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Recommendations for Enhancing the Historic & Retail Character November 2012

A report by

DUBLIN CIVIC TRUST


South William Street Area Study

Foreword Dublin City Business Association welcomes the

The South William Street area is synonymous with

timely publication of this study of one of Dublin’s

the historic character of Dublin. Rich in architec-

most vibrant districts, issued at a time when the

tural heritage and a mercantile tradition, the area

City Centre is at a crossroads about its future.

has been a hive of urban activity since the 17th

Since the downturn in the economy, it has become

Century, where fashionable town houses and mer-

more important than ever to create and sustain

chant premises sprung up on new streets as the

a high quality city core in order to promote foot-

City moved eastwards from the old medieval core.

fall and ensure that an attractive, international

In turn, this was built upon through the high qual-

standard urban environment acts as a draw for

ity redevelopment of parts of the district in the

continued investment in the City. The South Wil-

late Victorian period for modern commercial use.

liam Street area may be described as ‘having it

This pattern of development is still reflected today

all’ – great local businesses, buzzing street life and

in the tightly knit plots, lanes and alleys, warm

high quality period buildings – but this success-

red brick façades and small indigenous businesses

ful mix is deceptively fragile and must be carefully

that make the area a magnet for the citizen and

managed and planned for the future. DCBA’s aim

visitor to the City. It is imperative that these dis-

in commissioning this report is to set out a vision

tinctive qualities are protected in a manner that

for how the area’s dynamic mix of businesses, the

showcases the innate character of Dublin’s historic

presentation of the public realm, and the careful

building stock while also lending a distinctive and

management of all road users, pedestrians and

unique brand identity to businesses in the area.

off-street car parking, can maximise the potential

Building on Dublin Civic Trust’s first study of South

of the commercial streets in the district, making it

William Street in 1999, this stimulating report sets

an appealing place in which to work, live and con-

out a practical vision for how this can be achieved

duct business. Ultimately, it is these principles that

in the 21st Century, ensuring the consolidation and

should also guide the planning of the wider City

sustainable future of this, the most vibrant quarter

Centre – creating a world-class urban environment

of Dublin City Centre.

that showcases our capital as a great European city.

Geraldine Walsh, CEO, Dublin Civic Trust

Tom Coffey, CEO, Dublin City Business Association


South William Street Area Study

Acknowledgements

The South William Street Area Study was commissioned by Dublin City Business Association in association with Dublin Civic Trust.

Principal researchers: Fergus Browne & David Jordan Additional text: Graham Hickey, Dublin Civic Trust Additional contributions: Patrick Nolan Document edited & prepared by: Fergus Browne & David Jordan Visualisations, mapping & graphics: Fergus Browne & David Jordan Photography: Fergus Browne, David Jordan & Graham Hickey

ŠDublin Civic Trust 2012


South William Street Area Study

Contents Foreword Acknowledgements

1. Introduction & Context

iv v

01

Introduction

02

History & Evolution of the Area

04

Planning Policy Context

07

2. Land Use & Activities

11

Land Use & Activities Overview

12

Present Land Use & Activities

14

Assessment of Active Frontages

18

Merchandise & Services

20

3. Townscape & Urban Structure

23

Urban Structure

24

Understanding the Narrative: Serial Vision

26

Street Character Assessment

29

Architectural Character

32

Landmarks in the District

33

Architectural Detail

36

4. Movement & the Public Realm

39

Movement in the South William Street Area

40

Orientation Within the South William Street Area

44

Street Clutter Study

46

Pavement Quality

50

Bollards & the Case for Cast Iron

52

Shop Front Façades

54

The ‘Spill-Out’ Effect in the South William St. Area

56

The Impact of Recent Interventions in the Public Realm

57

Overview of the Public Realm: The Potential for the Redistribution of Space

58

5. Recommendations & Conclusion

61

Recommendations for the South William Street Area

62

A Vision for the South William Street Area

63

Management

64

Design Solutions & Concepts

68

Recommended Materials Pallet for the South William Street Area

72

Design Concepts for Linear Space: South William Street

73

Design Concepts for Punctual Space

76

Design & Street Furniture Detail

80

Activities

86

Conclusion: Problems & Potential

88

References & Further Reading


- Introduction - History & Evolution of the Area - Planning Policy Context


North Retail Quarter

Riv

er

Liff

ey

Trinity College

Merrion Square

St. Stephen’s Green

Legend Grafton Quarter as defined by Dublin City Council South William St. Study Area


South William Street Area Study

Introduction

The South William Street Area sits within the

The purpose of this study is twofold. First, it is in-

Grafton Quarter, an area who’s boundaries were

tended to illustrate the many problems and threats

defined by Dublin City Council in the approved Part

currently evident throughout the South William

8 document for improvement works to Grafton

Street Area. Second, it sets out clear recommen-

Street (September 2012).

