Leinster House, National Museum & Library complex

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This topic contains 173 replies, has 41 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 5 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #710156

    lostexpectation
    Participant

    Leinster House is falling down – secret report warns of danger to TDs and staff
    http://www.tribune.ie/news/article/2008/sep/14/leinster-house-is-falling-down-secret-report-warns/

    SUBSTANTIAL risks to politicians and other civil servants who work in the crumbling Leinster House complex have been outlined in a confidential report delivered to the Ceann Comhairle.

    Despite the clearly outlined risks, plans to close a wing of Leinster House have since been abandoned in favour of a phased reconstruction project which will ultimately prove more costly, the Sunday Tribune has learned.

    pics

  • #803259

    Anonymous

    A rather odd use of language in that report. Pretty damning nonetheless. Interesting picture there too of a concealed 1740s panelled wall from what can be made out.

    This has been coming down the tracks like a bullet train for quite some time. It is my belief that Leinster House is not only failing on a structural basis, but is fundamentally inadequate for the role to which it has been put, and has been the case ever since 1922. Anyone who has ever been in Leinster House – perhaps not members of the public but certainly architects, engineers and designers – will confirm what an utterly chaotic sequence of spaces the Houses of the Oireachtas is forced to work under, and the severe impact this use is having on both the structure and design integrity of the house.

    It is a crying shame to see the house – which is so easily forgotten to be one of the great 18th century mansions of Ireland with surviving interiors – so compromised by crude accretions of temporary installations, fire safety requirements, outdated heating, electrical services and sanitary facilities, and fundamentally rooms put to purposes for which they are entirely unsuited, and the Seanad Chamber included in that – an embarrassingly cramped space, accessed by the public via a heritage pub staircase straddling across the double-height wall of the 18th century principal ceremonial staircase. Original fixtures and fittings are under extreme pressures from heavy use across the board, from doors to floors to windows to joinery, and circulation is convoluted and inadequate. So much of the integrity of the original building is similarly compromised by institutional gloss paint, outdated carpets, signage, secondary glazing, lighting installations and inappropriate furnishings. The list goes on.

    Even the Dáil Chamber is hopelessly outdated at its upper levels, totally inadequate for public access, and is a truly remarkably ugly space. The elegant mahogany fittings are but a televisual sham to the design chaos that ensues off-camera. Public access is arguably even worse here – gained via a grubby side entrance up multiple flights of a service stair of a character more ultiitarian than the back stairs of a 1940s sanatorium.

    As quaint as it all may be, it really isn’t realised by the public that this wider Leinster House scenario has been a temporary arrangement for the past 85 years. Parliament is quite literally housed in a house conversion of parish hall proportions. It’s only when you see the timber floorboards underneath your feet, the atmospheric qualities of a tired 1980s hotel conversion, the cramped conditions, and the constantly worn fixtures and fittings you realise what a ridiculous situation we have got ourselves into, and how everybody is going about their business like the Emperor has no clothes. Nobody has had either the will or the ambition to stand up and shout stop here.

    There is little question in my mind that the two House of the Oireachtas and all attendant facilities, however extensive, must move from this site in favour of a purpose-built facility elsewhere in the city. This would not be historically unproblematic, but the payoffs both for parliament, the site and the city at large would far outweigh the historical associations of the site. The entire complex could be transformed into the cultural quarter it once aimed to be, with the house proper at least in part transformed back to its 18th century character in a Castletown-like manner. The attendant institutions could expand into the extensive facilities and their sites to either side. The Kildare Street frontage could be properly opened up as a piazza with the great colonnades flanking both sides, and Leinster Lawn opened as a fully fledged public park, perhaps returned to its 18th century form.

    Similarly the potential for the building of the 21st century in Ireland could not be more fitting than that of a new parliament complex, and much more stimulating if built within an urban context rather than a greenfield site as so often the case the world over. This issue really needs to be taken by the horns and finally grappled with; the structural condition of Leinster House is the perfect opportunity for the OPW to fly this kite.

  • #803260

    Anonymous

    Oh no Graham, you’ll cause some annoying debate about how we should move the whole lot to Athlone!

  • #803261

    Anonymous

    Treading-on-eggshells outsider here, but… What about building on Leinster lawn? The ‘garden front’ of LH is very weak and LL seems a curiosity given the vast parkland expanse of Merrion Square. A monumental building centred on and slightly offset from MSq, flanked by the Nat Gall and Nat Hist Mus would be quite an exciting prospect and save rebuilding a lot of ancillary Govt buildings elsewhere. The prospect of all of this becoming a true ‘Cultural Island’ (cf. Berlin) is equally tantalising.
    Where in the centre would a new Oireachtas go? (Do I hear Phoenix Park?)

  • #803262

    Anonymous

    Phoenix Park is awkwardly removed from the existing complex with the Dept of the Taoiseach and Finance and so on; I imagine somewhere more central would be preferable, but it is hard to think of where.

  • #803263

    Anonymous

    Well there is always the 3 ugly sisters. Hawkins Hse, Apollo Hse and the other building on Townsend st which I can never remember it name. Knock these down and build a proper signature building which could also house various depts including health. And they own the site.

  • #803264

    Anonymous
    johnglas wrote:
    What about building on Leinster lawn? The ‘garden front’ of LH is very weak and LL seems a curiosity given the vast parkland expanse of Merrion Square. A monumental building centred on and slightly offset from MSq, flanked by the Nat Gall and Nat Hist Mus would be quite an exciting prospect and save rebuilding a lot of ancillary Govt buildings elsewhere. QUOTE]

    Now there’s an idea it might be worth getting the box of crayons out for!

  • #803265

    Anonymous

    do people really think that with all the expected cutbacks it would be sensible if even possible for the gov. to build a new complex in the city centre?

  • #803266

    Anonymous

    @gunter wrote:

    Now there’s an idea it might be worth getting the box of crayons out for!

    Would there really be enough space to move everthing or would this be an extension?

  • #803267

    Anonymous

    Well, since youse resident Dubs haven’t crapped all over the idea – the building would need to contain a new Dail chamber and a new Senate house and some ancillary accommodation (inc. underground parking); LH would be the ceremonial ‘front’ for receptions and visitors (allowing the plaza in front to be opened up as the grand public space it should be). All the other Govt buildings would stay as are. (I would have to demand the demolition and rebuilding of Agriculture House as my fee.)
    No firm ideas as to form, but the SothAfrican Parliament could be a starter.
    These are actually the Union Buildings in Pretoria; not exactly like that, but imagine the space in front as Merrion Square. Make it a statue of Biffo and he’ll go for it hook,line and… (‘Cutbacks, what cutbacks?’)

  • #803268

    Anonymous

    Hmmm – an interesting concept…

    Whereas neither the grandiosity of landscape nor expanse of site is available with Leinster Lawn, this idea is not without merit. Leinster Lawn is a surprisingly large site.

    Sadly it is not on axis with Merrion Square, precluding any attempt at a grand approach through the park, but nonetheless the potential for a ceremonial facade – I’m thinking a brick structure of 16th century extravagance here framed by the bone-coloured bookends of neighbouring classicals – enclosing the square for the first time in its history is significant.

    Some breathing space would be required however between the house and the new building, and with the adjacent Museum and Gallery, but could be achieved through welcome formal avenues and linear parks (allbethey closed to the public). Whether the character of the house would be unduly affected in terms of views from the rear is another question. What exactly would be housed in the new building is also a matter of some debate given neither the Dáil chamber nor the committee rooms, the press centre, restaurants and the vast majority of offices are even housed in Leinster House at all. Many of these facilities are also less than a decade old (though the majority is substantially more).

    There would also have to be a significant cultural payoff, and as such I would envisage the focus moving to Kildare Street – not least given security considerations – with a new open piazza forming the formal entrance to the complex with Leinster House at its core (I certainly would not envisage it remaining part of the Oireachtas complex), and moving westwards to encompass Kildare Place as a secondary civic space flanking a new cultural attraction on the site of the Department of Agriculture. The grand set-piece south elevation of the National Museum would also be exposed for the first time with such a development.

    These images give some idea of the grandeur of the forecourt of Leinster House at the turn of the 20th century – the closest Dublin ever got to a purpose-designed piazza of European proportions.

    Currently consumed by ranks of car parking and twelve foot baricades.

  • #803269

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    A whole new parliament building on Leinster Lawn would be an amazing project – that architects all around the world would queue up for. A great site bounded by the lovely blank facades of the gallery and natural history museum and the rear of Leinster House itself.

    Sadly the axis isn’t on with Merrion Square but that’s a minor quibble.

  • #803270

    Anonymous

    I had never realized how small Leinster House is compared to the Lawn: it’s tiny!

  • #803271

    Anonymous

    What about the kilkenny design block on Nassau street?; plenty of space there for a bicameral parliamentary building.

    Then of course there’s always the possibility of CPOing the Bank of Ireland, using the old house of lords as a seanad, either reconstructing the old commons or building a contemporary chamber inside the complex- restoring irish parliamentarism to its historical source on a plazified college green! Can you imagine it? 🙂

  • #803272

    Anonymous

    Oh, yes! It’s been the obvious solution for years, but…
    Downsides: (a) the BoI would probably use it as an excuse to go bankrupt;
    (b) civil servants would have to walk all the way from Govt Bldgs, etc.; and
    (c) it would be reintroducing a sense of historical continuity (irony).
    Otherwise, what’s the problem?

  • #803273

    Anonymous

    It’s less of a walk than from athlone or cahirciveen for that matter- the opportunity could also be taken to improve the disaster zone of westmoreland st. by putting td’s offices on the upper floors and high quality retail on the ground floors of the buildings there. A direct link between dublin’s 18th century golden age and our, well, less then golden one…

  • #803274

    Anonymous

    somebody told me that the OPW already have a plan for the complex and that it is groundbreaking. perhaps just a rumour.

  • #803275

    Anonymous

    The Bank of Ireland on College Green has always been a tempting idea and there is a huge amount on under-used space, (including surface car parks!) in behind it’s parliamentary walls (see some of the aerial shots posted recently by Graham) but, as with the Custom House and similar ideas, taking the Oireachtas out of one restricted historical building and sticking it in another, might not be the best solution.

    No, I’d put away all the other options, the Leinster Lawn idea is sheer genius.
    *I knew johnglas would come through in the end*

    No other option even comes close.

    It’s a free site, as the OPW are fond of saying.
    It’s a short tunnel away from Gov. buildings and the rest of the existing Kilfare Street apparatus of power.
    It closes an urban gap on Merrion Square.
    It closes the vista from Upper Mount Street, which at present is just a one way view.
    It creates the opportunity to integrate Leinster House into the cultural complex on Kildare St. which, as pointed out by Graham, was the 19th century intention.
    It creates the opportunity to for a new pedestrian link through the site between the Merrion Square and Molesworth Street.
    It creates an opportunity for a great new building.
    It densifies the city centre and tightens up the urban grain.
    The list just goes on and on.

    A quick stab at a block plan:


    Graphics are a bit arbitrary, but these would be the key points of a plan to me:

    A new east / west pedestrian route through a restored flanking colonnade to the north side of Leinster House.
    Provision for an extension to the Natural History Museum, who’s existing exhibition space must be retained without alteration, but with the addition of modern facilities in a new wing.
    A new Oireachtas building that visably contains two chambers.
    Personally I wouldn’t get too worked up about addressing the garden front of Leinster house in any formal way, but there is potential for an urban space here, (imagery escapes me for the moment).

