Posts tagged with "Ireland":

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Boris Johnson calls for feasibility study of bridge from Northern Ireland to Scotland

Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson has requested a feasibility report to determine if a bridge could be built between Northern Ireland and Scotland. Great Britain’s Channel 4 News reportedly caught wind of Johnson’s request to the Treasury and Department for Transport asking officials to look into building the link over the Irish Sea, an idea he first began seriously touting last year. The idea was initially circulated in early 2018 by architect Alan Dunlop, a well-known Glasgow-based academic-practitioner, historian, and author, when Johnson was first talking about building a 22-mile-long bridge across the English Channel to France. That discussion with French president Emmanuel Macron began as a way to potentially relieve post-Brexit transportation problems. Dunlop studied the possible connection and unveiled an image to go along with his findings at an architecture conference in Scotland last September.  Based on his studies, Dunlop believes it’s definitely possible to create a roadway and rail link from the island to Scotland, even though past attempts have never gone anywhere. Dunlop estimates such a project—nicknamed the Celtic Crossing—would cost about $13.2 billion if it spanned the North Irish Sea from the Mull of Kintyre in Campbeltown, Scotland to Torr Head in Northern Ireland, the closest points between the neighboring islands.  Right now it takes almost nine hours to get from the northeastern tip in Northern Ireland to the southern tip of the U.K.’s Kintyre Peninsula by car and drivers have to take a ferry. The space between the sites is actually only 12 miles apart. Dunlop has also vocalized the notion that a bridge from Larne, Northern Ireland, to Portpatrick, Scotland, could be an even better location, though it would cost a few billion dollars more and be substantially longer at 21 miles.  Johnson has long been known as a supporter of large-scale infrastructure upgrades around the U.K. As mayor of London, he was particularly excited about the now-abandoned scheme designed by Heatherwick Studio to build a Garden Bridge across the Thames river. The proposal quickly became defunct because it proved to be too expensive, and the city’s current Mayor Sadiq Khan cut the program after being elected following Johnson’s exit.  A spokesperson told Channel 4 News that it’s no secret that the PM is interested in projects like these that “increase connectivity for people” and “strengthen the union.” At one point during his mayorship, Johnson wanted to build an estuary airport as well.  Johnson’s call to conduct a feasibility study for a new Celtic Crossing includes finding out how much it might cost and what risks might be associated with building there—it’s been reported that World War 2 munitions still exist in the Irish Sea. As for Dunlop, he’s fully behind the idea, telling the News Letter that it’s time this project gets a deeper exploration by the U.K. government, but doesn’t want to get too involved with the politics of it all.  “There are naysayers who, for whatever reason, don’t like Boris Johnson or they think it would cost too much money,” he admitted to the paper. “The comments are aimed at Boris Johnson and what is happening with Brexit. They don’t have anything to do with the possibility of connecting Scotland and Ireland... I’m trying my very best to stay clear of the politics and look at it from a straightforward architectural and engineering possibility.”
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Steven Holl-led team wins University College Dublin expansion

The Steven Holl Architects (SHA)-led team has won the University College of Dublin's (UCD) Future Campus – University College Dublin International Design Competition. Holl’s winning scheme will see the creation of a “green spine” across the sixty-acre campus, and construction of a crystalline Centre for Creative Design. Steven Holl Architects was joined by Dublin-based Kavanagh Tuite Architects, Brightspot Strategy, structural engineers ARUP, landscape architects HarrisonStevens, and climate engineers Transsolar. Nearly 100 teams from 28 different countries entered the competition, and a star-studded shortlist featuring Diller Scofidio + RenfroJohn Ronan ArchitectsO’Donnell + Toumey, Steven Holl Architects, Studio Libeskind, and UN Studio was revealed in April. The SHA-designed Centre will reportedly reflect the “60-million-year-old natural geometry” of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, filtered through the “stream of consciousness”-style prose found in UCD alumnus James Joyce’s Ulysses, according to Steven Holl. The resultant building is a geometric take on SHA’s more typical institutional work, with windows and balconies carved into prismatic shapes, including a gem-like auditorium faceted like a dodecagon. A plaza and reflecting pool will meet the building at its base. Inside, the center has been optimized for collecting natural light as the jutting crystal shapes—rotated 23 degrees in reference to the tilt of the Earth—will act as enormous solar tubes. The new building will contain classrooms and maker spaces bounded by glass walls, so visitors can peer into the academic areas without disrupting the work going on inside. The Centre will act as a gateway to the seven new quadrangular green spaces the team has designed, which will be interlinked through the new pedestrian “spine” that will run parallel to the campus’s existing circulation route. The SHA team has included a series of solar power-generating weather canopies along the route, as well as cafes and social gathering spaces. UCD was founded in 1854 and is the largest college in Ireland with over 30,000 students. The current 330-acre campus was designed in 1963 by Polish architect Andrej Wejchert and contains a large number of brutalist buildings. The Centre’s budget will be approximately $60 million, and no completion date has been given as of yet.
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Traffic-plagued Dublin institutes a ban on cars in downtown area to reduce city-center congestion