dations for the future of the area, highlighting a vision which is unique to the district, one which

Study Objectives

capitalises on its existing dynamics and one which

• Highlight the area’s architectural and historical significance and its role in enhancing the dis-

does not seek to alter them.

trict’s unique character as a commercial hub. The South William Street area is bounded by South

• Emphasise how the character of the area can

Great George’s Street to the west, Exchequer and

be marketed as a unique selling point over the

Wicklow Street to the north, Grafton Street to the

out-of-town centres.

east and King Street South to the south. The de-

• Provide a detailed analysis of the present situ-

fined study area represents an important historic

ation regarding land use and activities; town-

part of the City, an area vital for the future consoli-

scape and urban structure; and movement and

dation of the retail core, but also an area that has

public realm. • Outline key recommendations regarding the

been somewhat neglected.

future management and development of the area. • Illustrate selective design interventions to the public realm. South William Street Area

eet

m

St.

Str

St. fton G ra

So

uth

Wi

llia

ea Gr h ut So

Wi ckl ow

Exc heq uer St.

t G eo rg e’s

St

Trinity College

St. Stephen’s Green

03


South William Street Area Study

History & Evolution of the Area

De Gomme’s Map of Dublin (1673) Illustrates Eastward Expansion

The Study Area’s Medieval Origins & Context

The study area is located to the east of the medieval city as denoted by the city walls (see below), lying within a district referred to in historical records as the land of ‘Tibb and Tom’. Whilst the precise function of the area is unclear, records suggest it was common ground for grazing and medieval pastimes such as archery. Indeed historical reference to the study area goes back as far as Viking times, where, to the east of the district lay a mound that had been used as a Viking compound referred to as the Thingmount, and which survived until the 17th century. Speed’s

To the immediate west of the present South Wil-

Map of Dublin (1610) depicts the extent of Medi-

liam Street Area, development began to occur on

eval Dublin where the open ground to the east had

the lands which belonged to the Aungier estate.

yet to be developed.

The emerging street pattern expanded over time from west to east.

Speeds Map of Dublin (1610)

Emergence of South William St. & Clarendon St.

Following the development of Grafton Street in the 17th and 18th Centuries, a distinct urban form emerged, encompassing the development of Drury Street (1673) South William Street (1676), Clarendon Street (1684) and Fade Street (1700). The early development of these streets took the form of simple terraces of single-plot houses, most likely to be gable-fronted in the ‘Dutch Billy’ manner. The next period of rapid development took place in the 18th Century, when the buildings lining these thoroughfares gradually grew grander in scale as leases expired and properties changed hands. Late 17 th Century Expansion

Brooking’s Map of 1728 (see right) illustrates that

Following the Restoration in the 1660’s, a surge

the present urban grain of the study had by then

of development occurred where clearly defined

become well established. Much of this development

streets replaced former medieval lanes. The emer-

can be seen today along the eastern side of South

gence of key developments east of the city wall,

William Street, where the exhibition rooms (City

namely Dame Street, Trinity College and St Ste-

Assembly House) were built in 1765. The street

phen’s Green (laid out as a square in 1664), pre-

was also given a fashionable boost by the decision

cipitated development and urban expansion east-

of Richard Wingfield, 3rd Viscount Powerscourt, to

wards. This area of development now forms the

build his town mansion there in the 1770’s.

City’s present commercial core. 04


South William Street Area Study

Brooking’s Map (1728)

Section of Brooking’s Panorama (1728)

Detail of Rocque’s Map (1756)

05


South William Street Area Study

The development of the Castle Markets on Drury

This explains why so few buildings from that in-

Street in 1785, was a key catalyst in underscor-

itial period survive on Wicklow Street, as dwell-

ing the area’s market tradition, which was pro-

ings tended to be redeveloped after their leases

ceeded by the relocation of these markets to the

expired.

west side of South William Street. By 1840 the markets occupied both sides of Drury Lane. The

Development of the South City Markets

19

Century saw the mass commercialisation of

South William Street, Drury Street, Fade Street

the street, with ground floors of former residen-

and Exchequer Street witnessed significant de-

tial houses converted into shops, and façades and

velopment in 1878 with the establishment of the

windows of upper floors re-dressed or replaced

Dublin (South) City Market Company. While the

to bring them in line with Victorian fashions.

original Castle Market contained a series of alleys,

th

Development of Wicklow St. & Exchequer St.

