12 Publishers

Architecture, Art, Design, Photography, Music & Writing

Category: Urbanism

Architecture April 2017

Tread Softly

Wolfe Tone Park is situated in the middle of Dublin on the grounds of the Church of St. Mary’s alongside the old Jervis Street Hospital.  Though many pass by and over the space between the de-consecrated Church and an old industrial building few think about what lies beneath.    The abstracted diagonal paving with its sparse planting and scattered remnants of headstones was once and remains a graveyard.

NJBA A+U –  Wolfe Tone Square

An international design competition was held in 1998 to reconfigure the enclosed park of stone walls, iron railings, paths and grassed over graves.  Even then the original headstones had been aligned along the boundaries facing into the space inside.  The original stone walls and railings identified the sacred boundary and provided minimal environmental protection from the wind and traffic noise.

NJBA A+U – Monument to Wolfe Tone

The solutions that found favour with the jury converted the bounded space to an unbounded non space, leaking to the street and the surrounding spaces.  Originally the intention was to bring St. Mary’s into the composition but that remains isolated.

Critically however the issue of the dead remained silent in many of the submissions as the graveyard is purported to hold cholera victims with many laid close to the surface.  Instead of revealing the interred it was considered more sensible to leave them where thy lay and move the remaining stones to the shaded end of the new space, leaving some to be presented along the western flank to wear away underfoot.

Our approach to the Wolfe Tone Square Competition was diametrically opposed to the washing away of this memory.   Instead we sought to honour the dead, and the living.  With the additional request to honour Wolfe Tone we split the honorific aspects of our interpreted programme in two contrasting courts connected with spaces for the living visitor.

NJBA A+U – Memorial to the interred

The overall plan for the Square would also recognise the significant environmental problems that currently exist.  The prevailing winds from the South West and West transverse the nearby buildings before hitting the Jervis Street hospital Building and directed downwards make for an uncomfortable location at best.  Our proposal sought to enhance the previous barrier’s tendency to shelter the space by including a system of screening with Birch Trees in raised platforms to break up the laminar flow of the moving air as well as a mask to the traffic noise on either street.  Coupled with an integrated seating and water system the visitor would be enclosed ion a place of calm reflection necessary in today’s world.  The square would also be capable of being closed at certain times to ensure that the place was preserved as a place of respect rather than a place of entertainment, a temptation that is all too often taken up in urban design schemes.

NJBA A+U – Wolfe Tone Square

As the council authorities seek to address the limitations of the current arrangement there is a plan to convert it back to some sort of grassed surface.  As people, re-inhabit the space, as they sit on the grass, as they lounge on those rare days of summer and lie back on the grass they will not know of those that lie barely a few feet away beneath the ground.

Tread softly.

 

Advertisements

Architecture November 2016

Air Rights Development

Air Rights 1.0 – York Street

NJBA A+U has been carrying out research into Air Rights projects in Dublin to leverage the potential of under utilised sites in and about the city centre.  Air Rights I for York Street in 2007 was selected for exhibition as part of the AAI’s (Architecture Association of Ireland) 2008 annual awards.   At York Street the proposal examined the under utilised space over the public realm, a street.

NJBA A+U York St Air Rights I

NJBA A+U York St Air Rights I

By exploiting the geometry of the space it showed how the city can be meaningfully stitched back together to create necessary ad desirable urban accommodation.   Addressing the twin concerns of much needed urban housing and by reducing the carbon footprint of the city Air Rights I offers a view towards what is possible.

NJBA A+U York St Air Rights I

NJBA A+U York St Air Rights I

 

Air Rights 2.0 – Baggot Street (Silver Sliver)

While Air Rights I addressed the nature of the public realm, Air Rights II examined the possible intensification of the private realm.

NJBA A+U Baggot Street

NJBA A+U Baggot Street

Silver Sliver is a proposal for a tiny site between two office developments exploiting the under utiilised space left over.   This particular site consisted of an existing single storey concrete framed retail unit with a roof car park overhead.   The site is under utilised apart from the car park with two blind gables looking down on the space in between.  This sliver site can be easily adopted for use as a residential use.

A lack of housing in the city and low density development means that citizens are forced outward to suburbs and dormitory towns, fuelling increase in CO2 emissions and long commutes.  Crippled by inaction and an excess of vacant land and empty buildings there appears to be resistance to exploring other solutions.

NJBA A+U Silver Sliver Baggot Street

NJBA A+U Silver Sliver Baggot Street

A light timber framed CLT system of standardised panels with CLT floors is an ideal material and technology for occupying this space.  By using the flat deck of the concrete roof (suitably reinforced) will allow a bolt on timber solution.  Rising on the back of the concrete structure the new stacked system of full height CLT panels allows the creation of what Corbusier called “Vertical Sites”.  On these “sites” it is possible to provide for a pair of twin 2 bed apartment units.

Rising above the street line a stepped plan and section shows how narrow sites can be occupied with minimal loss of light and air.  With weights of at least ½ that of a comparable concrete superstructure the new design rises effortlessly above the squat 1 storey retail unit.  The Retail unit is to be converted to a foyer for the new facilities providing a café and other communal services.  Above this level is a social “garden” space for use by the residents.  At the roof level of the new structure two additional social spaces are provided for the residents.

 

NJBA A+U Silver Sliver

NJBA A+U Silver Sliver

 

The new structure provides for 25 generous 2-bedroom apartments with natural cross ventilation and an open deck access to the central lift and stair core, for necessary fire protection.  The external skin is to be unfinished aluminium panel rain screen over insulation becoming a beacon in the environment for a new vertical city.  The tall roof elements that cover the social spaces are also ideal for using PV panels to generate some of the energy necessary for the building’s operation.

The system of construction using large numbers of repetitive elements allows for an economical solution and a rapid build.

Air Rights 3.0 

NJBA A+U’s research continues with Air Rights 3.0 which will begin identifying additional sites for examination.

 

Details of contributors….

For details of NJBA A+U’s range of design and research interests see; http://www.12publishers.com/NJBA.htm

Parenthesis Research Limited’s; https://www.facebook.com/ParenthesisDesignResearch/

Architecture August 2015

In-dependency

582_Poolbeg_Opt1a

The towers at Poolbeg may no longer be in use and though the ESB has shelved plans for their demolition there remains a gap that requires resolution.  Other proposals, from the fanciful to the practical have been made to which we are adding the obvious.  As both a symbol of a new era in abundant energy from non traditional resources (those other than the burning of coal, gas, oil or nuclear fuels) the ESB could re-purpose the towers to wind power.

582_Poolbeg_Opt2a

While the elements require some strengthening (internal steel lattice) they could be the masts to two elegant windmills.  This would be a potent symbol for an energy independent future right at the gateway to Dublin and Ireland.  Moreover this would be a wonderful opportunity to provide a test bed for newer blade technologies.  Glinting in the sun and riding high on the winds they would be a welcome addition to the  windsurfers on Bull Island at the heart of the designated UNESCO Biosphere.

582_Poolbeg_Opt3a

NJBA A+U

previously posted on linkedin