- 31 August 2012
Dublin Garden Squares Day 2012 - A Great Success!
The rain clouds held off on what proved to be another highly successful Dublin Garden Squares Day on Saturday last, June 23rd. A host of tours, events, live music and entertainment animated all five of the major squares in Dublin city centre, including Mountjoy, Parnell, Merrion and Fitzwilliam Squares and St. Stephen’s Green. Over 300 people took part in architectural, historical and botanical walking tours, with many more enjoying open access buildings and free entertainment across the city. Highlights included rare access to the magnificent mid-eighteenth century chapel of the Rotunda Hospital, tours of a private house on Fitzwilliam Square, and a botanical and historical walking tour of the hidden gem that is the Iveagh Gardens.
The Trust offers its warm thanks to everyone who participated in the day, gave their time and expertise, and helped facilitate the events through opening their buildings and stewarding the crowds. Here’s looking forward to a bigger and better day in 2013!
Autumn Conservation CPD Seminars
The Trust’s programme of CPD events for autumn 2012 have just been published online. They include:
Tuesday 2nd October 2012
9.30am - 5.00pm
Timber Decay and Damp in Historic Structures
Dr. Brian Ridout
MA, PhD, AIWSc
Ridout Associates, International Timber Decay and Damp Consultants
Dr. Brian Ridout is a leading international expert on the causes, identification and treatment of timber decay and damp in historic buildings and other important structures. He is author of the landmark publication Timber Decay in Buildings: The Conservation Approach to Treatment, 2000, and the subsequent Timber: The EC Woodcare Project - Deathwatch Beetles in Historic Buildings, 2001. He acts as consultant to English Heritage and has been involved in a wide range of projects including Royal Palaces, urban regeneration of large industrial buildings in major UK cities, as well as international projects including The Golden Temple of Amritsar, India, and heritage buildings in Bahrain, Vietnam, Greece, Turkey and Morocco.
This is a must-attend seminar for any professional or building owner/occupier seeking specialist expertise in the field of timber decay and damp in historic buildings. Dr. Ridout is an internationally acclaimed expert in his field, and this rare opportunity to learn from and engage with him in Ireland is not to be missed. The day will assess in both practical and technical terms the many myths and practices associated with damp and decay in historic buildings, beginning with problem identification, through to diagnosis, to treatment, cure and correct maintenance.
Wednesday 24th October 2012
9.30am - 5.00pm
Structural Repairs to Derelict and Ruined Structures
DIC, DiplConsAA, CEng, MIStructE, IHBC
Conservation Accredited Engineer and former Chief Engineer, English Heritage
Ian Hume is a leading conservation accredited engineer who has been involved in the conservation of historic buildings across the UK for over 30 years. He served as Chief Engineer of the Conservation Engineering team of English Heritage from 1988 to 1998 and now operates in private practice. Major conservation works have included the mausoleum at Castle Howard, the Ironbridge, and Leigh Court barn in Worcestershire. He lectures frequently on conservation engineering and is an active member of the UK Conservation Accreditation Register for Engineers (CARE).
This stimulating day of lectures will focus on best practice repair and consolidation of derelict and ruined buildings. These structures do not often feature in conservation philosophy or education, in spite of presenting some of the most challenging engineering demands exhibited by any historic edifice. This seminar will focus on how conservation engineers, architects and related professionals must temper and adapt the philosophy of conserving 'as found' and of 'minimum intervention' with their responsibility for the safety and structural integrity of derelict buildings and ruined structures.
The seminar will include a site visit with Ian Hume to a derelict property in central Dublin, affording attendees a unique opportunity to assess common structural repair issues on-site with one of the most experienced professionals in the field of conservation engineering.
For full details on the seminars and to book directly online, visit the Courses page of our website.
Report Published on Luas BXD Powering Options
An independent report commissioned by An Bord Pleanála into alternative light rail powering options for the proposed Luas BXD link line through Dublin city centre was recently published. The study was commissioned by the Board as part of the Additional Information stage of the current planning process for Luas BXD on foot of a number of representations on the matter by third parties, including by Dublin Civic Trust. A decision is due on this and the wider Railway Order permission for the line in the coming weeks.