Exchequer Street’s name is derived from the presence of the City’s exchequer building which was sited on a lane here. In the 19th Century, the lower part of Exchequer Street was renamed Wicklow Street. The first significant development in this vicinity was the building of St. Andrew’s Church in the 17th Century, designed on an elliptical plan with a distinctive rounded roof visible on Charles Brooking’s map (refer to previous page, upper left), which was subsequently rebuilt on two occasions. The nearby corner of Exchequer Street and Clarendon Street was also leased at this time to William Digges who laid out five buildings there. The 18th Century saw the development of houses, some of which still survive today, which although date from the 1740’s, are cloaked behind later façades. A key catalyst to development along Exchequer Street was the expiry of leases in the late 18th Century, granted in the late 1600’s.

South City Markets Front Elevation

06

the new development resulted in dwellings on all flanking streets being demolished to make way for the market building. The Commercial Development of the Area

During the 19th Century there was a gradual shift from single residence town houses toward multiple occupancy. The study area became home to wholesalers, jewellers, fish and poultry dealers, along with cabinetmakers and tradesmen, including high-order specialist trades. An analysis of Thom’s Street Directory from 1850 to 1900 illustrates the important role that merchant family businesses played in the commercialisation of the district (e.g. Pim Brothers). The district also became known for educational establishments such as the English Day School at No. 63 South William Street. It was during this period of growth and change that Exchequer Street and the surrounding area was extensively rebuilt to cater for new commercial demands. Purpose built buildings were


South William Street Area Study

erected containing shop units on the ground floor

include public houses and tabacconists. Clothiers/

and modern office and service accommodation

tailors/drapery represented the most dominant

in the floors above. It is this character that de-

land use both in 1850 and 1900 respectively, in-

fines the northern portion of the district today and

creasing by 25% between these years.

lends it a distinctive Victorian mercantile quality. Whilst north Georgian Dublin and the west of the

Sustained Maintenance of a Commercial District

City witnessed an increase in tenement occupan-

The growth in commercial intensity both within

cy and widespread economic decline in the latter

and around the study area during the latter part of

part of the 19 Century, by contrast the South Wil-

the 19th Century was sustained throughout the 20th

liam Street Area experienced a decrease in ten-

Century. Indeed throughout the economic boom

ements by 36% and a growth in commercial in-

of the 1990’s and early 2000’s, the popularity of

tensity between 1850 and 1900. The table below

the area was further enhanced by the emergence

provides an overview of land use changes which

of a café/bar culture which complemented the ex-

occurred on Wicklow St., Exchequer St., South

isting retail uses. Today, South William Street lies

William St. and Clarendon St. over the period

at the centre of a vibrant and important retail and

1850 to 1900. The data illustrates that residen-

amenity area in Dublin.

th

tial uses over the said period decreased by 54.5%, while grocers/tea/wine/spirit merchants increased by 89%. It also depicts the closure of specialist stores and services including chandlers and bespoke manufacturer/producers, to more generic stores providing a wider scope of products such as department stores. New uses to the area also Changes in Land Use on Exchequer St., Wicklow St., South William St. & Clarendon St. 1850-1900

Trade

1850

1900

Clothiers/Tailors/Drapery

20

25

Chandlers

3

0

Dairies Department Stores

3

1

0 2

3 4

1 2 5

1 5 7

4

5

Public House Residential

4 0 11

6 2 5

Stationary/Bookbinder/Printer

7

6

Tabocconist

0 15

3 14

Vintners Bookmaker School/Church/Local Institute

3 4 2 4

7 4 2 4

Tenements

33

21

Hardware Manufacturing Tradesman

5

12

9 9 1

5 17 0

5

0

Bakers, Confectionaries, Fruiter, Florist Hairdresser Hotel Jewellers Jeweller/Watch Manufacturer Professional/Legal/Banking Services

Vacant Victuallers

Grocers/Tea/Wine/Spirit Merchants Pawnbrokers Bespoke Manufacturers / Merchants

Source: Thom’s Street Directory, 1850, 1900 07


South William Street Area Study

Planning Policy Context The South William Street Area is one of the City’s most vibrant and successful commercial quarters. However there are a number of planning and development challenges that threaten the future sustainability and vitality of the area. Dublin City Council have responded to these challenges by preparing a range of statutory and non-statutory plans designed to protect the character of the area and reverse the flight of the shopper to suburban shopping centres. Current Planning Policy

There are two key statutory planning documents directly relevant to the study area in question. 1. Dublin City Development Plan 2011 – 2017 2. South City Retail Quarter Architectural Conservation Area (ACA). Also relevant is the Grafton Street and Environs ACA and the Grafton Street and Environs Area of Special Planning Control, which covers a small portion of the study area.