    I wonder have any bright students of architecture done a recent thesis on something like this.
    We need images!

  • #803276

    Anonymous

    guys here is an idea, move IMMA to Leinster house, modern art in historical context, right beside the national gallery and accessible

    move the functions of goverment to the Royal Hospital, Heuston Gate can provide enough accomodation for all the related services.

    the Aras, Farmleigh and the Dail within a few km of eachother

    what do you think?

  • #803277

    Anonymous

    @aj wrote:

    . . . move the functions of goverment to the Royal Hospital . .

    We don’t want that sort around here.

    BTW, there was a plan for moving the Dail to the Royal Hospital published in ‘The Guardian’ about 1922. Some great lines in it about how the only people that would be upset by such a radical intervention would be ‘students of door-posts!’

  • #803278

    Anonymous

    Looking at that aerial image what about in Government Builidngs. A chamber in each wing. Would require the relocation of D. of Finance and Attorney General but it would leave the Parliament in a fittingly grand building

  • #803279

    Anonymous

    Mountjoy anyone:rolleyes:

  • #803280

    Anonymous

    gunter: It’s even better than that; apparently, the august senators of the Republic (as it wasn’t quite then) objected that they might hear the brayings of the tribunes of the people from next door (it was proposed that the Senate should be in the chapel – I think – and the assembly in the old dining hall, or whatever)! The acoustics were awful as well, it appears. (See Leinster House Griffin & Pegum, IAA/OPW 2000 – fascinating stuff, a bit heavy on the furniture/decorative side, but good illustrations.)

  • #803281

    Anonymous

    There were also suggestion in the ’60s – possibly based on the 1922 suggestions, not fully put to bed – to relocate the Dail to the RHK, and to concentrate the functions of the NUI in Leinster House. This was when UCD was still in the Terrace, and the idea of an ‘academic axis’ (I’ve mentioned it here before) between Trinity and UCD via Kildare Street/Merrion Square West was proposed. However, some people had other ideas about the location of UCD and the ‘sphere of influence’ of the other place down the road… and now he has a building named after him in UCD. Philistine.

    There was a pamphlet published by a group called Tuairim in the mid-’60s that addressed the issue of the location of UCD- city centre or suburbs. I think that’s where I discovered this proposal.

  • #803282

    admin
    Keymaster
    GrahamH wrote:
    It is a crying shame to see the house &#8211]

    I beg to differ with you young man !
    well i don’t really, just wanted to say that 😉

    Of course much of what you say is true. The house itself is not an ideal host & the parliament has essentially been shoe horned in there, but the primary issue here is one of long term neglect. Successive governments have been simply afraid to inject the resources necessary, while heavy use & some shocking 1980’s decor has clearly taken its toll.

    For those not too familiar with the interior, some shots from oireachtas.ie

    The Lobby from the Kildare St. entrance

    and its impressive ceiling

    The entrance from Leinster Lawn, with its dreadful carpet

    The Ceann Comhairle’s office, prior to the installation of some very expensive curtains costing 12,000 euro.

    The Library, one of the finest rooms

    The Seanad Chamber

    and its Ante Room

    The unfortunate visitors staircase Graham referred to

    More to post, will have to leave it till later.

  • #803283

    admin
    Keymaster

    Staircase to the Dail Chamber, with its manky carpet

    really manky carpet

    and the chamber itself …

    I wouldn’t be quite as harsh as Graham, but agree that the upper reaches generally not visible on camera, need some serious work, the glazing and lighting are dreadful.

    and the ‘auld curtain concealing the electronic voting panel doesn’t help either.

    The seldom seen panel … installed during 03/04 i think

    Even so, there’s something I quite like about the chamber & given the appropriate intervention, it could make a fine home for the lower house.

  • #803284

    Anonymous

    This idea of a purpose built parliament building on Leinster Lawn, fronting Merrion Square, is brilliant, well thought up I have to say. Gives a new public square and everything.I think going down towards Phoenix Park is too far from gov department offices and other gov offices. failing above, I say old Parliament building, although maybe it’s cramped, I don’t know

  • #803285

    Anonymous

    I think Leinster Lawn would cause uproar…

    The college green site has plenty of space inside it for both houses of the oireachtas and more flexibility than you would imagine. Remember; the outside wall is just a screen.

    The other reason I like the college green idea so much is it’s historical significance; this was where ireland’s first constitutional freedoms were achieved. Abolishing this assembly, putting a bank into the former house of parliament and enforcing the destruction of the commons chamber was a calculated political insult and the act which more than any other stripped the island of it’s economic independence and precipitated the long 19th century economic decline of dublin.

    How better to symbolize an irish or dublin “renaissance” than to return irish democracy to it’s spiritual home? What an inspiration this could be for our politicians; and what a gift to the city 🙂

    The building is simply stunning and deserves a more representative purpose..

  • #803286

    Anonymous

    @searbh wrote:

    I think Leinster Lawn would cause uproar…

    The college green site has plenty of space inside it for both houses of the oireachtas and more flexibility than you would imagine. Remember; the outside wall is just a screen.

    How better to symbolize an irish or dublin “renaissance” than to return irish democracy to it’s spiritual home? What an inspiration this could be for our politicians; and what a gift to the city 🙂

    The building is simply stunning and deserves a more representative purpose..

    Agree with you about the merits of B of I, College Green, but the problems are going to be:

    1. it may be too remote from the secretariate services at Merrion Street and Kildare Street with very little obvious scope for ‘office’ facilities on site.

    2. The banking hall (by Francis Johnson?) is now an intrinsic part of the building and it wouldn’t be easy to carve out a new Dail chamber out of a the remaining warren of existing spaces, all of which have their own heritage value.

    I do think there’s an inevitability about this building one day become Ireland’s parliament house again, but not in the foreseeable (next couple of hundred years) future. Perhaps when the Civil Service has been slimmed down to three guys with notebooks, they could try it again.

    On Leinster Lawn, I don’t see much evidence of uproar yet!

  • #803287

    Anonymous

    There is no room at College Green, plain and simple: Leinster Lawn is pure genius provided the new building is sufficiently separated from Leinster House to permit the reopening of Kildare Place and the forecourt and the reuse of Leinster house for cultural purposes.

  • #803288

    Anonymous

    @binki wrote:

    somebody told me that the OPW already have a plan for the complex and that it is groundbreaking. perhaps just a rumour.

    Spill the beans. Go on, you must know more than that!
    and don’t pretend to be asleep, it’s not half eleven.

  • #803289

    Anonymous

    that voting panel is priceless – like an Atari 2600

  • #803290

    Anonymous

    the lawn is a good idea and/or BOI CPO

    if the politicians are really sneaky they will move to some island or somewhere with no public transport and therefore no more easy protests…

    we could also have a tunnel to connect metro north so they could drive out of the city fast:p

    the goldplated dailuas:D

    and the…

    dailunderground interconnector…

    been watching to much batman!

  • #803291

    Anonymous

    Straying a bit OT here but worth a punt nonetheless…..:)
    Has anybody a view on the “Siopa” which is now trading at the Kildare St entrance to Leinster House….?

    I still have difficulty concealing my Glee?….Exazperation?….Bewilderment?…..in fact I`m unsure of What emotions are stirred deep within me as I struggle to come to terms with the thought processes which resulted in the design,construction and placement of this ediface

    I rather think that Bucholz-McAvoy must have struggled to embrace this particular brief as what we have now resembles my garden shed after I have just pulled it apart searching for an important impliment my wife has put away for safe keeping.

    The interesting aspect to this yoke is how easy it is to completely miss it as one promenades past in the Autumn sunshine….Its only when one peers through the railings or looks down from the top deck of a passing bus does one see the corner-shop in all its true glory:D

    At least Bu-McA incorporated a bit of an oul “Shelter” to keep the meejia dry as they attempt to pry the truth out of some Politician in the manner of wresting the Rifle from Charlton Heston`s cold dead hands….:eek:

    Even in today`s Irish Independent article we see how the Shops staffing by persons from the National Rehabilitation Centre has to be referred to in some form of attempt to justify it`s presence.

    In the broader context of this topic this Siopa nua really does underline how little these Philistines comprehend of any form of culture,let alone Architecture :rolleyes:

  • #803292

    Anonymous

    The shop beggars belief. A battery of chocolate bars… I’d love to know what the rationale behind its construction was.
    “Them kids need sweeties” seems to have been the expensive long and short of it.

    Regarding Leinster House, yes it’s pokey. Ridiculously so. But it’s the home of the parliament of an independent Irish state and I get goosebumps every time I walk past the Kildare St entrance and see the tricolour flying above it. It’s also the indisputable symbol of Irish democracy.

    Architecturally,. the Seanad is housed in probably one of the finest legislative chambers in Europe. The room is exquisite, always the highlight for me of the mundane tours of the building. And the Dail chamber is a very handsome one, as another thread here has briefly expounded upon. The upper deck, so to speak, is a bit ould looking but the House of Commons looks very peculiar when you see the galleries above it too.This all being said, the naive little patriot inside me is biased when it comes to rooms as “sacred” as these, perhaps :p

    But give us the Kildare St forecourt back!!! The Museum and Library have had their entrances robbed from them for the last 80years. It always feels like you’re sidling into them when you go in the main doors – and these are two of Dublin finest Victorian buildings that we’re talking about.

  • #803293

    admin
    Keymaster

    @fergair wrote:

    Regarding Leinster House, yes it’s pokey. Ridiculously so. But it’s the home of the parliament of an independent Irish state and I get goosebumps every time I walk past the Kildare St entrance and see the tricolour flying above it. It’s also the indisputable symbol of Irish democracy.

    Architecturally,. the Seanad is housed in probably one of the finest legislative chambers in Europe. The room is exquisite, always the highlight for me of the mundane tours of the building. And the Dail chamber is a very handsome one, as another thread here has briefly expounded upon. The upper deck, so to speak, is a bit ould looking but the House of Commons looks very peculiar when you see the galleries above it too.This all being said, the naive little patriot inside me is biased when it comes to rooms as “sacred” as these, perhaps

    But give us the Kildare St forecourt back!!! The Museum and Library have had their entrances robbed from them for the last 80years. It always feels like you’re sidling into them when you go in the main doors – and these are two of Dublin finest Victorian buildings that we’re talking about.

    I’d tend to agree with you fergair.

    I’m not too sure what to make of modern parliament chambers, they generally leave me a little cold.

    Aside from the Bundestag’s impressive dome & the thinking behind it, the chamber itself seems to follow a fairly generic format that is almost standard across europe, little to distinguish one from the other in many cases.

    The dutch lower house, fairly depressing and also quite typical

    Scotland – probably the finest modern parliament chamber to date

    I think the heavy tiering in the Dail chamber creates a particular atmosphere (ok ok, when full) – something i’d like to see borrowed by modern interpretations.

    In general i’d be loathe to start from scratch & would prefer to see parliament housed in a building that is steeped in our history. The Bank of Ireland is the only altermative for me, the first purpose built parliament house in the world, its not the place for a faceless bank.

