going on?

    I imagine the above document is all that is on display in hard copy format, as Part 8 is a self-contained statutory document, in which case the plan is sorely thin on detail and virtually impossible to make an informed public comment on its specifics. Having studied it for half an hour or so, it is very difficult to get a sense of how the paving will work in reality, with no photomontages of a clear or relatively empty street. An enlarged plan section of paving is also required to accurately assess the mix of materials.

    A few observations:

    The most important of all: where is this granite being sourced? A very deliberate exclusion of this critical point from the plans is apparent, as nobody wants to talk about the giant Indian elephant sitting over in the corner. Having been exhaustively highlighted in the Historic Street Surfaces Workshop recently run by DCC, there is no excuse – either through procurement rules, ability to supply, or cost – for Irish stone to be discarded in favour of imported material. If we cannot pave our main shopping street in our own native materials, which we otherwise export by the bucketload, then might as well give up on a quality city here and now, and use the upcoming Public Realm Strategy as delightfully colourful lavatory paper.

    The use of pink granite to denote street junctions is a tried and tested solution, but it is a predictable concept and far too similar to Henry Street in approach. The paving pattern at these junctions, comprised of square slabs, I also find repetitive and jarring, and evocative of cheap 1960s system cladding.

    The complex, dense pattern of the proposed base granite is robust and elegant.

    The ‘wayfinding path’ is much less prominent that people probably imagined – more like an irritating dribble than a full-on stain.

    There is far too much street clutter by way of bollards, bins and lamps. While the bollards are essential to prevent incursions by vehicles into the cellar zones, the proposed litter bins should be capable of acting as bollards in themselves and be regularly spaced within the bollard sequence. The number of bins proposed is also ludicrous – a bin on both sides every three plot widths.

    The single most hideous element that must be extracted from this plan are the ignorant lampposts proposed the length of the street, as pictured by Peter above. There are a few issues here:

    The proposed design is plucked straight from 1950s central Bradford.
    It is utterly anodyne.
    It is catalogue-tastic.
    The dual-height lamps look preposterous on a medium-sized standard of this kind. They also scream at their context, not because they’re ‘modrin’, but because in the hierarchy of street illumination the broad central artery of the street is being lit by the same lamp as the paltry walkway of the cellar zone. They therefore utterly fail to understand or acknowledge the design character and layout of the street.

    Street lamps on an intimate pedestrian thoroughfare such as Grafton Street categorically require a high grade, custom designed, human scale solution. They demand design excellence, they should be graciously iconic, and they should stand out top of the pile in the hierarchy of Dublin street illumination. What is proposed shouts of a certain type of stereotype architect-led mediocrity, which is so obvious in its minimal architectonic discipline that it’s a wonder it wasn’t steered clear of in the avoidance of the inevitable guffaws. What is ironic about this robustly clinical design approach is that it actually avoids a confident design statement – it is, in effect, a cop-out on the singular greatest character-forming element on the thoroughfare. This is unacceptable and cannot go unchallenged.

    Indeed, on the grounds of cost, it has to be questioned why existing street furniture cannot be retained and refurbished as part of this plan. This isn’t so much a hospital beds argument as a design and sustainability one – the existing lampposts and bollards are in good condition and surprisingly successful and minimal in form. The bollards are the classic Dublin Doric, which in spite of breeding like rabbits around the city, are a thoroughly elegant design. Likewise the lamp standards are a coherent mixture of historic Hammond Lane pillars, similar historic standards, and some 1980s reproductions. If all of this furniture was entirely reconditioned, with the gawky extension poles of the standards removed, everything stripped bare and given a robust factory coating in a striking matt olive green or perhaps deep rust shade, the lamps heads all unified with world-class, hand-crafted copper and glass lanterns based on a native Dublin design, fitted with sparkling white LEDs, and new contemporary bins purchased to complement, the cost would surely be a fraction of what is proposed. Statement pillars with declamatory heads, standing proud and upstanding on a bowling green of new paving would make a truly memorable and character-building statement. Why do we have to reinvent the wheel? Do designers not have confidence in their knowledge of the city to contextually redesign?

    There is no mention of way-finding signage, or interpreting significant premises or sites on the street through the paving.

    There is no mention of how flower sellers and stalls are to be incorporated into the plans.

    Must wander over and see if there are more details at the planning desk.

    Public submissions ‘welcome’ until June 20th.

  • #785006

    Anonymous

    It is proposed that the street furniture be well-designed and elegant, and both
    reflect and express the unique character of Grafton Street.

    So take out the Dublin lampstands and replace with catalogue stuff then.

    The end design is mediocrity exemplified: I am wondering what the last 2 years were spent doing?

    Very good analysis Graham… a lot of very pertinent questions raised that to my eyes dont seem to have occurred to the design team. Or is it just one person in isolation…never heard about the Historic Street Surfaces Workshop…”complaints about the increasing clutter of city streets?”…never heard those…..Grafton Street? where’s that? The lack of promotion of this project is also puzzling…just like the Palace Street job.

    Perhaps I am being unduly cynical. Perhaps the local authority that has failed to give any coherence to the Henry Street retail area in terms of urban realm will work wonders over in the new Grafton Street Quarter. Perhaps the team that started to install new public lighting and reduce clutter in College Green (continually noted as the city’s pre-eminent civic space) and then got bored (last works undertaken in Nov) will do right by Grafton Street. Perhaps the various silos of responsibility that are currently making a balls up of tiny but important Palace Street as the main entrance onto the State’s most important ceremonial complex will get it together before they splash out all that scarce dosh on chinese granite and shiny bins and bollards. As the song goes: perhaps perhaps perhaps.

  • #785007

    Anonymous

    @grahamh wrote:

    What is ironic about this robustly clinical design approach is that it actually avoids a confident design statement – it is, in effect, a cop-out on the singular greatest character-forming element on the thoroughfare. This is unacceptable and cannot go unchallenged.

    Absolutely.

    No detail at all on how the extensive area around the lamp standard in front of Fusiliers Arch will be handled, the significance of this space has grown over the years, now regularly thronged with buskers & onlookers.

  • #785008

    Anonymous

    That’s because this area, as well as Lower Grafton Street down towards College Green, are the ‘responsibility’ of the RPA as part of proposed Luas BXD works (and Metro North/DART Underground were they do go ahead). The plans for these areas are currently before An Bord Pleanala. Its another inconsistency of these plans that they say very little about how they will link in with the proposed RPA works: will the same materials be used, will the paving join seamlessly or will it be the usual disjointed mess of surface treatments.

  • #785009

    Anonymous

    Here’s that design statement by RPA for the Luas BXD and the proposals for St Stephen’s Green

    http://www.dublinluasbroombridge.ie/Downloads/EIS/BXD_EIS_Architecture_Design_Structure/BXD_EIS_Book_1_Ch7A_ADS_A3_Part_2.pdf

  • #785010

    Anonymous

    Brilliant, more tree planting on College Green

  • #785011

    Anonymous

    Does not seem like a strong design statement.
    The old scheme seems better with new stone…
    What heritage?

  • #785012

    Anonymous

    Next Wed is the final date for submissions on the Grafton Street works? Is anyone making an comment? I would be interested to hear. Is it worth it? Can PM me is you like.

  • #785013

    Anonymous

    No decision made as yet on the proposed Grafton Street works, although one imagines its a foregone conclusion. There were a variety of submissions made but the one likely to hold most sway came from the DofForeign Affairs expressing concern about the works taking place during the Presidency of the EU next year.

