Council to consider scheme for inner-city development


FOUR bleak blocks of corporation flats in Queen Street, Dublin, are set to be transformed by an innovative architectural scheme which will, in effect, wrap new housing around them.

The plan, which is strongly supported by the city architect, Mr Jim Barrett, is to be presented to the city council's housing committee today and, if approved, could become a model for other inner-city flat complexes.

The existing five-storey blocks, which consist of 84 flats, were built in the early 1970s at a time when Queen Street was designated for major road-widening as part of the now-abandoned Inner Tangent route.

As a result, much of the site's perimeter is a virtual wasteland, including the frontage on Blackhall Street, where a substantial terrace of Georgian tenement houses was demolished to make way for the flats.

Now, in what Dublin Corporation calls a "major upgrading of the urban fabric", the wasted space, amounting to 33 feet along the entire frontage on Queen Street, is to be developed for new housing.

The plan, drawn up by Shay Cleary Architects on behalf of the corporation's housing department, would upgrade the existing flats and provide 62 new dwellings in a series of L-shaped terraces around them.

The new buildings would be five storeys high on the two street frontages, stepping down to three storeys and single storey between the existing blocks. They would contain a mix of flats of various sizes, mostly with two bedrooms.

Between the existing and new buildings, an area which is currently unusable would be landscaped to provide shared gardens and common recreational spaces. Trees and traffic-calming measures also form part of the scheme.