Grafton Street, Dublin

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This topic contains 370 replies, has 80 voices, and was last updated by  urbanisto 1 year, 2 months ago.

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  • #785059

    Anonymous

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

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

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

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

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

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

    #785060

    Anonymous

    …and Archiseek kicks back to life!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    #785061

    Anonymous

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

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

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

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

    So one wonders now what the lighting will be like.

    #785062

    Anonymous

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

    Be afraid…

    #785063

    Anonymous

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

    #785064

    Anonymous

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

    #785065

    Anonymous

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

    #785066

    Anonymous

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

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

    #785067

    Anonymous

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

    #784739

    Anonymous

    Some views of whats going on…for the Diaspora

    The pink junction nodes

    Some of those awful bollards going in

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

    The north end…

    Some of the Irish granite on the side flanks

    #784738

    Anonymous

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

    #784736

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

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

    #784737

    Anonymous

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

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

    See how lost you’d be?

    #784734

    Anonymous

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

    #784735

    Anonymous

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

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

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

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

    Thanks for the pics Stephen.

    #785068

    Anonymous

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

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

    #785069

    Anonymous

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

    #785070

    Anonymous

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

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

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

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

    #785071

    Anonymous

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

    #785072

    Anonymous

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

  • Author
    Posts
  • #785059

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

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

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

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

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

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

    #785060

    Anonymous
    • Offline

    …and Archiseek kicks back to life!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    #785061

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

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

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

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

    So one wonders now what the lighting will be like.

    #785062

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

    Be afraid…

    #785063

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

    #785064

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

    #785065

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

    #785066

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

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

    #785067

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

    #784739

    Anonymous
    • Offline

    Some views of whats going on…for the Diaspora

    The pink junction nodes

    Some of those awful bollards going in

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

    The north end…

    Some of the Irish granite on the side flanks

    #784738

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

    #784736

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster
    • Offline

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

    #784737

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

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

    See how lost you’d be?

    #784734

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

    #784735

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

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

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

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

    Thanks for the pics Stephen.

    #785068

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

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

    #785069

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

    #785070

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

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

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

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

    #785071

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

    #785072

    Anonymous
    • Offline

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

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