    Nevertheless, the snail pace if improvement in the city centre (what ever happened to that City Centre Action Plan?) continues with the increased pedestrian space created on Clarendon Street. The changeover seems to be starting…big planters put in place to create a wider pavement with the proposed painting of the pavement starting soon.

    Meanwhile Grafton Street is to get a new high profile client in the former Warehouse store….who could it be? Its Carrolls Gift and Souvenirs. I suppose they will at least pay the rates.

  • #785014

    Anonymous

    Should approval be granted Dublin City Council anticipates that work will begin in January 2013 and will be completed in approximately 14 months.

    Well surprise surprise, the Council have approved the works…

    The ‘conditions’ make for bizarre reading, given the origins of the scheme.

    The proposed development has been assessed and it is considered that it would be consistent with both the provisions included in the Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017 and with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area subject to the following requirements which are intended to safeguard the architectural integrity of this important street;

    1. The detailed design, and selection of materials, colours and location of the full range of street furniture including public lighting shall be agreed in writing with the Planning Department prior to the commencement of construction. Reason: In the interest of visual amenity and in order to protect and enhance the special architectural character of Grafton Street, a designated Architectural Conservation Area.
    2. The development shall comply with the following requirements of the Roads and Traffic Division:- • The materials including colour and finishes to be used in the proposed new layout shall be agreed with Road Maintenance Division, City Architects and the Planning Department of Dublin City Council. • The developer shall ensure that pedestrian access is maintained at all times to the street. Reason: In the interest of orderly and sustainable development and in order to ensure that the selected materials are in keeping with the architectural character of Grafton street, a designated Architectural Conservation Area.
    3. The development shall comply with the following requirements of the Drainage Division of Dublin City Council; • The Greater Dublin Regional Code of Practice for Drainage Works Version 6.0 (see http://www.dublincity.ie Forms and Downloads). Reason: In the interest of orderly and sustainable development.
    4. Prior to commencement of development, a Project Monitoring Committee shall be set up which shall include representatives from the local business community and other local stakeholders. The purpose of this Committee will be to allow for the ongoing assessment of the project and impacts on the local environment, identification of problems arising and proposing measures to remedy and manage any identified shortcomings. As part of this process, an officer shall be appointed by Dublin City Council to liaise with local stakeholders, the contractors and project team. Reason: In the interests of protecting the economic, social and cultural interests of the street during the construction process and having regard to the need to identify and remedy any adverse impacts arising from the development.
    5. A strategy for street art/busking on Grafton Street shall be developed in conjunction with the final detailed design of the paving scheme. Reason: In the interests of enhancing the character of Grafton Street as a major city centre destination.

    As with the similar Palace Street scheme (ie an LAW applications) there is no Planner’s Reports posted so it is unclear how the authority dealt with the various submissions made (20 in this instance).

  • #785015

    Anonymous

    Interestingly, the Council (via Sierra) are currently in the process of repaving Parnell Street (the western end), removing the brick and laying flags. No sign of a similar process to the above however. How come one requires planning permission while another doesnt. Seems strange.

  • #785016

    Anonymous

    StephenC — I was just about to ask the same question. Anybody have any idea?

  • #785017

    Anonymous

    Lower Grafton Street, that section from Suffolk Street to College Green is fast becoming the city centre’s latest Tat Parade. Despite being on of the city’s most prestigious addresses – The Provost’s House – and being an extension of the city’s most important retail street, the quality of what you find on Lower Grafton Street is way below what should be expected from this key section of the civic spine.

    So its all not bad. There are some big names here…grand old Bernardo’s (a shop that defies me as to how it survives), the nearest thing Dublin gets to an AppleStore, American Apparel and of course now the new Abercrombie & Fitch store packed full of emaciated torsos on College Green. The street has a great location, huge foot fall, buildings of great character and its located within an ACA and a Area of Special Planning Control, both of which are meant to provide the tools to create a high quality retail street.

    So why then does the street also include a betting shop, two convenience stores and now….its very own charity shop!

  • #785018

    Anonymous

    The street ‘benefits’ from a section of pavement that just about caters for the hoards using it each day and that has stubbornly defined any efforts to widen and declutter it. The area is generally packed full of casual street sellers, chalk artists and leprechauns all looking for a slice of the action. There also the perma-parking provided by the taxi rank here. No one has yet thought to critically consider things like signage, bollards, the ugly cheap street lights c 1975, the rake of redundant phone boxes now used mainly for MacxDonalds advertising and the creep creep of a-frames and sandwich boards along the street.

    There seems to be very little aspiration about the street…the presentation of frontages lack little imagination and even the big guns on the street offer stores they wouldnt dare on the main street of other capital cities (compare Compulab and its Apple product with the temple to white that Apple operates from on Regent’s Street in London).

    Thankfully the Book Value store closed earlier in the year and a smart refurbishment of the property it occupied 110 has just been unveiled.

    There is no occupier at present. Anyone know who might be interested. Carrolls maybe….or Ladbrooks?

  • #785019

    Anonymous

    The two convenience stores in the street show all the usual hallmarks of the trade, windows covered in transfers and the usual creep of signage. The Spar is actually a smart enough shop..its just these shops never seem to know when enough is enough.

    The street can even boast its very own Physic! I wonder if they can predict if things will ever get any better…

  • #785020

    Anonymous

    The Grafton Street ASPC Scheme is here for all to read.
    http://www.dublincity.ie/SiteCollectionDocuments/grafton_street_planning_control_scheme.pdf

    One interesting item regarding uses:

    (a) Notwithstanding the interpretation of “shop” by Article 5 (1) of the Planning and
    Development Regulations 2001 to 2005 (or any regulations revoking or re-enacting these
    regulations) the change of use of a shop or part of a shop to a premises trading as any of
    the following will now constitute a material change of use and will require planning
    permission: –
    • Catalogue shop
    • Cosmetics / beauty products
    • Discount Shop / End of lines / Closing down/ Sales outlets
    • Hairdressers
    • Health Food Shops
    • Launderette or dry cleaners
    • Mobile Phone Shop and related goods
    • Newsagents / convenience store
    • Off-licences and Wine Shops
    • Pharmacy
    • Sex shop
    • Souvenir Shop
    • Stationary / Card Shops
    • Supermarket
    • Travel Agents

    The Council planners probably never even conceived that a Charity Shop might set up here.

  • #785021

    Anonymous

    There are lots of things in the scheme of course, covering everything from use to shopfronts to signage etc. All very laudable of course but probably without any real interest in enforcing it in the current environment. Do Charity Shops pay rates?

    At a recent event organised by Dublin City Architects to discuss creating the high quality work environments of the future in Dublin, some of the key points that arose were high quality and well maintained public realm, a vibrant and attractive street life, curating uses on streets to stimulate the right kind of mix and brand for the area, promoting design and innovation in shops and business etc. All something that I would hope to see on show on Grafton Street.

  • #785022

    Anonymous

    ‘Council seeks to enhance a stroll down Grafton St’ Irish Times 27th Dec

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/1227/1224328186020.html

    It was interesting to observe the crush of people at the top of Grafton Street on NYE for the fireworks over St Stephen’s Green. It made me think how few spaces there are in the city for public congregation.

  • #785023

    Anonymous

    For a fireworks display on NYE, O’Connell Bridge is a perfect public space if there were fireworks along the quays or over the river, and also around the Spire, which would exploit a landmark of the city.

  • #785024

    Anonymous

    In future, holding off on the fireworks ’till midnight, might also be an idea. :wtf:

  • #785025

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    Launch them from Iveagh Gardens and open the Green for watching them from.

