Dublin skyscraper refused planning permission

I usually skip over my online subscription to WAN – World Architecture News newsletter when it comes into my inbox each week, but something caught my eye this time, something that I’m always pleased to see in architecture news – “Dublin skyscraper development refused planning permission by local council”.

The refused proposal was for Jurys Berkeley Court, a multi-use redevelopment that would provide offices, residential apartments and leisure facilities.  And oh, here’s a big surprise, both the developer and the architect are “disappointed”.  I mean, perhaps the architects of buildings sometimes think that there design is useless and aren’t disappointed when they’re told that they can’t have it built, but something tells me that it doesn’t happen that often.  But there’s another thing, they also go on to say that they are disppointed because the design would have provided many facilities and opportunities to the local community.  Well, I’m only a student so I’m not fully aware of how these things work, but aren’t the features such as sports hall, day care centre and the economic effect it has on the local community ones of the programme, rather than the design.  I mean, anybody could make a drawing with a number of boxes, label them sports hall, day care centre, apartments and youth club, but that doesn’t mean its a good design!  If the architects had said “I think we nailed the fluidity of our design for the youth club because of the way it really interconnected with the apartments and other facilities,” perhaps I would have been more convinced.

The truth is that any architect is going to be disappointed that their design is rejected, and any developer is going to be disappointed that they have to lose more profit by delaying the start of construction, but what about the considerations of those who will use it?  I wonder how many potential residents and members of the local community looked at the plans and thought “I’m disappointed that this has been refused planning permission.”  By the looks of the images, which really “break the mold”, as the article puts it, of Dublin’s current architectural programme, I would doubt that many would really pledge their full support.  The only benefit for them is that they might get it sooner, but why would anyone allow anyone to perform architectural murder for the sake of getting something sooner?  Well the answer to that is a lot of people, but that still doesn’t mean that its right.

I pledge my full support to the council for standing up against the large companies who think they are God’s gift to architecture because they can draw an odd-shaped steel frame and cover it in glass.  Note:  I don’t pledge my support unconditionally.  These councils also have to be responsible enough to support developments that really will make a difference to the local communities, even when their design might be such that a small insignificant piece of legislation is ignored for the sake of getting the project through faster, reducing the chances of massive losses on the part of the small-time developer who can’t afford to keep paying interest payments on a site that is generating no income.

My message to council representatives out there: take responsibility for what you do.  You are public servants, not people out to just get what you want.  Respect the views of those you represent, and don’t let corporate big guns shoot your ethics into dust for their own profit-making agendas

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