Dublin City Development Plan 2011 – 2017

The City Development Plan is the primary and statutory planning and policy document for Dublin City Council, the purpose of which is to guide the development of the City. Under the Plan, the area of study is zoned Z5 (see turquoise shading below) with a zoning objective that seeks to: To consolidate and facilitate the development of the central area, and to identify, reinforce and strengthen and protect its civic design and character. South

City

Quarter

Architectural

Conservation Area

Adapted in 2007, the South City Retail Quarter Architectural Conservation Area provides a statutory designation designed to protect the area (see green hatching on map below). The rationale for designating the area was due to its special historic character which contains significant building stock (c.110 protected structures), characterised by a relatively intact 18th Century townscape within a compact and vibrant urban quarter.

Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017 Study Area Zoning

08

Retail


South William Street Area Study

This plan in effect eliminates certain development

banners and clutter detract from the architec-

rights, which are normally classified as exempt-

tural qualities of the townscape.

ed development. For further details regarding the

• Inactive street frontages, particularly along

management of the ACA’s please refer of Chapter

the southern end of Drury Street and Claren-

5: Recommendations and Conclusion.

don Street are uninviting and detract from the area’s inherent character (see Chapter 2: Land

Planning Related Challenges

There are a number of planning challenges which threaten the integrity of the area. These include:

Use & Activities) • The construction of the Luas BXD line and the re-paving of Grafton Street is welcomed but it brings its own planning issues in terms of how

• A lack of planning enforcement and manage-

to maintain access and egress to the South

ment throughout the area, involving changes

William Street Area during the period of con-

of use, unauthorised signage and unauthor-

struction.

ised alterations to façades and shop frontages (some of which involve protected structures).

Planning Initiatives

• The area contains an optimal range of land

As a response to some of the challenges outlined,

uses. In the absence of guiding principles gov-

Dublin City Council have development a number

erning desired land use, there is a threat that

of initiatives and actions. Selected schemes which

one particular use could become dominant, to

cover the South William Street Area, but which are

the detriment of other uses throughout the

not necessarily exclusive to the district, include:

district. This threat particularly relates to the expansion of existing, or the establishment of new licensed premises. • Currently a large number of buildings are owned by NAMA (National Assest Managment Agency). This brings into question issues dealing with maintenance and up-keep of these

• South City Retail Quarter Architectural Conservation Area • Grafton Street and Environs Architectural Conservation Area • Grafton Street and Environs Area of Special Planning Control

buildings, some of which are within an Archi-

• Dublin City Retail Strategy

tecture Conservation Area, over the medium

• Outdoor Advertising Strategy

and long-term period.

• City Centre Action Plan

• Development pressure from high-street retailers for larger floor plates threatens the existing

• Your City, Your Space: Dublin City Public Realm Strategy

fine grain in the district particularly the narrow

• Fade Street experimental re-design

built form that characterise the study area.

• South Clarendon Street temporary re-design

• Threat of suburban shopping centres to footfall

• Dublin Bikes and Wayfinder Signage Initiatives

and economic activity. This brings into question

• Grafton Street re-paving

how the study area can continue to provide an

• Forthcoming Grafton Quarter Vision Document

enjoyable experience for the shopper that is more attractive than out-of-town centres. • Poor public realm coupled with the issue of traffic management needs to be resolved. A positive experience for the pedestrian shopper is paramount to the future vitality of the district. • The area contains a number of buildings which are poorly maintained. Superfluous signage, 09


-

Land Use & Activities Overview Present Land Use & Activities Assessment of Active Frontages Merchandise & Services


South William Street Area Study

Land Use & Activities Overview The fine grain of the former merchant houses have encouraged independent, small and varied uses to develop, including uses above ground floor. As such, the diverse range of activities within a small geographical area has contributed to the vibrancy and vitality which the South William Street Area has become known for today. Indeed the intimate plot sizes is critical in retaining a vibrant and animated atmosphere on a street. For example, the large footprints on Clarendon and Lower Drury Streets directly contribute to a reduced amount of footfall and consequently have a deadening effect on the street. In contrast, South William Street and Exchequer Street with their smaller plots attract high levels of patronage. The emergence of a vibrant café/bar culture in the area has centred on these streets.

is currently a fear that buildings under their authority may fall into neglect and disrepair, whilst the agency waits for a recovery in the commercial property market. This would have negative repercussions for the commercial viability of the area. The South William Street Area at present contains a sizable number of public houses. There is a danger that a trend could develop, similar to Temple Bar where an over-dependence on this particular activity could occur. This would be to the detriment of others businesses along with the existing pleasant and positive ambience in the area. It is suggested that by extending the Area of Special Planning Control, land uses can be managed in a more efficient manner, than at present. It is also recommended that the Dublin City Development Plan be varied to strengthen current policy and include specific guidelines on licensed premises, particularly dealing with City Centre locations, such