In another radical pushback on the congestion-creating, carbon-emitting automobile, the Dublin City Council and National Transport Authority have proposed to ban private cars from entire sections of the city's downtown core. The capital city of Ireland and prime economic hub ranks tenth globally in terms of traffic congestion, according to a study led by GPS maker TomTom. The proposed restrictions are part of a more than $165 million improvement plan for transit, cycling, and pedestrians, and a buffer against the city’s present incapacity to accommodate a projected 20 percent increase in commuters to the city center by 2023. In 2014, around 192,000 journeys into the city center took place each weekday during the peak morning period (7am-10am) alone, according to the Dublin City Centre Transport Study. By 2023, that number will spike by 42,000. In order to “ensure that Dublin develops into a more liveable city, where the impact of traffic is minimized,” say officials, changes will occur along major routes in the city center east of City Hall, west of Trinity College, north of St. Stephen’s Green and south of River Liffey. The area in front of the college will be converted into a civic space with a greatly expanded pedestrian footpath, while College Green and the north and south quays will be solely accessible by cyclists, pedestrians, and users of public transport. Meanwhile, Suffolk Street and St. Stephen’s Green North will be pedestrianized. To incentivize commuters to defect from private cars, the city is fortifying its public transportation networks, adding a Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT), upgrading the frequency and capacity of the DART, and running new rail passenger services between Kildare and the Grand Canal Dock area through Phoenix Park Tunnel. Meanwhile, D’Olier Street will be outfitted with a new central median with additional bus stops and segregated cycle lanes, while Westmoreland Street will have wider parks and enhanced cycling facilities. “The city can only continue to function effectively if we offer those living and working in Dublin, as well as visitors, more choices in how they access and move around the capital,” Owen Keegan, Dublin City Council chief executive, told The Journal. Given the 40,000-strong influx of new residents anticipated by the Central Statistics Office within 16 years, Dublin’s traffic reduction targets don’t have the luxury of hit-or-miss. At present, 48 percent of journeys into the city center are by public transport, 33 percent by private car, and walking and biking at 16 percent. The Dublin City Development has set a target of 55 percent for public transport, 20 percent by private car, 15 percent by bike, and 10 percent on foot.
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Irish Arts Center Unveils New Hell's Kitchen Home by Ireland's Office of Public Works

The Irish Arts Center is celebrating St. Patrick’s with fresh renderings of their new building in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. The new center—which was designed by Ireland’s Office of Public Works and Davis Brody Bond—will include a 199-seat theater, a live music venue, a café, dance studios, classrooms, and a community garden. “This will be a new center for a new century for a new Ireland,” said Irish Arts Center Executive Director Aidan Connolly in a statement. “We will finally have a proper home to share the excellence, diversity and dynamism of Irish culture with New York and the world, Honoring our immigrant roots while telling the story of an evolving Ireland and Irish America, the new Irish Arts Center will look outward and redefine what it means to be an ethnically rooted cultural center.” According to The New York Times, the new building will be built atop a small, early-20th century building not far from the center’s current space: a three-story, 5,000-square-foot building, which they've been operating out of since 1972. The center's new space will be roughly seven-times larger than its current home. A five-story brick and glass addition will be built above the existing structure. The $54 million project will be funded through a partnership between New York and Ireland’s governments and public review of the Center’s design will start this spring. If  all goes according to plan, it will open in late 2016.
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Related Eyes Chicago Spire Debt as Speculation On New Life Swirls

The Chicago Spire site, currently the city’s most-watched hole in the ground, has had false starts before. This week The Wall Street Journal reported that Related Cos. of New York signed on to buy the stalled project's debt, raising suspicions that development might proceed on the riverfront site. Santiago Calatrava’s twisting tower design was to stand 2,000 feet high and house condos, but the $64 million land bordering Lake Shore Drive in Streeterville sat idle after the recession hit in 2008. The troubled project has been tangled up in litigation ever since. Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency put the project's $93 million in debt on the market earlier this year. While Irish developer Garett Kelleher’s firm still holds title to the parcel, and Related’s reported deal remains up in the air, speculation swirls around the site which not long ago was prepared to house the nation’s tallest building.
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"Irish Architecture Now" Looks for the Roots of Irish Identity