    Adjoining buildings on Foster Place / Dame Street & Westmoreland could be utilised if additional office space etc. is required. The main issue imo would be the distance from Government Buildings on Merrion St.

    Again, no government here would get away with spending the likely 200m+ to relocate, i’ll bet a refurb of Lenister house, which will cost a fair few quid in itself, is all that will ever happen.

  • #803294

    Anonymous

    PeterFitz: interesting to see your picture and generous comment on the Scottish Parliament bldg; I’m not a great fan of the new complex, but the chamber is definitely the best part of it (as it should be) – although even here the roofwork is grotesquely over-engineered and the desks for the MSPs seem to me quirkily self-indulgent. But it looks and feels well when you see it in the flesh (although I haven’t attended a debate there). The German and Dutch examples are so bland by comparison.
    I’m hoping to get over to Dublin at the beginning of December: how do you get a tour of Leinster House (I’ve done Govt Bldgs)?

  • #803295

    Anonymous

    With some difficulty! There are no organised public tours – you’ll need to butter up a TD or two (and don’t get me started on the Cabinet corridor of Government Buildings).

    As much as the Bank of Ireland is desirable as a location for parliament (incidentally they don’t own it anymore, they flogged it a couple of years ago for something like a piddling €15 million), as has been mentioned there is simply no adequate space for the truly enormous ancillary accommodation required, and makes little sense to move from one compromised historic site to another. Security is the other major consideration, and such an exposed site on all sides would probably render it unsuitable. The latter also has the potential to interfere unduly with the character of the main facade, and you could say goodbye to any attempts to declutter the forecourt and increase public access. Saying all that, the Banking Hall would be an ideal space for the Dáil Chamber – I don’t see any problem in that respect. TDs could also have great fun marching around Pearce’s abulatory corridors West Wing style, with the top lighting and deep shadows catching on blank sheets of vital State documents.

    Now this yoke.

    As pretty as the chandeliers are with their sparkily candle bulbs (all long since replaced with nasty lumps of plastic CFLs), this area between the house and the Dáil Chamber surely must win the award for the most hideous ceremonial space in the country. When the Victorians did it badly, my god they pulled all the stops out. And then we added to it with the upper floating bridge decks, reinforced concrete columns with faux marble veining, and head wrecking carpets and curtains. Lovely stuff. The stunning 18th century bookcase the only saving grace.

    No I agree Peter that the Dáil Chamber is an elegant space, and very well designed at the lower levels (although recent wheelchair provision has compromised the entire ensemble). No expense was spared back in the 1920s. The problem is the investment stopped half way up, resulting in the upper levels having never been fully resolved. They were added to piecemeal with the public gallery roundabout the 1930s and then the Royal Dublin Hotelesque champange-coloured aluminium glazing arrived probably in the 1960s, infilled in a manner that looks like bare wood and sheets of plywood from a distance. All of this needs major work.

    The only reason the entrance hall looks so stunning is because the money was attained directly from Europe in anticipation of one of the European Presidencies. This is one of the few areas where real investment has been made (along with the Dáil bar) including the comprehensive Leinster House 2000 project to the north of the house.

    The Seanad Chamber is extremely elegant, but overly cramped, and regardless of aesthethics one would have concerns about the affect of such heavy use on the fabric of the building. What level of structural intervention is required to sustain this use into the future? The PVC secondary glazing is similarly unacceptable but is obviously there for a reason associated with the Chamber…

    Personally I think both the house and parliament would benefit from the removal of the Oireachtas away from the main house in favour of a new build on the Lawn. I’m in two minds about the Dail Chamber itself however – it’s really of such quality and iconic status to warrant full retention at its present location. The potential for a dramatic contemporary roof structure encasing the historic furnishings however is a concept I find very appealling. This would also serve to highlight the original fittings, a rare example of 1920s furniture design in Ireland, and the last gasp of the classical school and indeed that of large scale mahogany installations on a European level.

  • #803296

    Anonymous

    Of course those of you interested in seeing the building can do so on Friday evening during Culture Night

  • #803297

    admin
    Keymaster

    @johnglas wrote:

    PeterFitz: interesting to see your picture and generous comment on the Scottish Parliament bldg]

    I probably should have qualified my comments about the Scottish Chamber – ‘probably the finest modern parliament chamber to date’, its not so hard when all your contemporaries seem to specialise in bland surfaces with lashings of royal blue upholstery :rolleyes: it is a pretty impressive space nonetheless.

    Graham is spot on about the tours, its not so easy unfortunately – your best bet is to see if you can tag along with another – i’d email the event desk – eventdesk@oireachtas.ie and play the innocent tourist. More info on:

    http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?fn=/documents/FAQ/document2.htm

    @grahamh wrote:

    Personally I think both the house and parliament would benefit from the removal of the Oireachtas away from the main house in favour of a new build on the Lawn. I’m in two minds about the Dail Chamber itself however – it’s really of such quality and iconic status to warrant full retention at its present location. The potential for a dramatic contemporary roof structure encasing the historic furnishings however is a concept I find very appealling. This would also serve to highlight the original fittings, a rare example of 1920s furniture design in Ireland, and the last gasp of the classical school and indeed that of large scale mahogany installations on a European level.

    Now I’d settle for that 😉 The upper half is desperately crying out for a complete re design – your contemporary roof suggestion could be stunning.

    So perhaps a new home for the Seanad & other facilities in a signature building on Leinster Lawn, while allowing the main house itself to be completely restored, uses for some of its fine refurbished rooms anyone ?

    Our Senators would also have to justify their existence before any such investment on a new Seanad was made. They need to be directly elected, at local election time, and the numbers appointed by the government of the day significatnly reduced – basically some chance that they might actually return a bill & be more than a rubber stamping operation.

  • #803298

    Anonymous


    I think this would better suit those massive FF egos. :rolleyes:

  • #803299

    Anonymous

    The Knesset is a nice 1960s example, or how about that floaty pulpit one from Star Wars? We don’t want to end up with some ‘Seanad only’ Meath County Council lookalike.

  • #803300

    Anonymous

    so is there modern plan of leinster house to show where all these poor civil servants are working?

  • #803301

    Anonymous

    How about dismantling the Leinster house Dáil chamber and reconstructing it with a contemporary roof design at college green? The former house of lords could be used as a seanad chamber.

    There is really much more space around here than people imagine: extending the complex north to Fleet St. (obliterating that multi story car park on the way!) and west to Anglesea St. gives you just as much room as at present in Kildare St.

    Building on Leinster Lawn would disrupt one of the last intact historical buliding ensembles in the city: are there any examples of this kind of thing being done well in our recent history? We have built very little to the highest modern aesthetic standards in dublin in recent times and this is no place for an experiment.

    Maybe Leinster House could be reassigned as a taoiseach’s or presidential residence?

  • #803302

    Anonymous

    PeterFitz: thanks for the tip; I’ll try that. I feel a bit like Candide having innocently triggered such a debate about LL. It did have some purpose when the House was a private house, but the integrity is already compromised and it did at one point host a major exhibition in the mid-19thC.
    I do like the Dail chamber, but I agree the upper stages and the curtain(!) are seriously naff. The Chamber is interesting in that it is a compromise between the Westminster layout (opposing benches and therefore ‘confrontational’) and the ‘auditorium’ model (and therefore ‘consensual’). I don’t buy any of this ‘consensual’ mush; politics is a blood sport and government is deadly serious. So, indeed GrahamH, keep the Dail chamber.
    But the Lawn is still a good place for the Senate House, with ancillary bldgs. You’ll not be surprised gunter that I’d prefer a more symmetrical layout (with perhaps a mere ‘neo-classical’ hint – Benito wasn’t all bad) than your notional plan, but a good contemporary infill would also fit the bill. Anyway, this is fantasy architecture, so:
    Our democracy is more derived from Rome than Greece and isn’t that picture of Catiline cowering alone while being denounced by Cicero so inspired (‘Sic semper tyrannis!’). The Curia Iulia might look like a garden shed stripped of its ornament, but the Senatus Romanus did operate from this modest building. Pics from Wikipedia.

  • #803303

    Anonymous

    my god that carpet is dreadful

  • #803304

    Anonymous

    @johnglas wrote:

    I do like the Dail chamber . . . .
    . . . but the Lawn is still a good place for the Senate House, with ancillary bldgs.

    No. stop this we’re diluting the idea.

    The idea was: Build a new parliament house on Leinster Lawn, two chambers, no compromises!

    The existing mahogany job is an ok lecture hall, (built as such by the RDS, was it not?) but it’s no great shakes and nothing historical ever happened in it, anything interesting happened in College Green or the Mansion House.

    Without a proper parliament chamber, this idea just becomes an office block with a board room. I’m not sacrificing Leinster Lawn for that.

    I thought the hit was: getting the culchies out of Leinster House completely and adding it, and the lecture hall, back into the Kildare Street cultural complex mix.

    For once, can we not do the usual half-assed Irish thing.

    We want a purpose built parliament building; we want a new pedestrian link through this currently impenetrable block from Molesworth Street to Merrion Square; we want the biggest and best Georgian house in the city restored and open to the public and, we want a restored, expanded and enhanced ‘dead zoo’,

    don’t we?

    *and yes, the carpet has to go*.

  • #803305

    Anonymous

    Sorry, sir…

  • #803306

    Anonymous

    Choc horror as Dail sweet shop costs over €1 million

    SOME DÁIL members were choking on their choccies when the new sweetie shop opened recently at parliament’s Kildare Street entrance: just how much did the impressive structure cost?

    The new “An Siopa” was designed by hotshot architects Bucholz McEvoy to mirror the classy entrance pavilion next door for which they won an award.

    They also designed the entrance huts on the Merrion Square side as part of an overall commission from the OPW. All very well, but Olivia Mitchell TD, for one, wondered at the cost of such a glorious chocolate box, in light of the fact that it took about three years to build. “It is effectively a lean-to on a clear site so it is hard to know how it could take so long, especially since the OPW has experience in this area,” she says. “It became a sort of joke in Leinster House, we felt the Taj Mahal took less time to build.”

    Having asked a question in the Dáil, she was told that while the final accounts had not been completed, it was reckoned that the new building cost €800,000 excluding VAT and internal fittings. Total cost then is like to be over €1 million.

    The Siopa is roughly 40sq m (431sq ft) – the size of many a household extension. The latest Bruce Shaw Handbook says that shops are costing around €1,050-€1,600 to build per sq m. Really smart commercial buildings can cost up to €6,000 per sq m, according to an industry source. The Siopa is coming in at around €20,000 per sq m, which may not surprise many a homeowner whose extension ended up costing way over the builders and architects estimates.

    No doubt the costs were eaten up by the impressive building materials, conservation studies and cutting-edge technology: and the fridges deemed necessary to keep chocolate from melting what with all that glass.

    For really hot days, the building has sun visors, window defrosters and adjustable air nozzles.

    As chocoholics know, you just can’t put a price on well preserved confectionery.

    Irish Times 28 February 2008

    Total cost then is like to be over €1 million.