Commercial Activity along Exchequer Street

as South William Street, which have an inherent character. A Temple Bar cluster of pubs or ‘superpubs’ should be prevented at all costs. Due to the rise in vacant premises throughout the area, the ‘pop-up shop’ or temporary shop is becoming more frequent. There is currently no definition as to what constitutes a pop-up shop in the Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017. This should be amended to reflect this relatively new feature in our streetscapes. While the temporary pop-up phenomenon can be a benign one, some companies are using vacant premises for advertisement purposes i.e. masquerading as a pop-up/

Current Land Use Issues

temporary shop. There has been several instances

NAMA is currently one of the primary land owners

of this occurring in the area most notable, Peroni

in the South William Street Area. Their portfolio

Water on the junction of South William Street and

is concentrated around the Chatham Street Area

Exchequer Street.

and in the Westbury Mall. This report would encourage NAMA to engage with the stakeholders, including landlords, Dublin City Business Association and Dublin Civic Trust so that their portfolio could be managed to optimise the maximum sustainability and improvement of the district. There

12


South William Street Area Study

Interactive Activities on Exchequer Street

13


South William Street Area Study

Ex ch eq ue r St ree t

Stree

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South

C it y M arke

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Ma

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Str

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14

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South William Street Area Study

Present Land use & Activities Wi

ck

Ground Floor Uses low

St

re

The South William Street Area presently contains a et

diverse range of ground floor land uses which lend the area its ambience and vibrancy. Retail is strong within this district, with a particular concentration along Exchequer Street and Wicklow Street. The wide range of cafés, restaurants and bars animate the streets throughout the day and into the night, where pavement seating enhances one’s experience of the public realm. Uses along Drury Street, Clarendon Street and South William Street are dominated by services, offices and in some cases

et

vacant units. These inactive uses are concentrated

n S tre

to the southern sections of these streets, south of

do

Castle Market and Coppinger Row.

Cla

ren

Joh

nso

n

The general diversity in land uses is encouraged Cou

due to the fine urban grain and small plot sizes and

rt

it is this character which has led to the success of

Str

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G ra

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Cha

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Ba

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fto

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this part of the City Centre.

Chat

Legend ham

Stre

et

Retail

Culture/Gallery

Café/Restaurant

Religious

Bar

Hotel

Fast Food

Car Park

Services

Vacant

Office

Education

Residential

Outside Study Area

Leisure/Recreation 15


South William Street Area Study

First Floor & Above Land Uses: A Case study of Exchequer & Wicklow Street

Exc heq uer Str eet

Wic

An on-street survey was carried out to investi-

klo

gate above ground floor level uses fronting onto

w S tre

et

Exchequer Street and Wicklow Street. These eet

two streets are perhaps the most vibrant in

liam

Str

the study area. This is primarily due to the

Wil

fact that they connect directly with Grafton

So

uth

Street. Due to its vibrancy and high footfall Wicklow St. was partially pedestrianised in the 1980s as part of a scheme to improve the public realm of the area. A total number of 88 units/ buildings were examined as part of the survey. The main purpose of the survey is to: • Provide a snapshot of the diversity and density of upper floor uses within the study area. • Identify vacancy levels, deficiency of uses and dominant uses in the above ground floor levels.

Legend

Streets Surveyed

The results of the survey noted that: • Overall

vacancy

levels

are

relatively

Study Area

low

(9.3%). This was to be expected as both Wick-

Door Plates detailing Uses on Exchequer St.

low Street and Exchequer Street are regarded by the City Council as primary retail streets in the City (designated Category 1 retail street). • Office use represents a significant portion of the units surveyed (38.4%). This high level of office use above ground floor has associated benefits in enhancing the commercial diversity of the area acting as a demand stimulant for other uses. • The area has a relatively low level of ancillary office / storage use (9.2%) whilst there is a higher level of independent commercial activity above ground floor level (25.6%). This higher presence of small enterprises does much to enhance the study area’s commercial and employment generating capacity. • Of the units/ building plots analysed in the area some 12.8% were used for residential purposes above ground floor level. The quality and nature of these residential units above ground floor level is unclear.