Luas BXD is the proposed link line connecting the current Red and Green lines, running from St. Stephen’s Green northwards along Dawson Street, through Nassau Street and into College Green, across O’Connell Bridge and up O’Connell Street towards Grangegorman. A loop line is also proposed as part of the scheme that returns trams down Marlborough Street, across a new bridge currently under construction across the Liffey, feeding into Hawkins Street and back onto College Green.
It has been the long-held view of the Trust that the erection of any further cabling and supporting poles through the historic centre of the city, in particular through College Green, Westmoreland Street, O’Connell Bridge and O’Connell Street, would be detrimental to the presentation of the ceremonial historic core, and have a seriously negative impact on the setting of nationally significant buildings including the Bank of Ireland, the West Front of Trinity College, the GPO and vistas down the river Liffey. Our discussions with the RPA, as well as our submission to the Board, and subsequent submission on the powering options report (available here), all made clear that other powering methods must be considered for use in sensitive areas.
The independent report commissioned by the Board proves that the APS system used by Alstom and the Ansaldo Tramwave – both ‘third rail’ systems using a powered line buried in the road surface used on the Continent – are viable in the Dublin context of BXD. The existing fleet is capable of being retrofitted, heavy traffic can easily pass over the third rail connection boxes, vehicles have been developed in other cities to clear the rails during snow, and the reliability is the same as overhead power lines. It will cost approximately €18 million extra for the third rail system, however this does not take account of the savings incurred by not having to install an overhead cable system. The estimated project cost is €300 million.
Thomas Street Business Association Formed
A new business association for Dublin's historic Thomas Street was formed at a public meeting held on July 3rd last in The Food Gallery on Thomas Street.
The initative follows on from a renewed focus on the future of the street by a number of organisations, business interests and public authorities since 2011. Arising from this, a number of businesses expressed interest in re-establishing a long-dormant representative body in Thomas Street to promote the needs and interests of stakeholders in the face of a number of upcoming initatives that affect the area.
The immediate impetus for action arose from two recent reports on (or related to) Thomas Street (click each to read):
Thomas Street – Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre Street
by Dublin Civic Trust
Dubline Tourist Trail
by Fáilte Ireland
It is believed that a representative forum is needed to ensure that businesses have a voice in what happens in Thomas Street when public investment comes on stream and to create a wider brand identity for the district. This will provide traction to push an agenda for the area and promote matters which increase business and sustain/create employment.
For more information on the group, which was very well attended at its inaugural meeting (kindly facilitated by Paul Lyons of The Food Gallery and chaired by the group's instigator Killian O'Higgins), please contact: email@example.com
Grafton Street Refurbishment
Dublin’s Grafton Street is set to undergo a major facelift as part of a public realm improvement project to be undertaken by Dublin City Council in 2013. The plan, which was issued for public consultation earlier in the summer, envisages the complete repaving of the street from the junction with Suffolk Street to the southern entrance at St. Stephen’s Green. It forms part of a wider civic improvement project around what is defined the ‘Grafton Quarter’, extending from Dawson Street in the east to the network of streets surrounding the South City Markets to the west, which is proposed to be undertaken over the next decade.
The Grafton Street project will involve the complete repaving of the existing street surface, replacing the late 1980s cobblelock with pink and grey granites of varying texture and pattern. It is also proposed to replace the current traditional street furniture with bollards, lampposts and litter bins of a contemporary aesthetic. The work will be undertaken in carefully planned stages to minimise disruption to traders and ensure that the street remains presentable during construction.