  • #803307

    Anonymous

    @gunter wrote:

    NThe existing mahogany job is an ok lecture hall, (built as such by the RDS, was it not?) but it’s no great shakes and nothing historical ever happened in it, anything interesting happened in College Green or the Mansion House..[/I]

    Er – other than the fact it has been our parliament since 1922 then no nothing interesting has happened there (akin to saying nothing interesting has happened at westminster since the germans bombed it but hey-ho)

    I think that any spend on a new parliament building of any sort would be frowned on, particularly given the current state of government popularity. Leinster house will be rewired and made structurally sound and none of the flights of fancy will happen

  • #803308

    Anonymous

    if only we had someone of Haughey’s vision to spend tens of millions on it while the economy was in shite eh?

  • #803309

    Anonymous

    You mean while construction costs are low?

  • #803310

    Anonymous

    ah touché

  • #803311

    Anonymous

    🙂

    gunter, it is a common perception that most of the Dáil Chamber dates to the 1890s, when in fact the vast majority of it dates to the conversion of 1924-1926. All of the furnishings were purpose-made for parliament, and the lecture theatre throughly altered. Little other than the columns and railings (much reproduction) remains.

    Rather than rehearsing some details I’ll just paste this link to an older thread:

    http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=5325

    (frightening that was two years ago – seems like last week).

    There are some extraordinary photographs of the lecture theatre from 1922-1924 with an enormous and extremely dubious temporary platform structure raising the entire floor level to that of lower balcony level shown here (1890s).

    A railing of industrial proportions protected the Ceann Comhairle from plunging to a certain death on the floor below.

    I would also just add that prior to the erection of the ravishing curtain and ill-proportioned timber panelling and doors at journo gallery level, there were once two handsome mahogany doorcases with lintel tops supported by scrolled brackets. It looks like these were removed in the 1930s in favour of the current arrangement.

    I absolutely agree that any new parliament building on the Lawn must have dignity of purpose and host both Houses. There is little point otherwise. A glorifed office block, however well designed, would fall flat in the context of what would be lost, while also completely defeating the purpose of giving architectural expression to parliament. Exactly the same situation as at present would ensue – a compromised white elephant would become the public face while parliament continued to be conducted in a converted shed out the back.

    I would propose moving the entire lower Dáil ensemble to an elegant contemporary setting within the new building. It would require real ingenuity, and have the potential to be absolutely spectacular.

  • #803312

    Anonymous

    I don’t like the modern parliament chambers either, european parliament & scottish parliament chambers leave me cold, give me the House of Commons with everyone packed in any day. 🙂

  • #803313

    Anonymous

    @rory W wrote:

    Er – other than the fact it has been our parliament since 1922 then no nothing interesting has happened there (akin to saying nothing interesting has happened at westminster since the germans bombed it but hey-ho)

    OK, on mature reflection, it was wrong of me to be dismissive of our public representatives and their acivities in de house, but if we look at our school history books, most of the momentous stuff, Grattan’s parliament, the first Dail etc., took place in the other buildings mentioned. To me, this fact gives us the opportunity to consider the creation of an entirely new building, an opportunity that other countries, with purpose built parliament houses, don’t have, or would never need.

    Remember, the idea (not mine) of a new purpose built parliament house, came about as an alternative to the major structural interventions that, it was reported, Leinster House may require to keep it functioning as the Oireachtas, you know, moving forward.

    And OK it was also wrong of me to refer to our elected representatives as ‘culchies’, when perhaps little over half of them are actual culchies.

    @grahamh wrote:

    gunter, it is a common perception that most of the Dáil Chamber dates to the 1890s, when in fact the vast majority of it dates to the conversion of 1924-1926. All of the furnishings were purpose-made for parliament, and the lecture theatre throughly altered. Little other than the columns and railings (much reproduction) remains.

    I didn’t know that Graham.

    You’re probably right that the current Dail chamber has significant architectural merit in it’s own right, I had never thought of it that way. The mahogany always reminded me of a court room and the blue carpet, if it smelled of popcorn, I’d say cinema.

    I do like your last idea: relocate the good parts of the Dail chamber to a new parliament house on Leinster Lawn, This would have the added benefit of uncluttering the south wing of Leinster House and maybe increase the connection possibilities between the National Museum on Kildare Street and the Natural History Museum on Merrion Street.

    The possibilities with this idea are just endless.

    If this gets off the ground, it will elevate johnglas to guru status!

    Are we ready for this?:)

    P.S. Is that a futuristic robot, or a prototype espresso machine in your b&w photo?

  • #803314

    Anonymous

    @sunnydub wrote:

    I don’t like the modern parliament chambers either, european parliament & scottish parliament chambers leave me cold, give me the House of Commons with everyone packed in any day. 🙂

    some of the ones pictured don’t seem to have sides facing each other either. Sure that’s nonsense. How does one wag ones finger, wave one’s briefing or roll ones eyes in full view of the speaker if the adversarial nature of the political game is designed out?

  • #803315

    admin
    Keymaster

    Interesting shot of the original layout Graham, it all looks a bit precarious !

    @grahamh wrote:

    I would propose moving the entire lower Dáil ensemble to an elegant contemporary setting within the new building. It would require real ingenuity, and have the potential to be absolutely spectacular.

    Would definitely agree with that. Any modern chamber i’ve seen really has little to recommend itself – I’m just not convinced that we would end up with anyting better than the lower layout we have now should it be decided to go down the road of entirely new build. Saving the lower portion and setting in a completely new context would get my vote 😀

    Here’s Canberra ( I hate the notion of political capitals )

    Given Ireland’s history, its probably one of few chambers in Europe that dates from the early 1900’s. Most European states have the benefit of long established parliament houses with lavish chambers.

    Whatever happens, the area between Leinster House, National Museum & the National Library needs to be re-designed & returned to the city ! And as usual, the London Planes out front have to go.

  • #803316

    Anonymous

    Interesting that Canberra has chosen the ‘compromise’ model with both opposing and semi-circular banches, but both chambers look sterile and are too ‘exploded’ – you need intimacy (don’t we all!) while ensuring public access.
    It’s not true, incidentally, that ‘most’ European countries have very ancient parliamentary chambers – most states were autocracies with little need for parliaments or assemblies; only after the Revolution of 1789 did France get one (and in spite of what Westminster thinks, modern democracy stems form France and America) – even Westminster dates only from the 1840s (Barry and Pugin). There are very few European countries with a continual history of democracy since their founding: Belgium, Norway, Finland and, of course, Ireland (possibly Switzerland, but that’s a very special case). So, the Dail chamber does matter and it’s important to conserve it or the spirit of it.

    The guru (gunter, how could you!?).

  • #803317

    Anonymous

    @johnglas wrote:

    even Westminster dates only from the 1840s (Barry and Pugin).

    1840s/1940s 🙂

    Canberra’s lower house is nonetheless quite pleasant in spite of its vacuousness, with effective use of colour and materials. If ever one wanted to experience the workings of parliament from inside a giant Aero bar, this is the place to be.

  • #803318

    Anonymous

    @johnglas wrote:

    The guru (gunter, how could you!?).

    Sorry johnglas, I just don’t want people to forget that this was your idea.

    . . . so if it all goes horribly wrong, and a future tribunal determines that we could have got four new acute hospitals, or 90 miles of Luas track, for the same money, we’ll know who to blame! 🙂

    Anyway, can’t hang about, ‘culture night’ is upon us and there’s free stuff to be had.

  • #803319

    Anonymous

    GrahamH: yes, of course; but The Greatest Englishman (sic) Who Has Ever Lived, Ever (Sir Winston Churchill, that is) wanted the Commons chamber to be reinstated in its antebellum state – how far they actually did this, I’m not sure.
    gunter: Here we don’t have ‘culture night’, but we do have Doors Open Day this weekend.

  • #803320

    admin
    Keymaster

    @johnglas wrote:

    Interesting that Canberra has chosen the ‘compromise’ model with both opposing and semi-circular banches, but both chambers look sterile and are too ‘exploded’ – you need intimacy (don’t we all!) while ensuring public access.

    Exactly. Opposing benches, tiering & intimacy all essential elements.

    johnglas wrote:
    It’s not true, incidentally, that ‘most’ European countries have very ancient parliamentary chambers – most states were autocracies with little need for parliaments or assemblies]

    Point taken! Wasn’t referring to democratic chambers of parliament necessarily but chambers / lecture halls that existed for one reason or another & could be easily adapted.

    The French National Assembly in the Palais Bourbon, fairly typical example – adapted in the 1830’s

    Madrid

    Rome

  • #803321

    Anonymous

    Gobsmacking! Interesting that all of these adopt a semi-circular ‘Roman’ model – more a theatre than an assembly. I think one of the great strengths of both the Commons and the Dail (and the new Scottish parliament) is that it is the Speaker (by whatever name s/he is known) and not just whoever happens to be the head of government for the time being who dominates (presides). All politicians must address the assembly from their seat and are therefore ‘equal’. So, it is the assembly, representing the people, which is dominant, not ‘the leader’.
    These ‘theatre’ semi-circuses provide a podium from which to grandstand. ‘C’est magnifique, mais est-ce la democratie?’ But they are magnificent, aren’t they!?

  • #803322

    Anonymous

    and the most bipolar parliament has the most circular room

    look at those ceilings in madrd and france

    what does out ceiling look like?

  • #803323

    admin
    Keymaster

    May as well throw in the commons chamber, again the upper reaches are rarely seen, its all quite fussy up there, given the simplicity of the layout below …

    Agreed about the commons & dail layouts johnglas, though i think the “U” or Horse Shoe type layout works best … making it possible for all members of the opposition to directly face the head of government & have a good shouting match. The directly opposing benches & facing dispatch boxes do make for good political theatre, but i wouldn’t like to be the lib dems shoved down the end !

    The new welsh chamber is definitely worth a mention –

    Odd circular layout, better suited to a comittee room type setup than a debating chamber i would have thought.

    The fairly plain chamber floor gives way to a spectacular undulating funnel that runs through the heart of the building providing natural light to the chamber itself.

    As with many other modern chambers so much effort seems to go in to the roof structure – all well & good but at eye level bland walls & surfaces pervade – bundesstag, canberra, welsh assembly, european parliament all cases in point.

  • #803324

    Anonymous

    It looks less brilliant from the outside. I remember hearing comments that it looks like an inflated community centre :p
    Anyone know any good books on parliamentary architecture? It’s an interest of mine but doesn’t particularly seem to be one indulged by publishers.

  • #803325

    Anonymous

    where are the offices in/for the welsh chamber?

  • #803326

    Anonymous

    I think we’ve hit on an interesting thread here; there is a great deal of guff (imo) about ‘transparency’, which is interpreted in an architectural way by having big windows and seeing ‘into’ the assembly chamber (council or parliamentary), but of course you are seeing only the front, not the back, where the real horsetrading is done. The U-shape allows for both consensus and confontation, the C-shape mainly for haranguing and grandstanding, while the O-shape can perform much the same function as the U (note that even the Welsh assembly has a definite visual focus in the president’s chair), although I think it’s more suited to council chamber. The I-I shape of the Commons is too particular and dated. (I agree PeterFitz that the upper stages are fussy, but the woodwork is superb.)
    I like noisy and rumbunctious chambers; maybe it’s all theatre, but just occasionally it does work (remember Geoffrey Howe’s quiet demolition of Thatcher?).