16

Percentage Breakdown of Units Accessed

Use

% of Units Surveyed

Ancillary Office Ancillary Storage Hotel Office Public House Residential Restaurants/Cafés Retail

4.6% 4.6% 3.5% 38.4% 1.2% 12.8% 9.3% 9.3%

Services Vacant

7.0% 9.3%


South William Street Area Study

Numerical Breakdown of Surveyed Uses on Upper Floors 35 33 30

No. of Units

25

20

15

10

11 8

8

8

5

6 4

4

3 1

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17


South William Street Area Study

Ex ch eq ue r St ree t

C it y M arke

ts

Stree

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South

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Active Frontage Inactive Frontage 18

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South William Street Area Study

Assessment of Active Frontages Wi

ck

low

Rationale St

ree

For an area to be a vibrant hub of activity from t

morning until after midnight there must not only be a multiplicity of land uses sited in relatively small plot sizes but crucially, these activities need to be on display and easily identifiable to the person in the street (i.e. an active frontage). The assessment of active frontages is useful in helping identify the areas of streets that are likely to have a higher footfall than others, owing to a high degree of active frontages. For the purpose of the

t

study an active frontage can best be described as n S tre e

a shop frontage in which the use of the shop is

do

easily identifiable and its design helps to animate the street. Therefore an active frontage can take nso

Cla

ren

Joh

the form of an outdoor seating area or an attrac-

n Cou

tive window frontage displaying merchandise. A

rt

well-marked entrance leading to uses on the upper floors can also be defined as active as the more doors opening on to a street the more active it will be. Alternatively, an inactive frontage is one that detracts from the life of the street. This can take

eet

create a deadening effect on a street’s vitality.

fto

Str

G ra

m L ane

rry

a shop that is vacant and shuttered. Such façades

Active Frontages in the South William St. Area

It can be seen from the study that the various concentrations of active and inactive frontages cor-

Cha

tha

Ba

lfe

Str

ee

t

Ha

n S tre

et

the form of a blank façades (i.e. a wall) or it can be

relate strongly with the level of vibrancy in each street. For example, Wicklow St. and South William St. have a very high level of active frontages

Chat

ham

Stre

et

and are consequently the most vibrant in the area. However, Drury St. and Clarendon St. have high levels of inactive frontages. This is evident from the back-land or service area character that they exude. It is noted that both the City Council’s Car Park on Drury St. and the Clarendon St. façades of the Westbury Hotel do much to reduce the vitality on each respective street. Critically, it can be seen that the area as whole retains a high level of active frontages a key ingredient for a vibrancy and dynamic district. 19


South William Street Area Study

Merchandise & Services The area offers a range of merchandise and services, supporting many independent and specialist businesses, thus maintaining its 19th Century role as a commercial hub for traders and retailers in the City. These characteristics of the South William Street Area are a unique selling point, through which the district can be branded and marketed as a key shopping destination in Dublin.

20


South William Street Area Study

21


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Urban Structure Understanding the Narrative: Serial Vision Street Character Assessment Architectural Character Landmarks in the District Architectural Details


South William Street Area Study

24


South William Street Area Study

Henry Street Area

The urban structure and townscape of the South William Street Area is intrinsically linked to the success of the district as the City’s premier shopping location. By assessing the relationship between street and block, or open space and built form and understanding how the various components in an urban setting each contribute to the experience of a particular space, we can begin to gain an understanding and appreciation of how that space works. This chapter will in turn assess these components and demonstrate how they collectively contribute to the success of the South William Street Area, which offers an experience to the pedestrian shopper which is distinctly Dublin.

Plot and Block Relationship

Urban Structure Figure Ground

The fine grain of the South William Street Area has undoubtedly aided the transformation of the area into the vibrant district we see today. Compared to the Henry Street retail area on the north side of the City (see top left, note this is the same scale as figure ground map on opposite page), the block sizes are smaller, thus increasing permeability though the district. East-west movement through the core of the South William Street Area from the George’s Street Arcade, through Castle Market, Coppinger Row and Johnson Court is dedicated to the pedestrian. The narrow streets and lanes creSouth William Street Area Built Form

ate an interesting and animated space for the pedestrian shopper. However, it is not just the block sizes which have aided in the success of the district. As noted the maintenance of original plots, especially along South William Street and Wicklow Street has led to the prevalence of small and varied retail units, bars, restaurants and cafés. This mix provides employment, diversity and interest in the area and creates animated and active streets. It is imperative to maintain this plot/block relationship especially in the face of pressure from international retailers for larger units. 25


South William Street Area Study

Understanding the Narrative: Serial Vision A series of walking routes have been chosen which help best illustrate the fine grain, narrative and unique qualities of the South William Street Area.

1.

South William Street

Starting at the junction of Exchequer Street the first of these routes moves along South William Street, where one immediately feels a sense enclosure created by the built form on either side. The dominance of restaurants and coffee shops creates a lively and cosmopolitan atmosphere which is aided by the presence of outdoor street seating. 2.

