High-rise schemes and Dublin’s skyline

 

Sir, – Frank McDonald’s article “Ruined Dublin’s skyline will be Minister for Housing’s only legacy” (Opinion & Analysis, April 9th) is a perfect example of the arguments that have held back high-rise schemes across Dublin for so long, resulting in low-density housing developments and inefficient use of commercial space.

Frank McDonald’s criticism that Johnny Ronan’s 22-storey Tara Street scheme contains “not a single square metre” of residential space misses the point that the scheme is a much more efficient use of commercial space than the alternative of several low-rise buildings. Indeed, many of the multinationals in Dublin are spread out in several low-rise buildings instead of being concentrated in a “relatively slender office tower” precisely because of these height restrictions that have prevailed for so long. Moving to high-rise buildings will free up space for other purposes rather than continuously building low-rise commercial developments.

The objections to the scheme that he cites so vehemently about the “detrimental visual impact” of the scheme can only be described as frivolous given that the building is not adjacent to College Green and Trinity College and is in fact on the opposite side of the river to the Custom House. Furthermore, I find the idea that the proposed scheme will ruin Dublin’s skyline bizarre given how tall structures such as the Poolbeg chimneys or Liberty Hall already dominate the same. One can only wonder if Frank McDonald considers Dublin’s skyline “ruined” by the two disused 200-metre Poolbeg chimneys as he does for a building less than half their size that people can work in.

Ironically, the decades-long opposition by urban planners to high-rise development (shared by Frank McDonald) may now result in the “random eruptions of tall buildings” that he now fears. Large areas of the city such as the docklands have been developed with these height restrictions in mind over the last few decades, resulting in little available space for high-rise developments and ensuring that they will almost certainly stand out compared to the surrounding buildings now that height restrictions have been removed. Those in favour of low-rise developments will have only themselves to blame. – Yours, etc,

OWEN O’LOUGHLIN,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – In response to Frank McDonald’s article, the skyline will not be ruined, merely changed. – Yours, etc,

NIALL GOUGH,

Ashbourne,

Co Meath.