  • #803327

    admin
    Keymaster
    johnglas wrote:
    I like noisy and rumbunctious chambers]

    Few as noisy & rumbunctious as the commons! would often find myself watching pmq’s just for the entertainment value. Its a shame our own government has to hide behind scripted questions & answers. There’s been a few such occassions in the Dail, the verbal demolition of Albert Reynolds stands out, a sustained 30 minute attack by Mary Harney in particular (not sure he deserved it in hindsight) & the theatre of labour physically crossing the house live on tv.

  • #803328

    Anonymous

    to answer my own question it looks like there a five minute walk between the welsh fancy parliament and their offices.

  • #803329

    Anonymous

    @lostexpectation wrote:

    to answer my own question it looks like there a five minute walk between the welsh fancy parliament and their offices.

    It’s not a parliament – it’s an assembly

    “My school used to have an assembly” – which was the line I used in Cardiff last time I was over there 😉

  • #803330

    Anonymous

    On a serious note though – if we are going to have the dail and seanad out for a few years, why not use the European Hall and St Patricks Hall in Dublin Castle as a temporary Dail whilst Leinster House is restored

  • #803331

    admin
    Keymaster

    @rory W wrote:

    why not use the European Hall and St Patricks Hall in Dublin Castle as a temporary Dail whilst Leinster House is restored

    That would make sense alright, sufficient space & adequate security.

  • #803332

    Anonymous

    Let’s leave them there. The Castle would be a fantastic location for a parliament.

  • #803333

    Anonymous

    but then it would be more or less lost to public use, the courts, the dubh-linn garden where they had Africa day, access to the Chester Beatty, the Green Energy concert; don’t take them away.

  • #803334

    Anonymous

    Well, in honesty the public get to see only one of the four sides of the courtyard. Leave that one, sure. Although I’m sure the Seanad Cathaoirleach would like very much to have a certain seat inside a certain room 😉

    Am I wrong in thinking that Collins Barracks was also considered as a location for Parliament?

  • #803335

    Anonymous

    Oh pretty much every location was considered. The RHK was the only real runner, with extensive drawings made, but as mentioned the limiting accommodation coupled with the distant location made it unsuitable. What ruled the Castle out was the fact that the functions of the Four Courts required immediate relocation following the Civil War – the Castle proved the most suitable with a variety of large ceremonial rooms suited for court use. Thus Dublin Castle served as the national court complex from 1922 right up until c. 1930, ruling out any parlimentary use. As an interesting aside, fergal, the lion, unicorn and crown were removed from the throne canopy in order for the Supreme Court to be housed in the Throne Room. They weren’t re-erected until the 1950s after they were discovered in storage (though they were positioned the wrong way around upon reinstatement).

    A further interesting detail, and its curious that you mention the Cathaoirleach’s chair, is that I am completely convinced that the current Cathaoirleach’s chair in the Seanad is in fact one of the Viceregal thrones dating to the late 19th century. It’s generally known (if not always actively made known) that the Presidential throne for used for inaugurations every seven years is a re-upholstered and slightly altered Viceregal throne, with the crown motif removed and other minor decorative changes made. What is not generally known is that there were two Viceregal thrones – a pair made in the late 19th century for the Viceroy and Vicerine to perch upon in St. Patrick’s Hall during occasions of state. One of these is the Presidential throne, the other I am sure was pragmatically recycled in the frugal 1920s for use as the Cathaoirleach’s seat in the newly created Seanad Chamber. Indeed upon enquiring about it in Leinster House, I got the most bizarrely gruff and awkward hasty rebuttal I have ever heard that it merely confirmed the suspicions.

    The timber forms of Wales are beautiful, but agreed that too little focus nowadays tends to be placed on both the form of the seating and its design. Though its fair to say every parliament choses a layout that suits them best, the design of the lower levels is so critcal to the public image of the chamber yet doesn’t seem to get the attention that the inevitable iconic ceiing treatment receives. Agreed this element requires greater consideration and that its form works as much as a television set as it does a piece of living architecture.

  • #803336

    Anonymous

    From Wikipedia:

    The Viceregal throne is the former throne of the Viceroy of Ireland (the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland). A set of thrones, one for the Viceroy and one for his wife, the Vicereine, were used on state occasions in Dublin Castle. The set were photographed on a dias in St. Patrick’s Hall in an image in the Lawrence Collection, now owned by the National Library of Ireland.

    Graham, you’re right! What is presumably the Vicereine’s throne is being used in the Senate! That beading or whatever it is down the sides of the chair is identical. If the Cathaoirleach’s head was slightly askew, we could see if a scroll topped his chair too.

    And, by the power of Greyskull… I mean, Oireachtas.ie:

    The tops are somewhat different. Not that doesn’t make you wrong in assessing the chair’s progeny.

  • #803337

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    Leinster House plan

  • #803338

    Anonymous

    so is that the dail on the left???

  • #803339

    Anonymous

    It really is tiny, isn’t it? No, that’s the Oireachtas library there on the left, the Seanad’s on the floor directly above and the Dail is down that corridor on the right, out of the building entirely.

    There’s actually some quite interesting stuff on the design rationale for that new extension they built a few yrs back. Which I will wander off and try to find…

    *UPDATE, yeah I can’t find it but there is some good waffle on extending the “Parliamentary Corridor” into the new wing. The augustly named Parliamentary Corridor is the plain old first floor corridor, which by luck is on axis with the two chambers.

  • #803340

    Anonymous
  • #803341

    admin
    Keymaster

    OK, now don’t go through me here, the following is just a suggestion …

    There is a fairly magnfiicent reading room, not a million miles away and in the shape of a horse-shoe no less – so is the long term solution to the capacity problems of Leinster House not staring us in the face, that is that its flanking wings – The National Library & National Museum could make spectacular new homes for Dail & Seanad Eireann respectively.

    Both houses of the Oireachtas directly facing each other, across a redesigned courtyard set against the backdrop of Leinster House itself.

    I’m sure many in the National Library would pass out at the suggestion that they be shifted from their fine home, but if ever you wanted an antidote to the ugly arrangement of the uppers of the existing chamber, the spectacular vaulted ceiling of the reading room has to be it.

    … and its nicely placed to receive a reconfigured arrangement of the existing chamber seating …

    … with a fine leading staircase …

    … and entrance hall …

    Add to this, two fine new signature buildings for the city to re-house the national library & national museum. College Green could benefit from one or other as could many other places around the city.

    I await your verbal fireballs of contempt 😀

  • #803342

    Anonymous

    This is taking nest hopping too far.

    We’d have to take the bell off the Ceann Comhairle and make him shout cookoo

  • #803343

    Anonymous

    What would be the point of depriving people of the Reading room & National Museum just so some glorified County Councillors can sit in splendor – government (and politics) is generally unpopular enough already without this landgrab.

    They are after the Natural History Museum for the seanad anyway – don’t give them any further ideas!!!!!

  • #803344

    admin
    Keymaster

    @RoryW wrote:

    What would be the point of depriving people of the Reading room & National Museum just so some glorified County Councillors can sit in splendor – government (and politics) is generally unpopular enough already without this landgrab.

    They are after the Natural History Museum for the seanad anyway – don’t give them any further ideas!!!!!

    Well whether we respect them or not Rory, our state is shaped from the Dail chamber, with consequences for all of us, the events of last week being a case in point …fairly glib dismissal, no? 😉

  • #803345

    Anonymous

    @peter Fitz wrote:

    Well whether we respect them or not Rory, our state is shaped from the Dail chamber, with consequences for all of us, the events of last week being a case in point …fairly glib dismissal, no? 😉

    When there’s a credit crunch on and jobs are being lost around the country I don’t think its glib to say that most of the population would be against replacing the current dail chamber with a sumptious room. So no, not a glib dismissal at all

  • #803346

    admin
    Keymaster

    @RoryW wrote:

    When there’s a credit crunch on and jobs are being lost around the country I don’t think its glib to say that most of the population would be against replacing the current dail chamber with a sumptious room. So no, not a glib dismissal at all

    Damn right it wont have public support, i’m suggesting this in the context of a thread that has proposed the construction of an entirely new parliament housing both dail & seanad. Spending on facilities & buildings for politicians will never have wide scale public support, thats agiven.

    What we’re discussing here are generally fancifull notions of what could be done should finances permit, thats obviously the context. And for the record, as i’ve said earlier on this thread, i doubt very much any of the options discussed here will happen, government just wouldn’t get away with it.

  • #803347

    Anonymous

    Eh Chaz Mahal, anyone? There (Govt Buildings), Four Courts and a few others CJH made it his business to see restored when he was Taoiseach – and that was amidst the worst of the 80s economic climate… Never thought I’d find myself defending Haughey on planning matters 😀

    Peter Fitz’s suggestion seems the best to me so far… Cowen could do worse as a gesture to the capital then to make sure that are stately buildings are used as that – with the GPO already in line, Bank of Ireland on College Green would make an excellent state cultural landmark.

    Or then again, what say the GPO as the new home for the Dail?

    Now there’s an idea 🙂

  • #803348

    Anonymous

    I really hate the idea that the GPO stop being a post-office, isn’t it a great joy and privilege to maintain this link to when the post was an important function of state deserving of stately buildings.

  • #803349

    Anonymous

    @notjim wrote:

    I really hate the idea that the GPO stop being a post-office, isn’t it a great joy and privilege to maintain this link to when the post was an important function of state deserving of stately buildings.

    Important once, but arcane now… Were it that there was still a singular state entity for communications, including say telephone and web, as it somewhat was with P&T, then it would make sense… Truth though is that we have a massive stately building on the capital’s main thoroughfare which is going much under-utilized; let’s let it live again with a renewed sense of purpose 🙂

  • #803350

    Anonymous

    This might be a good time to remind everybody that maintaining buildings in their original use, wherever possible, is one of the most fundamental principles of good building conservation.

    The elegance of the Leinster Lawn idea was that it proposed a ‘purpose built’ parliament complex in place of the existing second hand arrangement that we have now with parliamentary functions shoe-horned into buildings designed for other purposes.

    Not only that but the ‘new build’ idea frees up Leinster House to be integrated into a great cultural complex (National Library & National Museum on Kildare Street and National Gallery & Natural History Museum on Merrion Square), as originally intended.

    The Peter Fitz idea, despite being inspirational in it’s own right, does the exact opposite to this by hijacking the whole Kildare Street half of the National cultural complex. This complex has the potential to be Dublin’s equivalent of Berlin’s ‘Museum Island’, a cultural complex other cities would kill for. Any hope of fulfilling these dreams, or of creating public permeability through the site from Kildare Street to Merrion Square, would be lost and Leinster House itself will just become a corridor between the two houses of the Oireachtas.

    BTW, I don’t subscribe to the view that the Leinster Lawn idea has to be extravagently expensive, a bit of frugal simplicity could go a long way, and set a good example.

    It’s not not like they don’t have enough contacts in the building industry!

  • #803351

    admin
    Keymaster

    @gunter wrote:

    The elegance of the Leinster Lawn idea was that it proposed a ‘purpose built’ parliament complex in place of the existing second hand arrangement that we have now with parliamentary functions shoe-horned into buildings designed for other purposes.

    Not only that but the ‘new build’ idea frees up Leinster House to be integrated into a great cultural complex (National Library & National Museum on Kildare Street and National Gallery & Natural History Museum on Merrion Square), as originally intended.

