Thursday 20 October 2011

Architects produce Clontarf sea wall images

IMAGES OF the Clontarf flood defence scheme’s likely impact on the seafront promenade have been produced for the first time since the controversial scheme was proposed by Dublin City Council four years ago.

“I think they give a very chilling and real indication of the loss of the promenade,” said Antoinette O’Neill, who collaborated with Davey + Smith Architects and 3RRR Architects in producing the series of photomontages.

The images have been produced to “redress the deficit of any visual representation by Dublin City Council and to afford people an opportunity to get some sense as to the alteration to the environment that may be expected”, the architects said.

They stressed the images of the council’s proposals “are an accurate representation based on the available technical data from DCC and its consultants”, culled from the 325-page environmental impact statement on the €10 million scheme.

The impact statement contained no photomontages.

The “before and after” images show the impact of the proposed embankment – which would be up to 2.75m (9ft) high – on the promenade between Oulton Road and Vernon Avenue.

Due to be uploaded today to the website, the images include a photograph of the flood defences in Waterford, which involved erecting a steel-framed toughened glass wall along the quay to guard against flooding from the river Suir.

“An important objective for Waterford City Council was to maintain the view of the river Suir from the quay and the concept of the transparent flood barrier was developed,” according to engineer John Nolan, of the council’s environmental services section.

In the case of Clontarf, however, the proposed flood defences were combined with plans for a new arterial water main. Dublin City Council’s engineers are planning to lay this main on the existing surface and cover it with an embankment to protect against flooding.

Ms O’Neill said what was being proposed by the council – and approved by An Bord Pleanála – was “the cheapest method possible of laying a water main pipe by lying it along a promenade and hiding it under the ugliest flood relief works imaginable”.

She said it was ironic that Dublin had been shortlisted with Bilbao and Cape Town for the title World Design Capital 2014. “Bilbao has the spectacular Guggenheim . . . and Cape Town is a city renowned for its spectacular relationship with the sea.

“Dublin . . . is short on spectacle. But what it does have is its unique relationship with the water.

“From Howth to Dalkey, the land visually embraces the bay; it is one of the defining qualities of our capital city,” Ms O’Neill said.

Frank McDonald
Irish Times

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