The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate the typical tower-on-podium buildings that built between the 1960s to 1970s in Dublin city, however, they are currently facing demolition and renovation process. The finding of the research shows that, River House was once appearance on lists of people’s least-favourite buildings in Dublin, and the area is a very important and visible site, which can seem from a long distance away at the top of Winetavern Street and forming part of the backcloth of the Four Courts, a major historic and architectural landmark of international importance and one of the images of Dublin City (was one of aggressive building wrote in Frank McDonald’s The Deconstruction of Dublin). In DOCOMOMO’s response, they described Fitzwilton House is by any measure a significant building in the context of Irish architecture of the 1960s and 1970s – and Irish concrete technology, in particular. Unlike these two buildings currently into demolition process, the new design proposal for Phibsborogh Shopping Centre by Donnelly Turpin architect was proposed to reuse the existing building and extend the building into a student accommodation, which will help to reduce the impact of the housing crisis. Mid 20th century was the period of dramatic economic development in Ireland and many modern buildings were built at this time.
Especially in the central city, it is well-known, once those decayed and obsolete monuments of a past age come to be demolished, many of their sites will be redeveloped with buildings much larger in bulk and greater in height than the present ones.1 Gerry Cahill described this period of architectures in Dublin ignored its context and made self-referential architecture.2 The architecture of Dublin of the 1960s and 70s that has left a lasting impression in the minds of the general public are the imposing, large-scale neo-brutalist or ‘hyper – modernism’ creations.3 Such buildings are contrasted to the ‘architectural renaissance’ of the succeeding generation of Irish architects, headed by the Group 91 architectural collective, who imposed an urban and architectural regeneration of the Temple Bar in Dublin.
What distinguished this period from the decades before it was a desire by architects to re-implant a European character on Dublin, with more emphasis placed on contextualism.4 In his 1994 publication , Twentieth – Century Ireland: Nation and State, Dermot Keogh speaks of Dublin in the 1960s?”Dublin was defaced and deformed with a decade. Some of the ugliest buildings in Europe had been erected in what once had been an elegant city. All that had been in the name of progress and development.”5 This was quite contrast to the 1950s, Dublin was once described as an ’empty tomb’, Hanna Erika wrote in Modern Dublin, 2013, “Dublin is an ancient monument, not so very ancient really, but as a monument, odd in that it consists of the whole sad heart of a city, not public buildings, churches, statues and great houses, but only whole terraces, squares and crescents of residences also. It’s a cenotaph, empty tomb of that really underprivileged figure, the Unknown Nobleman, and it even has its perpetual flame – dry rot.”6 The reason because Dublin was not like other capital cities in European countries, they were burned and destroyed in World War II, and did not participate in the large-scale urban reconstruction. People in 1950s was kind of ‘hate’ about the city, in 1958, the architect and journalist Nial Montgomery gave a paper at the Architectural Association on his ideas for the city, entitled ‘That’ll All Have to Come Down’.
7 It received widespread coverage in the press, and an article based on the talk, entitled ‘Start all Over Again’, was also printed in the Nation Observer.8 To replace this ’empty tomb’, they were mentioned to introduce architectural ideas from aboard, like they called for a Corbusian reconstruction of Dublin.9 In the 1960s and 70s, under the leadership of Sean Lemass and later Jack Lynch and Liam Cosgrave, Ireland moved from a traditional inward-looking stance to an internationally extroverted one. Lemass enforced a modernisation of Irish industry and strengthened ties with America and the rest of Europe. In this period, Irish architects looked overseas, to America. Rowley defines the main sources of American influence on the architecture of the time was twofold: “individual influence”; from the various architects who studied under a particular modernist master in America and “collective influence”; how aspirations for an American style aligned with Lemass’s vision for a modern Ireland. Modern architecture was seen to symbolise the strengthening of Irish-American relations.
10 1 McDonald, Frank, The destruction Dublin (Dublin: Gill and Macmilan, 2000), 72 Cahill, Gerry, wrote of the 1980s in Ireland: “The recession we have experienced has stopped (I hope permanently) our headlong flight into architectural mediocrity that the office boom of the 1960s had begun.”, Architecture in the 1980s: A Decade of Recession, 150 years of architecture in Ireland. (Dublin: RIAI,1989), 1043 Una, Mullally, describes the public’s “fury at how terrible many of our modern buildings are, mourning what was destroyed to building the likes of Hawkuns House, the ESB offices, car parks a modern housing” She claims that during the late 20th century “Craftsmanship was replaced with craftiness, beauty with speed, design with economy, and an appreciation for the appropriateness of a building in its context was replaced with a lack of consideration emblematic of greed.” “Slamming the Door on Decent Design.” The Irish Times, (5 Jan 2014)4 Rowley Ellen, Crisis Culture and Memory Making across two generations of Dublin Architecture, i.e. patterns of thought. (Dublin, Ireland: Architecture Republic, 2012), 2945 Keogh, Dermot, Twentieth-Century Ireland: Nation and State (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan: 1994) .
2786 Erika Hanna, Modern Dublin urban change and the Irish past, 1957-1973. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 52.7 Correspondence with Radio Eireann and press clippings relating to this talk in Montgomery papers. See also Irish Builder and Engineer, 26 March 1955, 2978 National Observer: A Monthly Journal of Current Affairs, July 1958, 99 Erika Hanna, Modern Dublin urban change and the Irish past, 1957-1973. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 52.10 Rowley Ellen, From Chicago to Dublin and back again, (Cork University Press, 2011)