Alternative and independent shops enhance the diversity of uses contributing towards the street’s character. The prospect of Powerscourt House sets the scene, creating a vital focal point and landmark along the street. The vertical emphasis of the built form coupled with the iron railings is a striking feature as one continues along this route. The

3.

view down the street is terminated by the former Mercer’s Hospital Building. Its delicate architecture and tower not only acts as a terminal vista to this route but also offers a great point of orientation in the district and draws the pedestrian through the space. However, on-street parking on the southern part of South William Street detracts from the ambience of the journey.

4.

1

2 3 4

5.

5

6

6.

26


South William Street Area Study

Castle Market - Johnson Court

Starting at the junction of Drury Street and Castle Market, this route moves eastwards towards South William Street, passing bars and restaurants with their canopies extended onto the street. Passing by Powerscourt House and moving into Coppinger 1.

Row more bars with outdoor seating are encountered. As one ambles across Clarendon Street and moves towards St. Teresa’s Church into Johnson Court, the very narrow nature of this passage is fully appreciated. The winding lane creates an intimate experience for the pedestrian, providing a sense of excitement. This route terminates at Grafton Street, which forms a strong juxtapo-

2.

sition to the journey taken. Overall, the user of the space is stimulated by a remarkable change in the streetscape, a change that is marked by commencing with a formally planned Victorian market street, crossing a classical Georgian thoroughfare and terminating in the medieval-like winding lane that is Johnson Court.

3.

4.

6 5

4 3

5.

2 1

6.

27


South William Street Area Study

Clarendon Street

Commencing on Chatham Street one proceeds north onto Clarendon Street and immediately notices a change in atmosphere and activities compared to those of Chatham Street. The street appears to be wide yet devoid of activity, although 1.

the pavement is narrow compared to the road space given, it gives an impression of a back-land type character. Ones’ pace is increased due to the prevalence of office and service uses. At the junction with Coppinger Row the street narrows considerably and becomes more active and lively. Passing St. Teresa’s Church, the townscape of Wicklow Street comes into full view - an inviting space for

2.

the pedestrian.

3.

4.

6

5 4 3

5.

6.

28

2

1


South William Street Area Study

Street Character Assessment 1./2. Exchequer Street & Wicklow Street 1

The unique architectural qualities of Exchequer

2

Street and Wicklow Street exudes a sense of nostalgia for an age gone by, illustrating 19th Century townscape at its finest. The angled

7

nature of Wicklow Street provides the perfect 3

setting for viewing the architectural details of the fine buildings. The roof treatments,

6

4

bow windows, brick façades and shop

8 9 5

fronts act as a uniform unit. It is recommended that statutory protection 10

be added to these streets to protect

12

this attractive townscape.

14 15 17

11

13 16

have permanently destroyed the architectural qualities of the street.

3. Drury Street

The upper part of Drury Street is dominated by the George’s Street Arcade, a fine example of Victorian neo-gothic architecture and contains many small units. The southern part of the street is less attractive, service and office based and as such attracts less footfall. The presence of the City Council Car Park creates a blank imposing façade, although an attempt was made to provide retail units. The public realm along the street is of a poor quality. 4. South William Street

Railings are a key feature on this street and should

South William Street was originally laid out in

also be protected from future removal. The abun-

1676. The street has remained virtually un-

dance of on-street car parking to the south of the

changed since the 18

Century and is character-

street discourages pedestrian activity. This coupled

ised by terraces of merchants’ houses and punctu-

with very poor pavement quality in places, detracts

ated by two very important buildings, Powerscourt

from the street. Although recent years have seen

House and the City Assembly House. The main

street improvements to the front of Powerscourt

threats to the street today are from unauthor-

House, more needs to be done to improve the qual-

ised alterations to building façades, some of which

ity of the street, to protect its integrity and charm.

th

29


South William Street Area Study

5. Clarendon Street

8. Coppinger Row

Clarendon Street today is largely characterised

Located between two of South William Street’s

as a service-based street which contains a light-

most important buildings, Powerscourt House and

er footfall compared to other streets in the area.

the City Assembly House, this pedestrian street is

Blank façades created by the service entrances to

similar to Castle Market in that it contains a range

Brown Thomas and the back of the Westbury Ho-

of café and bar uses, animating the street and cre-

tel contributes to this. This lighter footfall is re-

ates vibrancy well into the night. The threat to this

flected in the range of land uses on the street. The

street is also from the prevalence of completely

northern part of the street is most vibrant, at the

enclosed awnings, which segregates activity away

junction with Coppinger Row and Johnson Court

from the street. The street is the venue for a small

and becomes significantly quieter to the south. St.

but attractive market every Thursday (see below).