  • #785026

    Anonymous

    Anybody know when the proposed repaving is to start work?I was on Grafton street yesterday and its appalling.Why have they let it deteriorate to such a level.Also why they don’t get on with pedestrianising the surrounding streets in a integrated way is beyond me. The area is bursting with new businesses and they are trying to flourish in poorly paved streets that don’t encourage footfall. If these areas were nicely paved businesses would thrive and jobs would actually be created. It wouldn’t cost a huge amount either.

  • #785027

    Anonymous

    the repaving will start in april after they upgrade water pipes

  • #785028

    Anonymous

    @mcdanish wrote:

    Anybody know when the proposed repaving is to start work?I was on Grafton street yesterday and its appalling.Why have they let it deteriorate to such a level.

    I think the condition of the street is the whole reason for the project. Its true that it has gone on far too long but the proposal now is to repave the street in its entirety. Why it was allowed to get so bad is a good question however…but this is Dublin.

    Also why they don’t get on with pedestrianising the surrounding streets in a integrated way is beyond me. The area is bursting with new businesses and they are trying to flourish in poorly paved streets that don’t encourage footfall. If these areas were nicely paved businesses would thrive and jobs would actually be created. It wouldn’t cost a huge amount either.

    It would cost a significant amount. However again the “plan” is an integrated vision for the area from Kildare Street to South Great Georges Street. Haven’t seen the plan myself and I would hope that the Council would make more of this investment in the city centre and allow for reasonable comment on what it proposed.

    As part of the 1st phase…which is Grafton Street (it having the most pressing need – see your point above), the recent temporary changes on Clarendon Street are meant to facilitate greater pedestrian traffic on that street owning to the works on Grafton Street.

    You should read back the thread….lots of good information and comment on the project.

  • #785029

    Anonymous

    @StephenC wrote:

    Thankfully the Book Value store closed earlier in the year and a smart refurbishment of the property it occupied 110 has just been unveiled.

    There is no occupier at present. Anyone know who might be interested. Carrolls maybe….or Ladbrooks?

    The Dublin Trading Company it seems… a smarter version of Carrolls.

  • #785030

    Anonymous

    The Grafton Street & Environs Area of Special Planning Control is up for review and renewal. A draft is expected to be published tomorrow and comments are invited for the next 8 weeks.

    Among the measures expected is a tightening of rules around discount stores, charity shops, fast food outlets, supermarkets, etc

    The existing scheme can be viewed here http://www.dublincity.ie/Planning/OtherDevelopmentPlans/SpecialPlanningControlSchemes/Pages/SpecialPlanningControlSchemes.aspx

  • #785031

    Anonymous

    Jez, Grafton Street is a bit of a state at the moment.

    Don’t expect and smart camouflaging the sites as the streetworks take place. The preliminary works are already causing a mess. However some of the buildings on the street, particularly the southern end, are in bits.

    Meanwhile, nearby on South Anne Street there is that rarest of Dublin’s sights….a building site! The former Creation Arcade has been demolished pending its redevelopment.

    But Dublin City Council…seriously, get the finger out! (he says to yawning area planner off on his break).

  • #785032

    Anonymous

    An interesting post on planning policy for Grafton Street from Ireland After NAMA:

    I have commented on Grafton Street before (here and here), while also discussing Schemes of Special Planning Control (SSPC) and Architectural Conservation Areas (ACAs) (here). In light of the current draft for the renewal of the Grafton Street SSPC, there are, I feel, a number of elements that need to be discussed about the relationship between land-use, social space, and heritage in Grafton Street, which are, to a certain extent, reflective of wider dynamics in Dublin more generally. The revision of the Grafton Street SSPC provides the opportunity to redress the bias towards elite notions of heritage and instead celebrate the role of contemporary social life in the street.

    The current draft of the Grafton Street SSPC opens with the following vision: “To reinvigorate Grafton Street as the South City’s most dynamic retail experience underpinned by a wide range of mainstream, independent and specialist retail and service outlets that attract both Dubliners and visitors to shop, sit and stroll, whilst re-establishing the area’s rich historic charm and urban character.” The language of such documents tells a very interesting story. There is an explicit perspective within the Scheme of Special Planning Control that the area of Grafton Street has somehow lost some form of character that needs to be re-established or reinvigorated. How this is to be achieved is perceived to require a set of processes that promotes certain forms of land-use over and above others.

    In drawing on an imaginary of some unspecified ideal time, the document naturalises the connection between elements such as prestigious forms of consumption and architectural conservation: “A number of uses on Grafton Street are of special significance through their long association with the street. Businesses such as Brown Thomas, Weir and Sons and Bewley’s Cafe are now an essential part of the street’s character and continue in the tradition of providing prestigious products and fine service in high quality surroundings.” When taken at face-value, such language might seem innocuous, and it is difficult to dispute the relative importance of such establishments to the commercial core of Dublin. However, when looked at in more detail, I would argue that in privileging the connection between what are deemed as prestigious land-uses with notions of ‘character’, the SSPC presents an elitist ideal of what the street should be, and, by connection, whether it is intended or not, who Grafton Street is for.

    This is not a desire to argue for the retention or promotion of poor signage and shop fronts (however they may be defined), but to seek to expand the remit of what is valued beyond the supposed virtues of exclusive high-end retail and a loosely defined notion of what the street is imagined to once have been. From a broader perspective, it can be argued that in light of the evolution of Dublin over the last number of decades, Grafton Street – and Dublin city centre more generally – has to distinguish itself to compete with the out-of-town centres. Yet, there is also a need to at least try to imagine or think through what the social life of the street might actually look like if the vision of the SSPC, as it currently stands, is achieved. Would it still be a container of a rich variety of social life that it is today? Would it be the street of buskers and flower sellers? Would it still be the street on which younger age-groups gather outside McDonald’s?

    The street has and will evolve in response to the dynamics of wider social and market changes. Yet, there also seems to be a need to actually think through what the social dynamics of such streets are beyond the conception of notions of character and heritage-value as being directly connected to upmarket land-uses alone. Celebrating those social dynamics of the present and recent past which serve to define the everyday life of Grafton Street rather than decrying some loosely defined imaginary of what has supposedly been lost would be a start to such.

    Philip Lawton

  • #785033

    Anonymous

    Interesting observations. My reaction to this SPC or whatever it’s called would be to say so what? A vision that is based on generic and woolly platitudes such as this will go as far as any other in the past, ie nowhere. Train planners to draw. Get people who live and work in the city centre to contribute to the debate with planners, investors and decision makers. Then a vision could emerge that will get people talking about their city with useful and exciting ideas encouraging us all to get out more.

    I also think architects of all creeds – especially many of those on this forum – should worry less about adhering to pre-conceived notions of ‘good’ shop front design and signage and care more about how a collection of buildings and activities on a street can collectively help to foster spontaneity, diversity and of course vibrancy.

  • #785034

    Anonymous

    Without being facetious… what difference would it make here if the planners could draw or not? I’m just curious about your thinking.

    There was a project similar to what you describe called Designing Dublin which looked at the public’s impressions of the whole area and how it should develop. This in turn was developed into a masterplan for the Grafton Quarter – although we have yet to see this plan from Dublin City Council. The works to refurbish the pavements of Grafton Street, and some secondary projects such as Clarendon Street and Fade Street public realm works, stemmed from this masterplan, although in the absence of the masterplan (or the final Designing Dublin report) its hard to judge how effectively they met the overall vision.

