Friday 24 April 2009

Carlton cinema plan 'positive' for 1916 site - architect

THE PROPOSED redevelopment of the Carlton cinema site on Dublin’s O’Connell Street will have a “positive impact” on buildings used during the 1916 Rising, An Bord Pleanála has heard.

Gráinne Shaffrey, of Shaffrey Associates Architects, said the “Dublin Central” plan would give 16 Moore Street, “the final headquarters of the rebel leaders”, and surrounding buildings a role in the regeneration of the area.

Ms Shaffrey was commissioned by Dublin City Council to carry out the architectural and historical assessment of Number 16 and recommended its inclusion on the record of protected structures.

At yesterday’s sitting of the oral hearing on the €1.25 billion mixed-use plan by developers Chartered Land, Ms Shaffrey said it was proposed Number 16 become a “commemorative centre”. She said trying to protect the national monument buildings at 14-17 Moore Street would “involve some change”.

Ms Shaffrey said the buildings had previously only “presented themselves publicly” on Moore Street but the proposed redevelopment would give them a “much more three-dimensional role”.

She said: “Overall we would conclude it’s not a negative impact and indeed in bringing them back into focus, the buildings themselves, it’s a positive impact.”

Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan told the hearing he believed the political and historical value of the Moore Street buildings was “almost incalculable”. He added: “I wouldn’t trust that site to the hands of developers. I think it’s much too important.”

David Slattery, the project’s conservation architect, said O’Connell Street was in a “pretty horrendous” state from Henry Street up to Parnell Street. He said he had been surprised at the number of buildings with bouncers on the door, “even at 11 o’clock in the morning”.

He was particularly critical of the facade of Dr Quirkey’s Good Time Emporium.

Mr Slattery said the redevelopment proposal would not compromise O’Connell Street architecturally but would be “significantly beneficial”.

Earlier, Eamon Galligan SC, for the applicant, said the height of the scheme had been “radically altered” from 13 to eight storeys.

It would be 1.6m lower than the top of Clerys department store, according to Dublin Central Architects, the partnership which designed the scheme.

Irish Times

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