Dublin Civic Trust broadly welcomes the improvement plans, however we expressed reservations during the public consultation process about the materials proposed to be used. In particular, we feel it is imperative that Irish granite is used as the dominant paving material on the street rather than imported stone, for reasons of sustainability, compatibility with paving materials historically used in Dublin, and the fine quality of the product capable of production here. In addition, we expressed objection to the proposal to replace all existing traditional street furniture with contemporary catalogue elements. While we recognise that some furnishings on the street are convincing reproductions from the 1980s, many items are also historic, and the furnishing scheme in its entirety expresses a distinct and memorable identity that is entirely appropriate to Grafton Street’s designation as an Architectural Conservation Area. We noted that all existing furniture is capable of rehabilitation and upgrading, and that an historic lighting scheme similar to that undertaken in Leipzig (detailed below in this newsletter) is a world-class design approach that Dublin should be aspiring to for its premier shopping street.
The Manager’s report on all public submissions (most of which reflected the themes of the Trust’s submission) is not expected until September. Thereafter, councillors will vote on whether to adopt, amend, or reject the proposed scheme.
Historic Street Lighting - A Model for Dublin
A successful retrofitting of historic street lights with energy-efficient LEDs has been recently undertaken in the centre of the German city of Leipzig. The innovative project was spearheaded by Braun Lighting Solutions of Berlin and solid-state lighting experts Future Lighting Solutions, with the aim of renovating and making more efficient the host of historic Schinkel gas lamps that have been a feature of the historic city centre of Leipzig since the nineteenth century.
The challenge for the project engineers was to incorporate energy efficient LEDs into the historic lamps in a manner that replicated the appearance of the original clusters of gas mantles inside each lantern head, as well as maintaining the ambient warm glow of gas light that is a defining characteristic of the city centre after nightfall. The initial models for Braun’s trial were the last three original gas lamps in front of the famous St. Thomas Church, the home of Johann Sebastian Bach.
“In Leipzig, the LED technology of the future meets the past of city lights which are more than 150 years old,” said Andre Braun, CEO of Braun Lighting Solutions. “Our approach keeps the traditional form of the lamps but lets them shine in a new light through advanced LED technology. We have been able to deliver on the goals for energy efficiency and environmental protection at the same time as meeting the requirement to preserve a historical artefact.”
By equipping the 360 Schinkel lights around St. Thomas Church with the latest LUXEON® Rebel LEDs, the city can save €20,000 a year in energy costs. The LED lamps consume only 22W, by comparison with the 85W power consumption of the lamps they replace. This 73.3% reduction in the power load also reduces CO2 emissions by 60.8 tonnes per year. Thus, the project is an important contribution to the implementation of urban climate protection goals in Germany.
To achieve the effect of gas lighting, the original parts of the historic lamps were supplemented with a patent-pending technology that mimics the size and arrangement of the previous mantles. The four mantles were replaced by four LED modules covered by satined glass, giving the impression of glowing mantles suspended within the lamps. The difference between the LED lamps and the gas light originals can only be detected on close inspection. An elegant touch was the incorporation of a single 1.2W LED in the roof of each lamp to provide a subtle glow for the opal glass at the top of the unit. Future Lighting Solutions also managed the process of ensuring consistency in colour temperature across all of the hundreds of LEDS used in the sceheme.
A Model for Dublin?
The Trust believes this is the type of project that Dublin should be undertaking as part of its Draft Public Realm Strategy in partnership with the Lighting Department of Dublin City Council. There is a number of locations where such as world-class synergy of heritage conservation and cutting-edge technology should be utilised, including, for example, the re-erection of the original 84 historic oil lamps that once graced the railings of Mountjoy Square, through to reinstating the private lamps of many of the city’s Georgian streets, as has been successfully undertaken in Edinburgh. Dublin's quays could also benefit from such unified treatment, as well as many of its smaller streets and lanes.
The Trust has also advocated the retention of the traditional pillar standards on Grafton Street as part of its proposed repaving plan, and retrofitting them with correctly designed, high quality historic Dublin lantern heads fitted with sparkling LEDs. In spite of the widespread use of silver Scotch Standard lampposts on the city's streets - many reproduction - extraordinarily, there are almost no enclaves of historic lighting left anywhere in Dublin. Recent attempts to replace lantern heads on St. Stephen’s Green and the Ha’penny Bridge have resulted in poor, factory-produced imitations that in no way accord with Georgian oil and Victorian gas lighting in the city, while historic lighting even outside public buildings leaves a lot to be desired. There is a sore need for a reassessment of Dublin city centre’s lighting needs and how the city can best present itself through informed lighting design as part of a high quality public realm. One option could be to undertake a short study of historic Dublin lamp types, and incorporate these into the palette of materials currently being composed by Dublin City Council as part of its upcoming Public Realm Strategy.
