Do not reinstate Georgian facade on ESB offices , says architect

Councillor says organisation owes it to Dublin to restore street

Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects said the winning design that the ESB has for the site was in keeping with a “philosophy within contemporary architecture that you can restore the essence of a historic fabric, in this case the Georgian streetscape, in a contemporary way”.

Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects said the winning design that the ESB has for the site was in keeping with a “philosophy within contemporary architecture that you can restore the essence of a historic fabric, in this case the Georgian streetscape, in a contemporary way”.

 

The traditional Georgian street facade which was torn down in 1965 to make way for the ESB’s headquarters in Fitzwilliam Street in Dublin should not be reinstated when new offices are built on the site, Dublin City Council has been urged by a leading architect.

Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects said the winning design that the ESB has for the site was in keeping with a “philosophy within contemporary architecture that you can restore the essence of a historic fabric, in this case the Georgian streetscape, in a contemporary way”.


Compromised
She said any attempt to recreate the old facade would be compromised by the modern need for universal access and health and safety.

Instead, she envisaged a building that was “respectful to the district and sensitive to its surroundings”.

ESB group property manager Pat Boyle said the “time had passed” for the existing building on the site which was built in the 1960s and it was important to give something back to the city.


Variation
The ESB is seeking a variation from Dublin City Council’s city’s development plan as the current plan calls for the previous facade to be restored.

The new building will double existing capacity and will accommodate an additional 1,400 workspaces.

Cllr Jim O’Callaghan accused the ESB of being “disrespectful” towards the council by bringing forward a plan that was contrary to the agreed policy of all councillors that the Georgian facade should be restored.

Cllr Mary Freehill said the ESB owed it to Dublin to reinstate the Georgian facade.