    The SPC is specifically designed to affect use on the street and to maintain the street’s position as a high-end retail street. It all sounds like a good idea on paper but I agree in practice it is more problematic. Firstly, the Council are not particular adept at managing these areas in an holistic manner and generally only pay lip-service to the SPC. Most planners in the Council haven’t a clue how to make the lofty ambitions of the SPC and its sister ACA policy a reality. The street should have a town centre manager. It should have a team of knowledgeable professionals managing the area an responding imaginatively to the various challenges that it faces and the in particular the whole revolution of retail streets that is underway at present. Sadly many of the people in the City Council who could affect change on the street are ‘lifers’ who have been around for decades and are at this stage devoid of motivation and good ideas, as well as hamstrung by the inertia of the Council.

    In an ideal world, where an important economic entity like Grafton Street was being proactively managed and promoted and curated then you wouldn’t need to adopt SPCs. Clever management and the Market would ensure that the mix of retail and other uses on the street remained in tune with consumer needs and demands and that the image of the street was enhanced and improved, including the important issue of quality and standards of buildings, shopfront design, interiors, public realm etc.

    Sadly, as we know we are a million miles away from that world. Perhaps it is ‘elitest’ as suggested in the piece above to try and reserve this street for one type of shopping. But there are plenty of streets in the city where a variety of uses and shops operate. But the reality is that this street is an important economic engine for the city centre and it must compete with the likes of Dundrum SC, Liffey Valley etc. It has to attract and bring people into the city centre. People will not take the Luas in on a Saturday to browse charity shops and mobile phone advertisement shops. They want a high quality shopping environment and a mix of shops, place to eat and sights to see. Its a package they are after and that’s why in my view Grafton Street should be managed as a package or an ‘experience’ if you will. Quality architecture, good design, the impression that the place they area visiting is cared for and respected – all these are essential to the success of the street. If it is elitist to want to preserve quality architecture on Grafton Street as a backdrop to its economic activities then tell me why shoppers don’t flock to Mayor Square on the weekend – with its bland modern boxes. Or why all those shop units in Smithfield remain vacant.

    HOWEVER, I do think that in this city at this time, the whole concept of SPCs is just a dead duck. When basic planning permitting is being ignored, where the Council is abjectly failing to enforce its own development plan standards, where senior managers in the Council will ignore a wealthy building owner gutting an historically significant building on the street and allow the developer carte blanche to disney-fy the building and ignore best conservation practice and planning law surrounding ACAs and built heritage, then I agree – writing all this guff and adopting it as an SPC and Council policy is pointless.

  • #785037

    Anonymous

    20/6/2013

    Well the Grafton Street works are now officially underway, with the first of the smart new construction panels going up this afternoon. They appear to be durable plywood sheets with a printed, wipeable finish, slotted into slick brushed steel uprights.

    One imagines they may not look quite this crisp by November 2014 when works are due to finish, but hopefully they’ll hold up well as they move phase by phase along the street. The text is typically vague about the type of street furniture we’re getting (though it’s not exactly rocket science to work out). It’s remarkable how this aspect of the project has been kept such a secret; officials nearly fall over themselves in haste to leave the room every time it comes up.

    I’m itching to get at the panels with a red pen – typos galore. Proofer required on JobBridge please.

  • #785035

    Anonymous

    “Grafton Street’s a wonderland, with magic in the air…”

    To be fair to Dublin City Council, they have at last taken the need to communicate these types of projects to the wider public, seriously. The panels, social media and even a glossy video (with Voiceover Girl) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SI50E_d1L4 all help to sell the scheme.

    I welcome seeing the work start. It cant come soon enough in my view. Wandering the streets of Dublin last weekend it really struck me that the two streets that have decline most in the recession have been the two main shopping streets – Henry Street and Grafton Street. Streets like Aungier, Thomas, Moore, Talbot are where they were at the start of the turndown. The area from SG George’s Street to Grafton Street has positively bloomed in recent years. But with the fall off in retailing and the scrabble to get a rate paying business (any rate paying business) into the prime shopping streets, there has been a marked deterioration in quality. Plastic shopfronts, overload of signage, vacancy, lower end uses (yeah you heard me PC brigade, lower end uses like charity shops, newsagents, fast food and the like) have increased significantly. Add in unhelpful practices such as blanking out windows (ONE anyone?), big brash floodlighting, stickers, posters and a-frame galore, and it all adds up to a rather sad and sorry sight on Grafton Street and Henry/Mary Street are not far behind on.

    Has anyone seem the elusive GRAFTON QTR MASTERPLAN yet?

    It remains a shame about the street lamps disappearing and like you Graham, I wait with baited breath to see their replacement. Will they disappoint as O’Connell Street did back in 2003?

  • #785036

    Anonymous

    And NAMA have also opened up their purses on the street

    http://www.irishtimes.com/business/sectors/commercial-property/nama-to-amalgamate-grafton-street-shops-for-over-1m-1.1433439

    As the report notes there are a number of amalgamation schemes with permission in the vicinity.

  • #785038

    Anonymous

    Suddenly, there is a huge desire among charities to set up shop on Grafton Street

    Charities have been given a reprieve by Dublin City Councillors who have voted not to ban their shops from opening on Grafton Street.
    Councillors were last night asked to consider the introduction of planning controls which would prohibit certain types of retail outlet from opening on the city’s main shopping street on the grounds they “would detract from the character of the street”.
    Charity shops were proposed for inclusion on the list of shops which would not in future be granted planning permission. The list also covers sex shops, off-licences, amusement arcades, fast-food restaurants, euro stores and bookmakers, among others considered unsuitable for the street.
    In his report to councillors, acting assistant city manager Jim Keogan said charity shops were recommended for exclusion from the street due to concern about the growth of “lower end retail”. Charity shops were welcome in “all parts of the city, with the exclusion of Grafton Street” he said.
    “It is considered that this use would not promote higher order comparison retailing or contribute to Grafton Street’s status as the premier city centre shopping street.”
    ‘Outdated attitude’
    Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Fitzpatrick said the ban displayed an outdated attitude to charity shops and that as long as they comply with the planning standards being required of other retailers on Grafton Street they should not be subjected to negative discrimination.
    Independent councillor Mannix Flynn had supported the ban and said Grafton Street had become “somewhat of an eyesore” .
    Independent councillor Pat Dunne said stating that Grafton Street should be an exclusive street “only for people with money in their pockets” was an insult to ordinary people and people working for charities.
    Labour’s Dermot Lacey said he didn’t believe “any planning justification for the exclusion of charity shops has been made”.
    Fine Gael’s Paddy McCartan said the council should be encouraging high wealth visitors into Grafton Street. “I don’t see how you can compare shops like Weirs and Brown Thomas and others like that with charity shops.”
    Ruairi McGinley (FG) agreed there was a need for a “top end” street to be protected.
    However, a group of Fine Gael councillors put forward the proposal that charity shops should be allowed to apply for planning permission and the planning department be allowed to decide whether the particular shop was appropriate.
    A joint Fianna Fáil, Labour and Sinn Féin motion calling for charity shops to be removed from the list of prohibited outlets was passed by 29 to 16 votes and the rest of the planning control scheme was approved.
    Fundraising Ireland and the Irish Charity Shops Association had asked the council not to go ahead with the ban.

  • #785039

    Anonymous

    Maybe this is for the best. Grafton Street will never be what they want it to be, as it’s already just an average British high street and there’s no will to change it. They should just pick another street nearby and design it from scratch.

  • #785040

    Anonymous

    New granite revealed

  • #785041

    Anonymous

    Its progressing. Maybe faster than thought? It surely wont take 18mths?