    No doubt my suggestion torpedos the possibility of creating a great cultural complex, which does sound like it could be great, but to be honest i just dont see that the Leinster Lawn site is frankly good enough for a national parliament – any new build would i feel amount to an odd piece of in fill in the front garden of a fine mansion, lined up with, well nothing – all a little hotch potch like i think, which is surely what we’re trying to get away from.

    Of course it all depends on what final proposals would come in for the Leinster Lawn site (in our hypothetical world here!) but i think it would be hard to beat the stature & poise of the Leinster House, National Library, National Museum buildings combined.

  • #803352

    Anonymous

    Id like to see the GPO remain as a post office but if its going to be a shopping centre id much prefer it as the new dail. it could even be ready by 2016? the chambers could be in the courtyard if it was glazed over?

  • #803353

    Anonymous

    http://fergalreid.blogspot.com/2008/11/dail-bar-one-of-irelands-best-kept.html

    Popped in last night for a scoop in the bar 😉 It is teeny. One of the guides said his preference was for a new building in the Phoenix Park.

  • #803354

    Anonymous

    One of the commended projects in the student section of the Opus Building Awards, at Plan Expo last week, was for a new Dáil building, but at the Kildare Place site between the Museum and the Dept. of Agriculture building, rather than on the Leinster Lawn site, which I still think is a brilliant idea.

    It looked quite interesting and it had a horseshoe shaped Dáil chamber, but I didn’t have time to take down the details or get a picture. Maybe someone else caught a glimpse?

  • #803355

    Anonymous

    As I understand it, only the original 18th century building in the Leinster House complex is in need of repair. The Dail chamber is housed in a seperate extension and is not falling down. Therefore I see no reason to relocate it. As the Seanad sits in within Leinster House proper, a temporary home would be required, but not the Natural History Museum. The “Dead Zoo” has a unique charm and any attempt to tamper with it would ruin it.
    I cannot warm to the suggestion to build on Leinster Lawn. It is a novel idea but I believe this garden is an integral part of the buildings that surround it, and it gives the house a sense if dignity and serenity. Any additional structures on the lawn could result in a cluttered mess resulting in an unnecessarily busy appearance. It has already been vandalised with the addition of the car park but this is easy to rectify.

    Kildare Place – Now there is a location with potential. Standing on Kildare Street with The Department of Agriculture to your right and the back of The National Museum on your left you are faced with an ugly wall behind which sit a cluster of seemingly nondescript buildings including one particularly offensive 6 story grey block. Get rid of these and you have the space to create a signiture building to compliment the existing parliament with a new grand entrance in place of that wall. The image supplied by Graham below is the best I could find that captures both Leinster Lawn and Kildare Place.

    @grahamh wrote:

    Extra space could be gained by relocating the Dept. of Ag and knocking that monstrocity. Also, by opening the backdoor of the museum some life could be injected into Kildare Place.

  • #803356

    Anonymous

    Never knew there was a heli pad on the roof!

  • #803357

    Anonymous

    Never mind the feckin helipad on the roof.

  • #803358

    Anonymous

    It was installed after the recent protests. Cowen’s taking no chances. Wait till you see the Mini-Budget next year. They’re selling Donegal to the Brits.

  • #803359

    Anonymous

    I was there in the state buildings during Open House weekend and we were told that the heilpad was buit for Haughey and his inflated ego. Theres a direct passage from his office to the roof. Apparently no other Taoiseach has used it.

    But some day perhaps, when a rabble with burning torches storm the gates of power…

  • #803360

    Anonymous

    Well Bertie was afraid of helicopters, he admitted it once noting that all three helicopters he had traveled in had subsequently crashed and in a typical Bertism said from now on he would under no circumstances travel in a helicopter unless he had to. Of course, you might argue with his interpretation of the statistics and suggest that helicopters should be afraid of him.

  • #803361

    Anonymous

    @ptb wrote:

    Apparently no other Taoiseach has used it.

    Indeed they have, the last one I personally recall was another midlands Taoiseach. The helipad is now out of use, indeed it was always a bit awkward, given the wind vortexes around Agriculture Houses, and a very good challenge to the Air Corps pilots operating in and out.

  • #803362

    Anonymous

    Why have I got the image of the American Embassy during the fall of South Vietnam in my mind 😀

  • #803363

    Anonymous

    Revealed: how Dail burns cash
    A report on Government Buildings’ energy usage has revealed vast sums are being spent on excess heating and lighting
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/ireland/article5489624.ece

    i presume there haven’t been previous annoucements of a government builldings dail energy efficiency drive.

  • #803364

    Anonymous

    I would quite like to see a building like this on Leinster Lawn (maybe without the high rotunda, and Leinster House restored to its original.

    I would love to see the Bank of Ireland restored with the ‘sunken cabbage’ rebuilt

  • #803365

    Anonymous

    Well we’d be going weirdly full circle if we built a pastiche of the U.S Capitol on Leinster Lawn, seeing as the original U.S House of Representatives chamber within it is modelled on our old House of Commons.

    What would the point of restoring the original layout etc of the Old Parliament Building exactly?

  • #803366

    Anonymous

    The image above looks like the plan for a much more eloborate Stormont………….then the funds ran out. Forgetting about the merits of such a building, I just can’t for the life of me imagine why some think it is a good or possible idea to build a Parliament house on Leinster lawn. There simply isn’t the space to accommodate such a building on the lawn and if one were built, the result would leave the complex a cluttered mess.

  • #803367

    Anonymous

    @fergalr wrote:

    Well we’d be going weirdly full circle if we built a pastiche of the U.S Capitol on Leinster Lawn, seeing as the original U.S House of Representatives chamber within it is modelled on our old House of Commons.

    What would the point of restoring the original layout etc of the Old Parliament Building exactly?

    Pastiche argument aside, I have commented on this before in historically sensitive areas I believe you should in general terms keep with the theme of the area. As I said before I particularly admire what is done in Germany where old buildings are rebuilt, and new ones (Pastiche if you prefer) are built that fit in. I have a fondness for restoring old buildings, and would like to see the Bank of Ireland restored to its original, alternatively you could add a twist by restoring the dome like they did in the Reichstag with the glass windows.

    Yes, there is a certain amount of truth in the original House of Representatives being modeled on our old House of Commons.

  • #803368

    Anonymous
  • #803369

    Anonymous

    @fergalr wrote:

    Well we’d be going weirdly full circle if we built a pastiche of the U.S Capitol on Leinster Lawn, seeing as the original U.S House of Representatives chamber within it is modelled on our old House of Commons.

    Really ??
    I never knew this. How true is it ?

  • #803370

    Anonymous

    Well for comparison’s sake, this is the old house of Representatives in Washington

    [ATTACH]9463[/ATTACH]

    [ATTACH]9464[/ATTACH]

    This old House of Commons is below, courtesy of wikipedia:

    I don’t see a huge resemblance, part of what made the House of Commons remarkable was it’s octagonal shape. Take that away and you’re left with some neo-classical features that could be found anywhere, except the balcony maybe.

  • #803371

    Anonymous

    Those merged double columns at the corners didn’t really work did they?

  • #803372

    Anonymous

    asmodeus: why does everyone in Ireland have this self-effacing death-wish? You make Liverpudlians sound optimistic. Take away the… What a daft argument.

  • #803373

    Anonymous

    I have to agree with both Asmodeus and Gunter here. The resemblance is very tenuous and those slimline double columns look very scattered, (although this could have a lot to do with the artist trying to cram so much action into one image).

    As for johnglas.
    Having a go at the sensitivities of Liverpudlians on the twentieth anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy is a stroke that the tabloids would relish.
    I look forward to reading your first column in THE SUN.

  • #803374

    Anonymous

    Global Citizen (or not): I think my post was sent before the anniversary and was not meant to be literal or serious – but there is a streak of the most awful self-abasement (not to mention a humour by-pass) running through many posts. Whisper it, you’re not a colony any more – you don’t have to ‘prove’ yourselves to anybody.

    [PS I’ve never read The Sun – have you?]

  • #803375

    Anonymous

    Would it be the case that Pearse employed proper double columns, while Wheatley in the first image just dodgily depicted them as semi-engaged? I’d use the term ‘in intercourse’ either, but it seems inappropriate.

    Otherwise, the theatre of that great room must have been breathtaking, and that’s just by modern standards, never mind its impact in a primitive post-medieval city. The exterior forecourt still gives us some taste of the drama, but characteristically, McParland describes it best:

    “Its lights and its shadows are those of Rome and Vicenza. Its detail is impeccable, in disposition and execution as well as in its restraint. The scale, a little deceptive from afar, is grand (see how Pearce guaged the depth of the arches) and affirmative when walks between colonnade and wall. It is alive with movement: the simple E-shaped arrangement of columns generates, as one moves, great richment of parallax, and of void and solid. The classical associations of the great stoa are powerful, symbolically and emotionally. This is architecture as ‘brilliant, informed, and exact interplayof masses brought together in light’. It is architecture as teatra. It is a rare moment in Irish, indeed in European, architecture.”

  • #803376

    Anonymous

    @johnglas wrote:

    Global Citizen (or not): I think my post was sent before the anniversary and was not meant to be literal or serious – but there is a streak of the most awful self-abasement (not to mention a humour by-pass) running through many posts. Whisper it, you’re not a colony any more – you don’t have to ‘prove’ yourselves to anybody.

    [PS I’ve never read The Sun – have you?]

    Wasn’t trying to start a row.
    I was in bould form the other day when I posted my response.
    I’m a Liverpool fan so you can understand why.

    Fuk The Sun.

    Anyway, getting back on topic –
    I agree with Graham’
    “The theatre of that great room must have been breathtaking”

  • #803377

    Anonymous

    Global Citizen: Nor me – agreed!

  • #803378

    Anonymous

    Ww have 2 many TDS

  • #803379

    Anonymous

    @Pot Noodle wrote:

    Ww have 2 many TDS

    Thats a different can of worms Pot Noodle.
    (Sorry lads;)), I couldn’t resist the connection.

    Unless you are suggesting that fewer TD’s trampling around the hallowed corridors of Leinster House would prolong the lifespan of the building.

    Doubtful.

  • #803380

    Anonymous

    How about we cut off all their heads, and mount them on spikes on leinster lawn. We could turn the building into a museum of corruption.

  • #803381

    Anonymous

    One of ushers told me a few months ago that ideally they should move to Phoenix Park and use Leinster House for general civic activities… but Leinster House 2000 cemented them on the campus.

  • #803382

    Anonymous

    Leave them where they are.
    It would cost tens of millions to re-house them in the park.
    Millions have already been spent to accommodate them in their current location.
    Do we really want a repeat of the goings on in Edinburgh ?

  • #803383

    Anonymous

    @fergalr wrote:

    Leinster House 2000 cemented them on the campus.

    Yes very much so. The significance of this development is/was probably underacknowledged. It marked a turning point in the history of the campus, more so even than the major office and restaurant block built to the south of the Dáil chamber in the 1960s. Leinster House 2000 effectively eliminated any shred of possibility of ever moving off site in the next half century.

  • #803384

    Anonymous

    How can it be over a year since this thread was started?!

    An interesting drawing here showing the winning design of 1885, by Thomas Newenham Deane and Thomas Manly Deane, of the architectural competition for the National Museum and National Library complex. Institutional Victoriana on steroids.

