Give us Five – with Volunteer Barbara McShane!

Open House Dublin Volunteer Barbara McShane shares her top five Dublin buildings and why...

1. Georges St Arcade (South City Markets), 1881.

From Dame Court I once witnessed a worker on the roof of this 140yr old turreted, terracotta red brick block operatically sing Nessun Dorma! to amazed applause. But the vital quality of this building is what urges passers-by to a ‘look-up’ for ever-telling visual treats from shifting light, weather & time.

Georges St. Arcade. Lockwood and Mauson. Image from Wikipedia.

2. Liberty Hall, 1965.

17 daylight floating floors that disappeared in darkness was Desmond R.O’Kelly’s inspired realisation for the original non-reflective glass envelope & white mosaic’d fascias. Delicate rising translucent strength; not a bad aspiration for any union HQ! 1972’s replacement of these integral elements irrevocably altered any public pleasure of the Liffeys’ first striking sentry.

Left, Liberty Hall. Image from Archiseek. Right, Liberty Hall as depicted in Paddy Cahill’s documentary on D.R. O’Reilly.

3. The Gas Building, 1927.

I’ve liked the fine façade long before I even knew why or went inside. A medley of architectural influences from Art Deco entrance into Egyptian columned interior & out a Neo Tudor exit, reading like a story with a beginning, middle & end in plan, section & elevation.

The GAS building (TCD School of Nursing and Midwifery). Robinson & Keefe.

4. The Spire, 2003.

The 120m tapering top-lit cone doesn’t inspire general positive appreciation but I’ve always liked its classic column abstraction. I see it as a sleek contemporary slim- profile Wellington Monument & from above it displays a diverse Dublin, as does the iconic Eiffel Tower or the Washington Monument when their capital cities are shown off.

The Spire (from above). Ian Ritchie. Image from Google Earth.

5. Meeting House Square (Rain Screen), 2012.

Ireland manufactures Ray Bans but not brollys! This existing screened city courtyard gained 4 x 21m high asymmetric tilted umbrellas which are as graceful open as reverse closed, standing to steel spoke’d attention. This canopy imparts new light-dapple and rain sound to the now sheltered but still open-air space.

Meeting House Square Rain Screens. Seán Harrington Architects. Image from ArchDaily.


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Meeting House Square Rain Screens. Seán Harrington Architects. Image from ArchDaily.