  • #785042

    Anonymous

    As mentioned on page 11 by Peter Fitz and GrahamH, and perhaps others, where is the granite from?

  • #785043

    Anonymous

    Did I hear somewhere that the stone is sources from Leinster and Portugal

  • #785044

    Anonymous

    The central granite is Portugese, while the side flanks will be Leinster granite. Given the (current) limited capacity of stone cutting in the quarry here, I imagine the Leinster granite is being stockpiled until a sufficient quantity can be delivered to site to execute the sides.

    I believe the pink granite for the junctions will be from Cork or Kerry.

  • #785045

    Anonymous

    Actually I would say its all to do with phasing. Create the central walkway first and then you can work on the sides thereby limiting the disturbance to businesses and pedestrians.

  • #785046

    Anonymous

    Had a walk on it today – it’s very uneven, feels slightly temporary, but could be due to the quality of the granite – maybe it’s supposed to be worn down naturally? It certainly doesn’t have the shiny, machine cut feel of the Henry St paving. I think I sort of like it.

  • #785047

    Anonymous

    “Stains are more noticeable because of the recent very dry weather and the lack of rainfall, which in normal circumstances would wash away much of the staining.” – DCC

  • #785048

    Anonymous

    I have been beaten to it by The Journal.ie

    I was just thinking to myself that the newly completed section look dreadful. Its filthy. Of course its not being cleaned, but I wonder will this surface work with the amount of use it will get. Combine the rough texture of the stone with its colour and I think we might have a problem here Houston.

    One of the benefits of the Lenister granite, to be used elsewhere, is its colour. It masked many stains.

  • #785049

    Anonymous

  • #785050

    Anonymous

    Oh dear, what the fuck is that?

  • #785051

    Anonymous

    That is a Hartecast product. They supply the bins that are loved so much on this forum. His products are all terribly designed. Very frustrating as it’s an Irish company and their products are all over the country. Pity they can’t get a decent designer to design their products

  • #785052

    Anonymous

    Its got a little 3 castles logo on the top which will ensure that it reinforces the distinctive sense of place of Grafton Street.

    Its nice to see yet another variation on the bollard on our city’s streets, isn’t it?

  • #785053

    Anonymous

    Absolutely hideous. Have a look at hartecast dot com to see the rest of their grotesque designs. There’s even a testimonial from DCC.

    “It says a lot for the quality and durability of your product that the bin itself was still in perfect working order after it had been badly knocked over by a truck, we removed the concrete from the base of the bin and it was used again!”

    :sick:

  • #785054

    Anonymous

    WTF???

  • #785055

    Anonymous

    Clearly the design is a contemporary take on Finn McCool’s cudgel.

    If they unscrew, which I imagine they must, we may get to see how they perform in action, when the pubs close.

  • #785056

    Anonymous

    Warning, don’t look at hartecast website or you’ll wish you were blind. memories are coming back of brochures for italian street furniture and kiosks, full of beauty, style, nobility, pride. Hartecast website is a catalogue of banal nightmares, that are a physical reality.

  • #785057

    Anonymous

    Good lord…well where to start.

    Firstly the blurb from Hartecaste’s own website:

    Following the success of our Ductile Iron Litter Bin range the new Base Ball Bat Bollard range is of the same strength and is a great addition to our already popular range. It is a seriously heavy duty bollard which is available with contrasting colour strip for higher visibility. – See more at: http://www.hartecast.com/hc2100-base-ball-bat-bollard/#sthash.43jTCM40.dpuf

    So there you have…gunter was not far off the mark.

    At the time of the Part VIII application, a number of people, myself included took the time to comment on the Council’s plans. The design of street furniture was left deliberately vague but the Part VIII application documentation did includes such standards phrases as…

    It is proposed that the street furniture be well-designed and elegant, and both reflect and express the unique character of Grafton Street.

    A planning authority of course never really needs to justify its proposals under Part VIII. In my experience the public is usually ignored …unless they are in wheelchairs or run a charity shop or some other such trait that the media are likely to attach themselves to. Crap design is not something even the Irish Times can engage with.

    So it was in this instance. The few calls that were made to retain the existing lamps etc were roundly ignored. ‘Contemporary’ rules the day. But this is not the contemporary of Beth Gali, its rather Bollards ‘R’ Us.

    I got a recent reply via Twitter that the old lamps were being reclaimed by the Public Lighting Dept (bastion of style elegance and conservation that it is) for use elsewhere in the city.

    I suppose its a fair point to say that the city is not a museum piece and that it should not be a simple case of old vs new, olde worlde vs cool Hibernia. But in this instance is very much lowest common denominator stuff. Given that city architect Killian Skay (oops dont mention their names) spent about 2 years on the design of this street…something more than a browse through the Hartecaste catalogue would have been expected.

  • #785058

    Anonymous

    Dont forget the commitment to high quality shopfronts on the street and ‘high end’ retailing (oops another dirty word)

    Perhaps Massimo Dutti will save us.

  • #785059

    Anonymous

    Seriously DCC, if you propose lining the street with those ridiculous looking clubs, just leave them out.

    Save the cash and spend it on the gallons of sealant you’ll need.

    You’d have to be more than a little concerned about the chosen granite at this point, and the standard of workmanship.

    There are plans to “thoroughly clean the entire area” once the current phase of the redevelopment is complete. A sealant will also be applied to the stone to facilitate “the future cleaning of the paving and the removal of stains, gum and dirt”.

    Now, as some of you may know, i’m sick of this inane bloody stuff being plastered all over every street in Dublin, but such as it is, this particular job lot appears to be of inferior quality to the Henry Street batch.

    Did they even bother to lay a small sample anywhere to test for durability?…basic stuff before undertaking a job on this scale, on this street.

  • #785060

    Anonymous

    …and Archiseek kicks back to life!

    This is quite a baffling development. The embarrassing spectacle of Hartecast becoming indirect design consultants to local authorities across the country has been well charted in previous discussions on this board, so to have one of their most ignorant products specified for the ‘premier’ street in the country is quite simply a grotesque joke.

    I have a lot of time for Hartecast, as an Irish company operating in a highly competititive market, and for the innovation they have engaged in in recent years to refine some of their product offering. They’re the Liam Carroll of the street furniture world, slowly realising the benefits that can be brought from engaging a modicum of design expertise – even if much of your success has been built on the horse having somewhat bolted over the hills.

    But seriously, how on earth the very worst aspects of Hartecast’s early years – bullet-proofed, blandly-wipeable, easy-watching, cartoonly-proportioned aesthetics – can be even trialed, never mind apparently be commissioned, for Grafton Street, not only beggars belief, but raises very grave concerns about the collective competences of the agency delivering this project. This is quite serious stuff, and hard-hitting questions really need to be asked. This just cannot go unchallenged.

    I had a look at this yoke in the flesh this evening. The deep green colour is elegant and highly appropriate for the street. Indeed, this is similar to the colour I originally specified as being a suitable option for the refurbishment of the existing street furniture. But that’s where the flattery ends. The proportions are beyond belief. The casualness, the lack of formality, the grossly proprietary qualities, the baffling po-mo detailing, the crude, bordering on simply inaccurate, rendering of the Dublin City Council city stamp – it’s all such an insult to the citizenry that you couldn’t make this stuff up. I’m so sick of the public having to pick up the pieces on basics like this. Yes, of course there’s subjectivity in public design – there always will be – but this doesn’t even enter into the design world. It doesn’t even qualify for a bashing. Which renders the previous paragraph somewhat troubling.