    The drawing appears to date to 1893, three years after the complex was completed. (stop looking at those roofs, gunter)

    What strikes one is just how many of the important little finishing details have vanished from these buildings, or in some cases were never fully executed in the first place. The Kildare Street frontage to the Museum is shown topped out in Basilica Palladiana-style with a series of stone figures. What life and vigour these would inject into dour Kildare Street.

    The statues to the pavilions of the courtyard elevations were erected, but it appears the majority, including those to the street frontages, never were.

    The dark-painted windows present a fabulous scene of deep voids of blackness. A shame that has been lost.

    We can also note a grandiose new portico in French neoclassical style with corresponding pilasters added to the front of Leinster House, with the ground floor rusticated breakfront also pulled forward. Finally, a touch of swagger to this notoriously sullen facade. A balustrade also tacked on for good measure.

    Again, it was probably cost that prevented these from being built. Additional loggias were also proposed at first floor level above the existing side colonnades.

    As presented, the impressive Kildare Place elevation is almost entirely intact today – leaving aside the niggly issue of a brick boundary wall chopping it in two. Alas, the sturdy lamp standards were never erected either. These would have been spectacular, as they appear to be the same design as those that were installed and still survive flanking the courtyard colonnades.

    The same lamps can be seen over at the Library too. What a declaration of institutional clout on the streetscape these could have made.

    Of course there’s no reason why they cannot be erected today. They could resolve the Library’s lacklustre presence on Kildare Street quite nicely.

    A further drawing here from the initial architectural competition held in 1881 for the Museum project only. Famously, this competition was ditched when it was revealed that the shortlisted proposals were all by English architects and all virtually unknown.

    I’m not aware who it is by, but a textbook French neoclassical scheme: more of an air of an opera house than a barn for housing ancient relics. Again, more projecting porticos, an incongruously pretentious entrance gate in the Dublin context, and an interesting Tuscan-columned gallery fronting Kildare Street which appears to be functionally redundant but aesthetically more robust, anticipating by a few decades Aston Webb’s columnar screen at the Royal College of Science around the corner.

  • #803385

    admin
    Keymaster

    So the original court layout seems to radiate around a circular lawn, with typical outlying pebble perimeter broken by wedge shaped, path forming, lawn segments.

    Whatever about the missing built accoutrements, there is no excuse for the state of the courtyard & no reason why it cannot be reinstated. What is the justification for smearing the entire space with tar macadam, for the sake of 20+ parking spaces ?

    Railing off the library & museum seriously compromises the courtyard further, not to mention the buildings themselves. The railings to the Kildare street are probably inevitable but is there no alternative to such a crude subdivision internally?

    Its a shame Leinster House itself never got its portico, it is something of a poor relation given the detail of its flanking arms… thanks for pics Graham.

  • #803386

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    And Graham the winning design as published in 1884 is different again in the treatment of the blocks flanking the drum

    http://two.archiseek.com/archives/5541

  • #803387

    Anonymous

    These pictures made me very happy and very sad.

    Happy cause I got to stare at them for a good twenty minutes.

    Sad because Leinster House and Merrion Sq have been ruined by cars and ‘public’ architecture.

    The newly ‘restored’ lawn of Leinster House is a disgrace. A little bit of grass surrounded and intersected by tarmac and cars.

    The Kildare Street front ruined by more cars, sweet shops, potted plants and cement. Why not the old garden?

    Merrion Sq defaced by the war memorial and over grown. A barrier of shurbs and trees between it and Leinster House.

    Very sad 🙁

  • #803388

    Anonymous

    @peter Fitz wrote:

    So the original court layout seems to radiate around a circular lawn, with typical outlying pebble perimeter broken by wedge shaped, path forming, lawn segments.

    Whatever about the missing built accoutrements, there is no excuse for the state of the courtyard & no reason why it cannot be reinstated. What is the justification for smearing the entire space with tar macadam, for the sake of 20+ parking spaces ?

    No justification whatsoever.
    The forecourt has been an unsightly mess for decades and its use as a car park does little enhance the appearance of our parliament. So much so that it has been suggested on another thread that the “Leinster lawn entrance is the modern day ceremonial entrance, purely because the forecourt has been a kip for the past 60 years”. (Green shoots soon at Dáil Éireann, GrahamH, post 18).

    It would be a cheap shot to suggest that the lack of dignity occasionally displayed by some of those work in Leinster House is reflected in the undignified appearance of the forecourt. Having said that, I often wonder what impression visitors to the museum and library are given when they look through the railings.

    The recent restoration work around the back is to be commended although it too is far from perfect, but major re working of the landscape at the Kildare street entrance is long overdue.
    There was something going on here a few weeks ago but I haven’t been back since to see what, if any enhancements were made.

    Anyone ?

  • #803389

    Anonymous

    When was the courtyard dug up for cars? The design looks 1960s.

    Oh and those works were to incorporated wheel chair ramps to the current plinth.

  • #803390

    Anonymous

    Hey Graham H

    Thanks a mil for posting those illustrations. I really love those old engravings of Victorian buildings, which are almost works of art in themselves.

    Its especially thought provoking looking at proposals for Dublin and wondering what might have been. Afterall, compared to alot of European cities we are fairly impovrished in architectural terms. Certainly the restrained Georgian terraces are reassuring but ornate Victorian set pieces are very pleasing to the eye.

    I know there is a section for unbuilt projects old and new but it does not contain some buildings mentioned here, for example Soanes Bank of Ireland scheme. And I have come accross a few others. Can I ask where did you find the pic of the 1881 Museum proposal?

    Interestingly, looking at old architectural competitions I find frequently that the second and third place projects are excellent such as: South City Markets and the 1919 Municipal Offices competition were I prefered the O’Callaghan Webb vision. When the rather amazing and extragavant Hungarian Parliament was being built in the late 1800s both runners up of such quality that they were built behind the Parliament forming a very pleasing Square! I will try to post more info on that again.

    BTW, I agree that the Leinster “lawn and carpark” is very dissappointing. And indeed sadly symbolic of our country!

    C

  • #803391

    Anonymous

    Watching the news last night. It seemed that the plinth had been pushed back and a ramp added. I can only guess this was done for one reason, not wheelchair access, but more car park spaces….

  • #803392

    Anonymous

    Looks Beautiful

  • #803393

    Anonymous

    Can we avoid the unnecessary repetition of pictures please?! My photo account loading is going through the roof!

    Just a correction – I presumed the second proposal dates from the 1881 competition on account of the focus placed purely on the Museum. I don’t know for sure if that is the case.

    Forgot about seeing that design here before, Paul. Clearly the Deanes refined their winning straight-laced classical scheme for a more picturesque ensemble with a busy neo-Palladian air, with which they were more comfortable. The rotundas are given far more prominence second time around too.

    One smart little improvement made as part of the upgrading works to the paving outside Leinster House a year or two ago was the installation of LED uplighters at the base of every railing pier. An uncharacteristically well-considered lighting scheme that works to perfection.

    And all of them still work – shock!

    Two little rows of dazzling bright blue-white LEDs in each unit.

    The Garda in the huts used to upset the entire apple cart by placing a stand hosting a sign directly on top of one of the central lamps. I used to be itching to tell them to open their feckin eyes, but thankfully some enlightened individual has since noted that such people cannot be trusted, and have ditched it, thus also preventing my arrest.

    One of the entrance pavilions. The lanterns not working of course.

    While Leinster House as dismal as ever.

    The main body of the house in darkness, the column uplighters extinguished, random and ineffective floods directed either side of the front door, grubby sodium bulbs in the elegant Edwardian lamp standards – one of them blown – and nasty flooded hotspots to the wings. What a shambles! Indeed, the whole scene would look better if the floods were just turned off, with glimmers of light from the windows and behind the colonnades. This infuriating mess has been allowed continue for years now – does anybody in control open their eyes anymore?

    The street elevations of the Museum and Library are also crying out for imaginative illumination, especially on such a gloomy street as Kildare Street where they would have spectacular impact. There’s so much theatrical potential with their complex array of applied elements, basement wells, recesses and balustrades.

    Fully agreed Peter that the landscaping should be reinstated. Not only does the above drawing depict that typical circular scheme, but photographs also prove that it was installed. The greatest crime though, as mentioned, are the truly shameful barricades that were erected in front of the Museum and Library colonnades. Yes, the mob can get angry – especially now – but why on earth is closing all the Kildare Street gates not sufficient? And not only are the installed railings riduclously over-engineered, they also replaced pretty, low wrought iron or steel railings that were probably put in in the 1920s (picture soon).

    All just typical of the incremental alterations that so destroy the integrity of public, commercial and institutional buildings the world over. Not that this should be used as an excuse; we don’t need bells n whistles once-in-a-century restoration schemes to effect change over matters such a these. Why can’t we have incremental improvement works?

  • #803394

    admin
    Keymaster

    @grahamh wrote:

    The main body of the house in darkness, the column uplighters extinguished, random and ineffective floods directed either side of the front door, grubby sodium bulbs in the elegant Edwardian lamp standards – one of them blown – and nasty flooded hotspots to the wings. What a shambles! Indeed, the whole scene would look better if the floods were just turned off, with glimmers of light from the windows and behind the colonnades. This infuriating mess has been allowed continue for years now – does anybody in control open their eyes anymore?

    Dreadful alright, though the column uplighters installed to the Leinster House facade itself a few years back are suitably modest, and do quite a nice job (whenever they turn the feckin things on). What is the point in paying for these things, for it then to be left idle, they finally commission a long overdue lighting scheme and then leave the damn thing off, ah but sure its only the national parliament 😡

    If I recall, i think the flag pole is also nicely uplit which is a nice touch, though shame about the postage stamp sized tri-color that seems to be the state standard. Superquinn have the right idea 😉

  • #803395

    Anonymous

    I wonder want happened to the urns!

    Whatever about the wisdom of replacing the high wall to Kildare Street with open railings as part of the Museum/Library transformation, the original gate structure was arguably far superior to the Victorian pavilions (with or without urns). it’s odd that the original gateway had such a divergence of design treatment on it’s inner and outer faces. The Brocas drawing is apparently accurate, as John Payne writing in 1806 noted that ”The entrance to this princely mansion is from Kildare Street, through a grand gateway of rustic stonework towards the street, but within it is an elegant triumphal arch of the Ionic order, with three openings, that lead into a spacious court . . . ”

    Malton’s view of Leinster House shows one of the two side archway that led into stable and office yards. The detail on these pedimented gateways looks the same as the central section of the inner face of the main gateway, as drawn by Brocas.

    I think there were at least five Brocas-es, . . . . this must have been the one that went to draughting school 😉

  • #803396

    Anonymous

    Ah the urns indeed! (though arguably the pavilions are nicer without them). Also forgot to mention earlier that the invasive new lighting strips attached to bases of the dome thingamabobs aren’t working either.

    The heavy language of the original Richard Castle entrance gate is indeed unusual, but it appears to be of that romantic, ‘rustic’ tradition of the mid-18th century – almost as if the Earl was trying to persuade himself, never mind the rest of the city, that he really was in the countryside. We know the refined treatment of the rear also existed thanks to a photograph taken during the construction of the Museum and Library, which shows it still in place at that late stage. If you look closely at the above photograph of the gate, you can also see two windows facing the street which lit the gate keeper’s ‘lodgings’, to be generous in description…

    Malton’s view of the house shows how potentially animated its facade could have been if constructed of Portland stone. Okay, Malton embellished matters somewhat, but the contrast generated by a lighter stone would have made all the difference in highlighting the facade’s rather weak relief elements, relative to the dour, light-soaking depression of Ardbraccan limestone.