New Tourism Report on Dublin
A new report on the tourism industry in Dublin has been launched by the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation. The report sets out a plan that aims to drive Dublin to a position as one of Europe’s top city/region destinations, with the goal of achieving 6.4 million visitors to Dublin each year by 2020, up from the present 4 million. It claims this would generate 27,000 new jobs on top of the existing 50,000 employed in tourism in Dublin.
The report sets out a new approach to marketing Dublin as a visitor destination, suggesting an holistic approach to developing all aspects of the city’s socio-economic and environmental fabric as a centre for business, education, leisure and local resident life.
It also highlights the need to develop the Dublin product as a wider area-based brand, taking in the attractions of surrounding counties, the Dublin coastline and outlying areas currently under-exploited for tourism. It also proposes the establishment of a new Destination Marketing Alliance for Dublin to operate as an arm of Fáilte Ireland and replace the role of Dublin Tourism which was recently merged into the organisation.
While the Trust welcomes the general thrust of the study, the depiction of two fake 1990s Georgian doorcases on the front cover does not tally with the theme of an authentic heritage product promoted in the report, and highlights the continued need for a more informed approach to the promotion of the city's architectural heritage.
Survey of Gable-Fronted Houses of Dublin
Dublin Civic Trust is currently undertaking a survey of what remains of gable-fronted, or so-called 'Dutch Billy', houses and other early buildings in Dublin. This is particularly pressing in light of the recent loss of unrecognised early buildings in the city to fire, demolition and damaging alteration
The inventory follows on from the Trust’s recent promotion of this area of the city’s architectural heritage and our liason with the leading authorities in this field. It is also an action of the Trust’s successful conference in October 2011 Dutch Billys – A Hidden Building Tradition, Dublin Street Architecture 1600 – 1750 to map as comprehensively as possible what remains of early buildings in the city for use as an academic resource and as a planning tool for Dublin City Council and other agencies.
Supported by The Heritage Council, we hope to publish the initial findings of the study in November 2012, which initially will be confined to designated areas of Dublin city centre in order to be able to undertake as comprehensive a record as possible.
St. Werburgh’s Church Reopens
Abutting the rear of Dublin Civic Trust's premises on Castle Street, the enchanting St. Werburgh’s Church, arguably the best preserved Georgian church in Dublin, has reopened to the public following extensive restoration works over the course of 2011. Previously only opened for services every second Sunday, the church is now open to visitors daily and is attracting significant tourist attention, with over 100 people a day entering its impressive entrance on historic Werburgh Street.
Sited on an ancient ecclesiastical foundation, there has been a church on the site of St. Werburgh’s since the twelfth century. The church currently is a rebuild to a design by Surveyor General Thomas Burgh, of c. 1719, while the interior dates from the 1750s following a fire that destroyed the original interior and is attributed to the architect Joseph Jarratt. It features a magnificent oak gallery encircling three sides of the church, original box-shaped pews, and extraordinary monuments such as the Purcell-FitzGerald tomb dating to the mid-1400s. St. Werburgh's is also host to the splendidly carved early nineteenth-century pulpit originally made for the Chapel Royal in Dublin Castle.
The building originally boasted one of the most remarkable classical facades in the city, consisting of a double-height pedimented front in the Roman manner, topped out by a tower and slender spire. Unfortunately the spire was dismantled in 1810 as a result of security concerns from the adjacent Dublin Castle authorities, while the remaining tower and facade were subsequently removed in the 1830s, depriving the city of one of its most spectacular landmarks.
The church is open daily 9.30am – 5.00pm and donations for the building’s ongoing restoration and upkeep are warmly received.
Source: HortiTrends News Room