    I’ve inspected the new paving in very considerable detail and like other contributors, have major reservations about the ability of the Portuguese granite, even with the sealant, to hold up to the battering that this street gets – easily one of the busiest in Europe. But I’d like to think this has been trailed and correctly specified, and will give it the benefit of the doubt. On the design and choice of stone itself, I can entirely understand why the bush-hammered finish was chosen. It is exceedingly urbane, strong, handsome, and oozes a venerable quality – as if it has been on the street for a couple of centuries. I know it’s hard to believe this in its current begrimed state, but look at it in the rain and it is stupendously good. In fact, I think it’s far superior to the Leinster granite alongside. The decision to go with wide jointing is also an interesting one. It’s hard to decide if it works or not until the staining is removed.

    Unfortunately, I think the mid-grey of the Portuguese and the honey hue of the Leinster actually clash quite badly. I’d much prefer to see the Portuguese granite laid the whole width of the street. The charcoal coloured rumble strips running parallel to the gutters are cluttering and cheap in appearance, and from an aesthetic point of view, certainly aren’t needed. The street junctions of square slabs of pink granite are coming along quite nicely. The quality of the workmanship here is much higher than it is for the main body of Portuguese granite, which is unevenly laid, indeed there are clearly trip hazards already, and where the handling of the gracious street curve is seriously ham-fisted, being awkwardly angled into stretches of straight lines.

    All in all, a very mixed bag on Grafton Street at the minute. Just somebody do the right thing please and refurb the previous furniture – lamps included – to a high standard.

  • #785061

    Anonymous

    The rumble strip looks ridiculous. I cant imagine any sight impaired person relying on this. Its so slight and it would be impossible on such a busy street for anyone to follow it to the extent that it becomes useful and meaningful.

    I very much like the small pink setts that form the border to each shop.

    how on earth the very worst aspects of Hartecast’s early years – bullet-proofed, blandly-wipeable, easy-watching, cartoonly-proportioned aesthetics – can be even trialed, never mind apparently be commissioned, for Grafton Street, not only beggars belief, but raises very grave concerns about the collective competences of the agency delivering this project.

    This is the same architect and project manager of the O’Connell Street scheme. Lovely paving and well conceived layout to be sure but the street furniture in particular is shite (lets be frank) and is already looking dated and dull, not to say in need of a painting. It too came from the catalogue of identikit street furniture. The tree planting in the median was poorly conceived and quite a number of trees have been lost and not replaced. 10 years later we are still waiting for someone to do something with the Luas substation in the middle of the median. The original design had the cycle lane running beside the median, a ludicrous idea that was soon redesigned. And of course its all to be dug up again…thanks to Luas CrossShitty.

    So one wonders now what the lighting will be like.

  • #785062

    Anonymous

    College green is going to be done over in the same way…

    Be afraid…

  • #785063

    Anonymous

    I think the concerns over the dirt of the new granite paving are ill placed. As StephenC referred to, the dry Summer means that spills and dirt have been highlighted. I have been more aware of stains and the dirty appearance of granite during all this good weather than I can ever remember before. A down pour really does help wash down the streets.
    I have dealt with Hartecast and they are actually really nice people. It is such a pity their products are so rubbish. There are so many good off the shelf street furniture products out there. There are also so many good fabricators working in Ireland. It would be so easy for DCC to design and detail there own stuff and have it made.

  • #785064

    Anonymous

    The chosen street furniture obviously here to stay, as matching colour Hartecaste bins have also gone in on the street. Criticism falls on deaf ears of course. Bit then its simply the usual suspects.

  • #785065

    Anonymous

    I’m no expert but what I saw of the mixed granite and street furniture looks ugly. I guess its early days but they should have picked something else apart Hartecaste at least.

  • #785066

    Anonymous

    I wonder do the retailers on Grafton Street have any view on these ugly new additions to the street? Or Dublin City BID or DCBA? They are strikingly ugly.

    And I cant help wondering why the design wasnt included in the Part VIII process. Or at the ‘launch’ of the street works a few months back. If the Council were so proud of their purchases.

  • #785067

    Anonymous

    Any pics? haven’t been down there in a while…

  • #784739

    Anonymous

    Some views of whats going on…for the Diaspora

    The pink junction nodes

    Some of those awful bollards going in

    The wayfinding strip…the least successful element. And of course the big shore plonked in the middle

    The north end…

    Some of the Irish granite on the side flanks

  • #784738

    Anonymous

    Look good.
    Do you think Grafton street has lost character because of the new paving?

  • #784736

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    I’d like someone to explain to me the “wayfinding” strip without talking like an architect…

  • #784737

    Anonymous

    Imagine that you’re at the bottom of Grafton Street and you want to go to the top of Grafton Street.

    Now imagine that the ‘Way-finder’ strip wasn’t there.

    See how lost you’d be?

  • #784734

    Anonymous

    To be fair, its meant for blind people and poor sighted people.

  • #784735

    Anonymous

    Directly adjoining different granite types, from different countries, is just jarring visually. It’s like something out of your nearest paving display area and just doesn’t work.

    Contrasting the lovely Leinster granite with the bland Portugese stuff only serves to highlight what might have been.

    Significant quantities of Irish granite are being used, enough it seems to have covered the central median, why then they couldn’t have used this fine stone in the most prominent location and contrasted it against a sett pattern, or something of a different hue altogether is beyond me.

    I’ve no issue with the concept of a way finding strip, but in what seems to be emblematic of this job, they’ve gone and crudely sliced the Leinster granite, the good stuff, with some rumble strip slabs borrowed from the RPA. Subtle.

    Thanks for the pics Stephen.

  • #785068

    Anonymous

    I concur with most of your points Peter. The clash is highly unsatisfactory – the contrast between the two simply isn’t stark enough. Placing two vaguely similar granites side by side is like a bizarre showroom display. It simply makes no visual sense. It looks like there wasn’t enough to go around. Which is correct. There wasn’t. But we shouldn’t have to live with this resourcing reality literally concreted into the ground! Coupled with the line of guttering and yet another division in the form of the wayfinding band, the effect is nothing short of chaotic. Where’s the grace? Where’s the prestige? Where’s the design response to Grafton Street?

    I wouldn’t be harsh on the Portugese granite – it’s a beautiful choice. Walking over it again in the rain the other day, it’s simply magnificent. What a robust, stately material. It will be interesting to see what it looks like once cleaned, sealed, and worn in a little. Agreed, it looks plain against the Leinster granite, but in its own right it’s a fine material. I was trying to think what the slab laying pattern, wide jointing and rough finish reminded me of – it looks very ‘Dublin’, even though we never had paving of this kind historically. It is quite evocative of the weathered ashlar blocks of Trinity’s West Front with its wide joints and granular texture.

  • #785069

    Anonymous

    In relation to street furniture, would any of you well informed posters have access to info regarding traditional park benches? The project involves the reproduction of an existing casting but the issue relates to the finish of the timber slats. The castings will be a matte black and the timbers can be stained, clear coated or a natural finish maybe with some oil. How would the timber on a Victorian bench have been specified originally. I have a preference but I was looking for some other reference points.

  • #785070

    Anonymous

    This might well be for you Landarch….though not necessarily immediately answer your question

    http://www.dublincivictrust.ie/courses.php

    I notice that Dublin City Council Park Department have recently been restoring benches in Merrion Square with new timber. However these are concrete base benches. So perhaps no help.

    However, there is always a wealth of information in the Council (though seldom realised). Perhaps some long established Parks guy would know everything there is to know about benches?