    Fully agreed about the flagpole lighting, Peter. It works extremely well. Bizarrely, The Shelbourne still have the best flag illumination in the city, carried out as part of their recent renovation. A single upward-directed spot catches the billowing flag high up on the rooftop just beautifully 🙂

  • #803397

    Anonymous

    All this floodlighting costs money and therein lies the problem I think. I wouldnt be surprise if a lot of these buildings were required to turn off the floods to cut costs. Another visible sign of the times is the median on O’Connell Street where all the tree uplighters have been turned off. And of course all our new bridges, awash with architectural lighting, are also suffering. I would suggest that its as much a conscious effort to cut the city’s electricity bill as it is one of maintenance.

    Great discourse on the development of Leinster House, and some brilliant images. I fully support the comments about removing the internal railings between the Library/Museum and the Oireachtas building. I would suggest the whole complex lacks a unified presentation, lamps railing etc. most recently seen with the reinstated lawn.

  • #803398

    Anonymous

    @peter Fitz wrote:

    If I recall, i think the flag pole is also nicely uplit which is a nice touch, though shame about the postage stamp sized tri-color that seems to be the state standard. Superquinn have the right idea 😉

    The Superquinn flag in Sutton is like something you’d see floating over the DMZ…

    Here’s the view of LH from the National Library cafe. Pity you can’t stroll across the courtyard between two of the country’s most important civic institutions. I’ve definitely started to come around to the idea of ejecting the Oireachtas from the campus. If the Seanad is abolished, Leinster House itself will be a parliament building in which no legislating is done. A uniquely Irish situation.

    It would be wonderful to have Leinster House open for temporary exhibitions, lectures and evening events. The National Gallery, National Museum, National Library and Natural Galley could all be linked and accessed from within the one hub. The lawn would be a city treasure in the summer. And the Natural Museum would have some room behind it to be significantly enlarged without damaging the appearance of the original building. To say nothing of the space that would become available for the Library and Gallery.

    You’re not going to see that day happening any time soon.

  • #803399

    Anonymous

    @fergalr wrote:

    I’ve definitely started to come around to the idea of ejecting the Oireachtas from the campus. If the Seanad is abolished, Leinster House itself will be a parliament building in which no legislating is done. A uniquely Irish situation.

    Abolish the Seanad, concentrate all power in one chamber, and before you can say, ‘somebody’s burned the Reichstag’, we just have one leader with slicked over hair, and we’re dive bombing the Isle of Man.

    No, there must be other options, could we not keep them for heritage value, as an attraction, maybe thin out the numbers a bit by making new rules, make them wear togas or something, that would get rid of the less committed, but it should keep the stately plump one on board.

    @fergalr wrote:

    It would be wonderful to have Leinster House open for temporary exhibitions, lectures and evening events. The National Gallery, National Museum, National Library and Natural Galley could all be linked and accessed from within the one hub.

    I think we’re back where we started with the great johnglas idea of building a new parliament building on Leinster Lawn and returning Leinster House to it’s Victorian role as the hub of an unrivalled cultural complex – still a great idea IMO!

  • #803400

    Anonymous

    @gunter wrote:

    I think we’re back where we started with the great johnglas idea of building a new parliament building on Leinster Lawn and returning Leinster House to it’s Victorian role as the hub of an unrivalled cultural complex – still a great idea IMO!

    But then we’d lose the lawn and the view of LH from Merrion Square.

    Eject the National Concert Hall from Earlsfort Terrace and take over the large site for the Oireachtas.

  • #803401

    Anonymous

    Oh oh, and the NCH can move to the GPO as well! Perfect!

  • #803402

    Anonymous

    @grahamh wrote:

    Oh oh, and the NCH can move to the GPO as well! Perfect!

    Lol, okay… so there might be a bit of Pass the Parcel to this. But the NCH should’ve had a purpose-built building years ago. Sure we could put it and the Abbey in the same complex.

  • #803403

    Anonymous

    If the railings in front of Leinster House were to be removed, where would they put the €1Million “Siopa” and all the Connemara Marble in the place. Sales of Kit Kats would plummet if our TDs had nowhere to go while taking a break. Fuk the national Library / Museum. There are issues of national importance at stake.

    Carry on with this talk and we’ll be knocking Buswells next.

    God forbid.

  • #803404

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    another drawing from 1884 showing a cross section

  • #803405

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    Another competition entry by Ernest C. Lee for the Kildare Street Museum

  • #803406

    Anonymous

    Hey Paul

    Just spotted your post now. Where do you find all the Unbuilt proposals? Some of them really are gems. I’m slightly wistful that we didn’t actually build a few of them.

  • #803407

    Anonymous
  • #803408

    Anonymous

    The problem is that the people that lead our country are largely teachers and solicitors, how can you possibly expect them to understand style, symmetry, elegance apart from actually running the country without bankrupting it!

    Dublin is a very poor relation in European city terms, as Yeats said we are obsessed about our greasy till. Im afraid the only way we will ever get a city with beautiful buildings looked after carefully is if we emigrate.

  • #803409

    Anonymous

    @pulp wrote:

    The problem is that the people that lead our country are largely teachers and solicitors, how can you possibly expect them to understand style, symmetry, elegance apart from actually running the country without bankrupting it!

    Dublin is a very poor relation in European city terms, as Yeats said we are obsessed about our greasy till. Im afraid the only way we will ever get a city with beautiful buildings looked after carefully is if we emigrate.

    It’s starting to worry me that fatalism and self-deprication are becoming the new Irish state of mind.

  • #803410

    Anonymous

    Today I noticed a statue I had never spotted before in Leinster Lawn (adjacent to the National Gallery). I am well aware of the sadly obscured bronze statue of Prince Albert, but there is another 19th century marble statue on the gallery side. Anyone know who this is of? Or what its details are?

    I will try get a photo while passing tomorrow.

  • #803411

    Anonymous

    Dunno, is it the TH Parke statute in the third link from my last post?

  • #803412

    Anonymous

    Nope, it is actually in the Leinster House compound. Not the Gallery of Natural History Museum. It is tucked in against western exterior wall of the Gallery on Leinster Lawn, with politicians cars parked right up next to it. It is a marble statue about 12 feet high.

    Even the police at the gate do not know what it is!

    Any ideas?

  • #803413

    Anonymous

    Oireachtas website has a decent page on the artwork on the campus. It’s probably in there.

  • #803414

    Anonymous

    Checked the website, nothing there either I’m afraid.

    Heres a photo. From sifting through a few old (pre-1922) books, its seems to match the description (and general location) of HM GEORGE III. A marble standing figure, by van Nost the younger, commissioned by the Earl of Northumberland I wonder?

  • #803415

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    I see one in dia.ie

    CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CORK HILL, ROYAL EXCHANGE
    Date: 1765
    Nature: Statue of George III, presented to merchants of Dublin by Duke of Northumberland, 1765.
    Refs: J. Warburton, J. Whitelaw and R. Walsh, History of the City of Dublin (1818), I, 522; W.G. Strickland, A Dictionary of Irish Artists (1913), II, 484,487

  • #803416

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    This looks like an interesting read

    Journal of Historical Geography, 28, 4 (2002) 508±533
    doi:10.1006/jhge.2002.0441

    The construction and destruction of a colonial
    landscape: monuments to British monarchs in
    Dublin before and after independence
    Y. Whelan

    http://www.ggy.bris.ac.uk/personal/YvonneWhelan/HistoricalGeographyArtice.pdf

    It suggests Robert Stewart according to a map in the article

  • #803417

    Anonymous

    @paul Clerkin wrote:

    I see one in dia.ie

    CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CORK HILL, ROYAL EXCHANGE
    Date: 1765
    Nature: Statue of George III, presented to merchants of Dublin by Duke of Northumberland, 1765.
    Refs: J. Warburton, J. Whitelaw and R. Walsh, History of the City of Dublin (1818), I, 522; W.G. Strickland, A Dictionary of Irish Artists (1913), II, 484,487

    That was also a statue there. Apparently a magnificent edifice in brass sat between the columns in the Royal Exchange. But this is a different one. Could it be the lost Van Nost marble statue of George III

  • #803418

    Anonymous

    Recently I asked one of the security men at Leinster Lawn. He told me that this is Robert Stewart.

  • #803419

    Anonymous

    The statue is not of George III or any royal. I think going from memory it is Robert Stewart. The statue was erected by the RDS when they ran the place.

  • #803420

    Anonymous

    It would seem to be the case alright.

    Coming full circle back to the beginning of the thread, Frank McDonald mirrored our thoughts on the radio this morning:

    “Leinster House stands for everything that is really abominable about the way we run politcs in this country. It is an absolutely awful place. The really shocking thing is that hardly anyone who populates it recognises that the place is absolutely decaying.”

    🙂

    Suffice to say, FF handler Paddy Duffy weighed in with blustering retorts that characterised his entire contribution, where Metro was great, Arnotts’ bombastic vision was great, Thornton Hall is great, the roads programme is great, and er, Leinster House is great. Sure where would we be altogedder without de aul development at any cost.

    Is it any wonder we’re in the mess we’re in.

  • #803421

    Anonymous

    Was roaming around town today and found myself on Kildare Street.I noticed that there are works being carried out on the National Library and on Leinster House itself.Anybody have any idea what the works involve?

  • #803422

    Anonymous

    @eia340600 wrote:

    Was roaming around town today and found myself on Kildare Street.I noticed that there are works being carried out on the National Library and on Leinster House itself.Anybody have any idea what the works involve?

    FYI;
    http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/08_03/escapeDM2908_468x317.jpg

  • #803423

    Anonymous

    Archive Image of the Stewart statue

  • #803424

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    A cross section illustration of the winning design from 1884. Published in The Building News, November 28th 1884.

  • #803425

    Anonymous

    Hey Graham

    I have just noticed that the last engraving you posted of the losing French Neoclassical design for the National Design has dissappeared. I wonder could you re-post or even provide more info on this scheme?

    C

  • #803426

    Anonymous

    Voila, thebig C. Not sure who it is by though. Surely an English entrant…

  • #803427

    Anonymous

    Looks like Versailles

  • #803428

    Anonymous

    @grahamh wrote:

    Voila, thebig C. Not sure who it is by though. Surely an English entrant…

    Merci Beaucoup!!! Perhaps it does contain an element of folly but there is something I like about that design.

    Got any more “also rans” lurking in your treasure trove?

    Many thanks again!

    C

  • #803429

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    So I saw today that E.W. Godwin had an entry in the first competition too. Now based on the knowledge that he travelled to Ireland on several occasions and his sketchbooks feature drawings of details of Irish medieval building etc., it would be interesting to see his design for the museum.

  • #803430

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster
  • #803431

    Anonymous

    The more of these I see, the more I think how lucky Dublin was with the winning entries. There is a lot of Victorian pomp and puffery in some of those submissions.

    Edit: Incidentally, I just learnt what we lost to make way for Agriculture House. The architectural criminality of independent Irish governments never fails to take my breath away.

    1886 – Church of Ireland Training College, Kildare St., Dublin

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