Friday 20 February 2009

Bright ideas sought for docklands civic space

DOES HARRY CROSBIE think things are going to turn militant? Even political rallies are to be catered for in the new “civic and public space” being planned by Crosbie for a site behind the O2 Arena (formerly the Point Theatre) in Dublin’s docklands.

A design competition is being organised in collaboration with the RIAI for the space, which is to host “free rock, jazz and trad shows as well as drama, monster céilís and dances, political rallies and events of every kind, including a large weekly produce market”.

According to Crosbie, Dublin city planners are “hugely enthusiastic” about the proposals, which may also include a “giant fireplace” for children to sit around in winter – though no doubt the public liability implications of such an attraction will have to be considered.

The irrepressible impresario is convinced that, in these deeply recessionary times, people want more entertainment to take their minds off the bleak news of banking crises, job losses and the property collapse – which is why bookings at the O2 are so strong.

However, one of the casualties of the recession is Crosbie’s plan to build a 40-storey tower at the Point, designed by Scott Tallon Walker; it has been put on hold. Also in grave doubt is Dunnes Stores’ original plan to become the anchor tenant for the Point Village.

In the meantime, expressions of interest are being invited from architects for the commission to design the Point Square (which the Dunnes Stores outlet was to front onto). Contact John Graby, director, RIAI, 8 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Irish Times

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