  • #785071

    Anonymous

    StephenC, when you say new timber, has it been treated in any way can you remember? Thanks for the link. Loads of really interesting courses there. I completed a course on dry stone walling run by Pat McAfee a few years back held in Drimnagh Castle. Really great course. Did it through Fas

  • #785072

    Anonymous

    From memory it is treated timber but I will check later today. Its only next door.

  • #785073

    Anonymous

    It t’is of course the minutiae of city life and wearnicehats will no doubt be appalled. Nevertheless you asked about the benches in Merrion Square. And from what I can see they are stained and varnished.

    Before

    And after…they look great

  • #785074

    Anonymous

    StephenC, thanks for having a look. Great to see the old benches getting a new lease of life. We are going to go for an untreated timber with an oil. Leaving them oiled means they can be sanded back quite easily and re oiled when they get a bit scruffy. Oil also keeps the timber looking natural

    The Brits have a document for everything. Found this when I was doing a bit of research:

    http://www.royalparks.org.uk/__documents/the-royal-parks/publications/other-publications,-reports-and-strategies/landscape-design-guide.pdf

  • #785075

    Anonymous

    Whatever about the concerns expressed about the details of the new scheme for Grafton Street, one can’t deny that the work is progressing speedily and with a minimum of disruption. In fact the contractors are powering through the project and one could imagine the street being completed by the end of the summer. The team are currently finishing pavement outside Brown Thomas.

    The street is seeing a great deal of activity: the new Massimo Dutti store has transformed the former HMV premises on the street, a NAMA-funded development is taking place at the southern end and a number of sites have popped up on Duke Street and South Anne Street.

    It would appear that the street is at the start of a period of improvement – sorely needed. My one concern is that a rather bland approach to shopfronts has developed. A lot of plate glass and stone facing and colour is sorely missing – everything is cream and white.

    Once upon a fantasy time, we were talking of this street as one of the prime retail pitches in the world (that hubris beggars belief now). What is happening is that retail has condensed down to the two main cores in the city centre and the major multiples are finally starting to spend a little on new stores and new looks in a bid to attract custom back from the suburbs. It could only have gotten better for Grafton Street.

    Dublin City Council have finally responded to the dismal condition of the public realm in the area, which hardly matches the hive of smart boutiques and eateries clamouring over each other in the area from Grafton Street to South Great Georges Street, by developing a Public Realm Strategy for the Grafton Street Quarter.

    http://www.dublincity.ie/YourCouncil/LocalAreaServices/SouthEastArea/GSQ/GraftonStreetQuarter/Documents/GSQPublicRealmPlanDraft.pdf

    The current condition of Duke Street and South Anne Street in particular is disgraceful.

    The draft was on display until Nov and a final version is awaited. It is reported that the Council is likely to roll out improvements over 3 years, but I hardly think this is achievable. There are many good proposals in the Strategy, even if it shies away from any major rethink of the area.

    All in all, things are looking up for the city’s prime retail area, which has descended into a rather depressing condition in recent years. There’s an expansion of the retail area into Dawson Street (Tower Records opening soon in the former Waterstones) and even to College Green (the former National Irish Bank hall being converted into H&M). In fact the development of retail on College Green is most interesting, its surely a matter of time before Ulster Bank too decamp. Some high profile retail tenants makes a greater case for a greater pedestrian space at College Green. The current mess of College Green is a disgrace – signage posts, clutter, those ill-considered lighting standards. Lets try and make a space worthy of a capital city centre.

  • #785076

    Anonymous

    Yes Ulster Bank on College Green will be an interesting play Stephen. They wish to enter into a leaseback arrangement upon sale, for ten years, but the ground floor retail may possibly be up for grabs. Either way, if the market continues as it is, there is little question the building will be comprehensively redeveloped as an enormous retail site over multiple floors – effectively a department store, if the demand is there in years to come.

    South Anne Street is beyond an embarrassment at this stage. I walked it only yesterday (I usually avoid the horror show) with my head in my hands. What a planning disgrace – banners, posters, projecting signage, sandwich boards, unauthorised shopfronts, garish colours, restaurants commandeering ‘pavement’ pitches as an extension of their own floorplate with permanent wall and roof structures – it’s unbelievable stuff. Like the worst excesses of uncontrolled bazaars in 19th century seaside resorts, or bonkers Asian cities. And this the approach route to ‘Ireland’s premier shopping destination’. LOL as they say. Where on earth is the pride gone? As for the street surface – well, there just isn’t one. It’s like hundreds of miniature volcanoes have erupted, pockmarking the street with craters in its wake. Goodness knows how this sorry mess is going to be cleaned up. I have to say, the Grafton Quarter visualisation for the street is very impressive, but curiously, the property management aspect of things isn’t exactly elucidated…

    I am very surprised at the Massimo shopfront. It is thin, poorly detailed appliqué of the lazy kind, and unresponsive to its host building. In fact, it clashes with it, with its flimsy modernist pilasters of Spanish white limestone misaligned with the upper floors and unnecessarily interrupting the flow of its fascia. And the flush windows just add to the ‘applied’ character of the whole thing.

    Believe it or not, this is the third attempt to get things right, with the applicant submitting planning, additional information and even clarification of additional information, in response to justly expressed concerns by the case planner about the character of the proposed shopfront and the clarity of information in the submitted plans. I think the initially proposed shopfront was far more appropriate – flush black stone cladding, with no pilasters, simply arranged as a series of crisply articulated frames around windows. Alas, the devil is in the detail, and planning just cannot engineer out clumsy design.

    But agreed that it’s a sharpening improvement at least, and it does set a trend for higher quality materials on Grafton Street.

    The pace of repaving is incredible! Certainly a case of on-time and (hopefully) on budget.

  • #785077

    Anonymous

    @StephenC wrote:

    To be fair, its meant for blind people and poor sighted people.

    I’ve seen plenty of blind people walking around streets without wayfinding strips. They somehow manage – they’ve been doing it all their lives. In fact, putting one here is just teasing them because in the lifetime of my grandchildren there won’t be a wayfinding strip on the vast majority of streets in Ireland. Why do we have to ape the politically correct insanity of the UK?

  • #785078

    Anonymous

    Aah I see what you mean about Massimo Dutti’s new shopfront Graham. Its just been completed and opened.

    It is as you suggest rather ‘clumsy’, and a textbook example of a ground floor completely ignoring what the upper floor is doing. It seems rather unfortunate. (sorry if I am stealing your thunder with quick phone camera pics G).

    Its as if the entrance is on the wrong side?

    And annoyingly, couldnt they have stretched the height for hire across and painted the remainder.

  • #785079

    Anonymous

    -Elsewhere on Grafton Street, its funny what you notice when you look up. This one, right up at the north end. I’d hazard a whole business just left intact, gathering dust. The building is owned by AIB Investment if I’m not mistaken and I recall they had plans to create a larger unit of the corner building around 2009/10.

    Anyone for a Vinzini?

  • #785080

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    Man they really missed a good chance with that Massimo Dutti shopfront. Completely ignores the second floor rhythm.

  • #785081

    Anonymous

    I find a lot of the critique on these forums excellent – for example, the Irish Times Building on D’Olier Street. But really, who cares that the Massimo Dutti shopfront ignores the rhythm of bays on the first floor? It might matter if the building was distinguished in some way but it isn’t — and it’s not the most noticeable thing either. As architectural crimes in Dublin go, this has to rate as fairly minor IMHO.

  • #785082

    Anonymous

    You’re right of course…but its just a comment. I dont think anyone is suggesting that an ‘architectural crime’ has been committed. But I suppose its relevant to the wider issue of good shopfront design – what works and what doesnt and why.