Ireland is known for lots of things, but contemporary architecture isn't necessarily one of them. Irish Architecture Now, the first-ever showcase of Irish architecture to tour the U.S., aims to change that. Curated by Raymund Ryan, co-curator of the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Irish Architecture Now program features six of Ireland’s leading architecture practices and will travel to architectural schools and institutions to highlight top contemporary Irish architecture, which the organizers state, has “over the past two decades firmly established itself with flair on the European scene.” The tour's first stop was on September 26 at New York’s Cooper Union, hosted by the Architectural League of New York. The Rose Auditorium was filled with spirited crowds gathered to hear presentations from Niall McCullough (McCullough Mulvin Architects), Merritt Bucholz  and Karen McEvoy (Bucholz McEvoy Architects), and Shih-Fu Peng (heneghan peng architects, which relocated from NYC to Dublin in 2001). The panel discussed their work within the context of "Irishness" and its place in the world. Moderator Kazys Varnelis, director of the Network Architecture Lab of Columbia's GSAPP, kicked off the panel discussion with a pertinent question: In the culturally blurred and aggressively-networked world we live today, when the idea of isolation is increasingly less possible or relevant, is it still possible to talk about an Irish architecture? Identity-related questions are tough as the answers often prove complex. While it is easy to simply conclude that the current style of architecture hardly allows recognizable expressions of specificities or local memories, the struggle lies one step back: How do we evaluate whether something translates into architecture when we don't fully understand what that something is? While each of the projects presented was visually stunning and aptly contextualized with respect to unique site conditions (mostly in Ireland), the ensuing discussion was hesitant to yield definitive answers. It did, however, raise an engaging debate over issues of place and identity. The panel raised broader questions—does identity have to be some sort of an essence with authenticity, or can it be a mere construct that we can reverse-engineer? Exemplifying this question is Niall McCullough's church-turned-library. Modern interventions were carefully inserted into the preserved interior—a sleek, folding walnut plane runs across the floor and up against the walls of the Gothic structure while the exterior remains untouched. McCullough sought to change how the building is perceived within, evoking a sense of nervousness within the indifferent orthogonality of the original plan, dually representing the dichotomy of Irish identity. The first half of tour has concluded after the last lecture at the Carnegie Museum, but the second leg will travel to LA, Berkeley, and Chicago in early November. The program is a part of Imagine Ireland, a year-long celebration of Irish arts in America in 2011, produced by the Irish Architecture Foundation, Dublin and funded by Culture Ireland. For more information on Irish Architecture Now, click here.
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Ordinary Spaces

      Inside Palazzo Giustinian Lolin, up a narrow stone stair in a grand salon with silk walls, dim frescoes, and blue-ish gold brocade curtains, the computer monitors talk about the lives of ordinary rooms with a quiet precision that feels like a salve after days of can-you-top-this architecture installations. Ireland does not have a pavilion at the Biennale and has developed a rep for impressive off-site exhibitions and “The Lives of Spaces” is one of a handful of especially effective shows determined to treat buildings as buildings in spite of the “beyond” biennale theme.  

       The simple premise treats literally of the lives of buildings—birth/construction; inhabitation; aging; demolition—independent of, or at least seriously questioning, the staying power of any architectural intention. There’s a lyric video meandering through a 1971 country villa by the Irish Miesian Robin Walker with a Seamus Heaney voiceover reading from his poems about “poetic fossils”. Walker’s enviable flush lines and clean framing devises are generous enough to create spaces where steam condensing on a window seems as purposeful a part of the whole experience as the sleek steel faucet.  Then there’s a brand new library in Waterford by McCullough Mulvin Architects shown on side-by-side monitors. In one, just upon completion—that favorite time of architects for photography sessions—the view is all about architecture and its precision volumes painstakingly related. In the other, it’s a room loaded for use, right down to the Harry Potter book carousels. The message that daily life obliterates many a fine architectural gesture is a healthy cautionary.

     The Arsenale is scant on buildings you’d like to know more about but this tiny show offers up a few, including the Bocconi University in Milan by Grafton Architects. It’s Brutalist, but at the same time as layered as a casbah and obviously beloved by its day-to-day occupants. Look it up. And then on to the endgame of them all: ruins. Silent stills record the demolition of Maze/Long Kesh Prison, a detention center for members of the IRA and potent symbol of the Troubles, as it awaits its next life—probably not without ghosts—as a new national stadium.  Seamus Heaney’s “poetic fossils,” indeed.