  • #785083

    Anonymous

    @StephenC wrote:

    You’re right of course…but its just a comment. I dont think anyone is suggesting that an ‘architectural crime’ has been committed. But I suppose its relevant to the wider issue of good shopfront design – what works and what doesnt and why.

    And Fair Comment too Stephen.

    The approach to maintaining or fostering our Cityscape should be subject to this form of robust comment….if only to prevent a recurrence of this ……

    http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/grafton-street-is-now-fifth-most-expensive-location-to-rent-in-the-world-26494744.html

    The sort of wild-eyed drooling Mooh-Lah centred stuff which infects far too much of Dubln City’s existence :crazy:

  • #785084

    Anonymous

    It’s pretty clear now that the Irish & Portuguese granite types do not work together, they neither blend nor contrast sufficiently (I am repeating myself here, but the job is turning out to be a real disappointment).

    Even when viewed in pristine condition, the clash of the two is clear.

    The street furniture is dreadful homogeneous catelogue tat, much of it already marked. The chosen colour however isn’t bad at least. You wouldn’t hold out much hope for the light fittings.

    Really, the Portuguese granite has to go, very nice stuff in it’s own right, but the wrong choice for Grafton Street.

  • #785085

    Anonymous

    What are the chances of that!

    A very disappointing scheme.

  • #785086

    Anonymous

    Zero – still has to be said though!

  • #785087

    Anonymous

    I despair at what’s happening on Grafton Street. Much public and media comment – the majority even – is unfair and understandably misguided as regards the cleanliness of the paving. There is no question that it looks shocking in its current raw state, but we must hold our breath and await the outcome of the abrasive cleaning and sealing later in the year (though in saying this, having to ‘seal’ a natural product is somewhat unsettling and sounds distinctly high maintenance going forward).

    What there is no escaping from is the clash of the stones (there’s a film title in that), which as Peter describes, is simply ham-fisted and visually discordant. Both the colours and the textures are chaotic – chalk and cheese – and should never have been paired in the way they have, which is a shame, as they’re both distinguished in their own right. The slab sizes are also finicky, lacking in contextual understanding. The clunky ‘wayfinding strip’ just adds to the mess, and as for the trashy funerary cobbles lining the building line! What the heck?! Even the craft isn’t there: the paving has been laid in awkward linear sections in attemping to respond to the curve of the street, rather than gracefully flowing with it. It looks woeful when the street is lightly populated.

    The green bollards – and I concur the colour almost hits the distinguished mark – were chipping within days of installation, with the more usual battleship grey revealed from underneath. I suspect these were sprayed green as a custom job, but that as catalogue items they were never meant to be sprayed. As for the ‘design’, well, it’s not a design. There is no design. They’re a proprietary, cartoonish insult to the dignity of a major civic thoroughfare. I shudder to think what lighting is being compiled.

    It’s all such a mess and it’s just not good enough. Genuinely, one desperately would like to have faith in the in-house expertise of the municipal authority to promote, demonstrate and all but curate civic design standards in the city, but dammit it just doesn’t seem to be there. It’s a crying shame.

  • #785088

    Anonymous

    The repaving of Grafton Street leaves me almost distraught when I look at it. The “wayfinding strip” is an absolute abomination.Is it even necessary? The new bollards and bins represent the blandness, lack of appreciation and taste that is currently manifesting as the work progresses. The failure to use recesses to disguise the sporadic number of telecom and sewerage caps is again appalling. Why has the opportunity to provide high class paving suited to Grafton Street been so badly missed and ultimately who is responsible? Also why can’t they start the cleaning and sealing now seen as its so blooming obvious its needed as its filthy.

  • #785089

    Anonymous
  • #785090

    Anonymous

    That was an ironing board on a stiletto, right!

    The thing that gets me about the paving is that they got it right [to my eye anyway] on Mary Street, several years ago. That short little stretch on the north side of the church was well executed and moderately subtle in its differential between road and path, why could they not just stick with that.

    It’s not so much that the he ‘path’ areas on Grafton Street are the wrong colour, or the unit size is unnecessarily miserable, it’s that they’re laid the wrong way.

    And then there’s that dodgy tiled pattern, square area, at the junctions!

    Would we really not have got that we’ve reached a junction with a side street without this helpful change in paving pattern? . . . maybe by the fact that there are gaps in the buildings?

  • #785091

    Anonymous

    The second batch of streetworks under the Grafton Street Quarter project is now out to public consultation. The scheme incorporates Wicklow Street (to Clarendon Street), Harry Street, Balfe Street and Chatham Street. This is Part VIII so the usual rules apply …you make submission, its ignored, councillors wave it though and delivered project is significantly different from the project in the plans. Am I too cynical 🙂

    http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=3080/14&backURL=%3Ca%20href=wphappcriteria.display?paSearchKey=2270344%3ESearch%20Criteria%3C/a%3E%20%3E%20%3Ca%20href=%27wphappsearchres.displayResultsURL?ResultID=2752501%26StartIndex=11%26SortOrder=APNID%26DispResultsAs=WPHAPPSEARCHRES%26BackURL=%3Ca%20href=wphappcriteria.display?paSearchKey=2270344%3ESearch%20Criteria%3C/a%3E%27%3ESearch%20Results%3C/a%3E

  • #925161

    admin
    Keymaster

    The old Wests premises seems have been a jewelers for a fair length of time. Image from a guide book in 1866 has this business Topham & White in existance from 1826

    null

  • #926096

    admin
    Keymaster

    So now the lamp posts are up, opinion seems pretty negative on twitter

  • #926104

    GrahamH
    Participant

    It’s frightening, isn’t it Paul? Really frightening. These people are running the city. These guys are actually IN CHARGE of redesigning our public realm!

    This is, simply, the worst possible outcome one could possibly imagine, to the degree one wonders if it’s an early April Fools joke.

    Kitschy, postmodern adornments contrived for a playground hanging off some ghost estate in Sallins – on Grafton Street.

    To use the aul phrase, you couldn’t make it up.

  • #926105

    admin
    Keymaster

    The so-called prototype doesn’t seem to have the scallowed edge

  • #926507

    urbanisto
    Participant

    The main wall mounted lamps have been installed now. Very disappointing to see the poor outcome. These leaf yokes are truly awful.

  • #926508

    urbanisto
    Participant

    And also to know there are so many more streets to complete in this ‘theme’

  • #926619

    Rory W
    Participant

    Dreadful

  • #942783

    willsonjosep
    Participant

    There are lots of things in the scheme of course, covering everything from use to shopfronts to signage etc. All very laudable of course but probably without any real interest in enforcing it in the current environment. Do Charity Shops pay rates?

    At a recent event organised by Dublin City Architects to discuss creating the high quality work environments of the future in Dublin, some of the key points that arose were high quality and well maintained public realm, a vibrant and attractive street life, curating uses on streets to stimulate the right kind of mix and brand for the area, promoting design and innovation in shops and business etc. All something that I would hope to see on show on Grafton Street.

  • #943298

    admin
    Keymaster

    So whats the consensus on the street now?

  • #943299

    admin
    Keymaster

    So whats the consensus on the street now?

  • #943300

    admin
    Keymaster

    So whats the consensus on the street now?

  • #943435

    urbanisto
    Participant

    I think it looks drab. However at least the private sector is coming on board. The street looks better cared for at least. The street furniture remains awful, the paving is dull and the mismatch obvious. The scheme lacks elegance in my view. The second phase of work is taking ages, only two other streets done.

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