Teresa’s Church is the most dominant building directly fronting onto this street, adding a continental flavour. 6. Fade Street

Fade Street is characterised by the red brick and Victorian architecture of the George’s Street Arcade. The café/restaurant on the southern section of the street adds life the to space showing the future potential of the street if similar uses were to be established. Recently the street has been given a makeover by the City Council, which has seen the removal of on-street car parking amongst other interventions. 7. Castle Market

This attractive street is extremely vibrant containing a range of retail, bar and restaurant uses. More recently, premises have erected enclosed awnings, which have the effect of blocking the uses off from the street. This needs to be avoided at all costs. The charm of this street and indeed the area, is due to the prevalence of a ‘café culture’ which attracts outdoor seating.

9. Johnson Court

This

attractive,

nar-

row lane links Grafton Street

to

Clarendon

Street and exudes an old

worldly

charm,

where a sense of the ‘unexpected’ is experienced. A range of small retail uses along with the entrance to St. Teresa’s Church is also located off Johnson Court. 10./11./12. Harry Street, Chatham Lane & Balfe Street

Leading off Grafton Street, Harry Street is a small pedestrian street which leads to the Westbury Hotel and Mall along with pavement stalls for selling flowers. Chatham Lane and Balfe Street although contain some restaurant and retail uses, are generally poorly patronised and largely function as access lanes and service area to the Westbury Hotel and adjacent activities. 30


South William Street Area Study

13./14.

Chatham

Street

&

Chatham

Row

15./16. Clarendon Market & Clarendon Row

Chatham Street is an active, vibrant and attrac-

Clarendon Market is a narrow lane located to the

tive route leading off Grafton Street and contains

rear of the DIT Conservatory of Music and Dra-

a wide range of cafés, restaurants and bars as

ma, linking Johnson Place to Clarendon Row.

well as some retail units. A Dublin Bikes station

Pavement seating creates an inviting and ani-

is also located here. Outdoor seating belonging

mated space (see below), demonstrating how

to various premises is prevalent although the

high enclosures and barriers are not always re-

‘closing-in’ effect caused by awnings is becom-

quired in order to provide seating. Clarendon

ing evident. Leading onto Chatham Row, restau-

Row provides local access to North King Street.

rant uses continue on the north side of the street, where pavement screens for outdoor seating are not used. This is a much more effective approach to outdoor seating and creates a more inviting atmosphere along the street. The DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama is located on the south side of the street, which adds character throughout the day as the music filters out onto the street. Traffic is quite a dominant feature along Chatham Row. A traffic calming scheme would be quite successful in this location, allowing car access, but prioritising the pedestrian and creating a more inviting and safe environment which would benefit busi-

17. Johnson Place

nesses providing extra room for outdoor seating

Johnson Place is an attractive junction contain-

(i.e. the spill-out effect) as a result of pavement

ing the former Mercer’s Hospital. This impressive

widening.

building contains a clock tower which is a significant landmark which terminates the view along South William Street. The open space created at the junction is dominated by vehicular traffic from George’s Street, South William Street and Clarendon Street. The space is quite cluttered, containing a large amount of bollards and signs. There is great potential to re-organise the space and make it more pedestrian friendly.

31


South William Street Area Study

Architectural Character

Street and Exchequer Street, where former resi-

The historic evolution of the South William Street Area over the course of three centuries is evoked in the distinctive architectural character of the district. While prominent examples of public buildings and landmark structures command vistas, it is the intimate grain of Victorian merchant premises, 18th

dential houses gave way to larger-scale, purposebuilt retail and service buildings. The defining characteristic of this redevelopment is the use of factory-produced red brick facing façades, creating the uniformly warm atmosphere along the thoroughfares that is at once distinctively Victorian.

Century town houses, and individual shop units that generate a unique sense of place through

Red Brick Façades - Exchequer Street

their architectural expression. The majority of streets in the area were originally built as residential enclaves, hence the high density of single plots on streets such as South William Street and Wicklow Street. A number of early houses from the early 18th Century, some of which were originally gable-fronted, still survive in the area cloaked behind deceptive later façades. However, the majority were swept away by the latter part of the Georgian period, to be replaced by the grand town houses seen on South William Street that form marching cliff faces of red brick and classically ordered fenestration. The stimulating variety of domestic doorcases and railed basement wells here is one of the street’s delights – a highly distinctive feature for a commercial thoroughfare that lends it a memorable quality. Similarly, the exceptional quality of a number of the houses’ decorative interiors, which often feature transitional rococo stuccowork and heavy joinery, provides a unique setting for innovative retail and service accommodation. Classical Style Doorway on South William Street

Further advances of the industrial revolution popularised terracotta and polychromatic brick, resulting in many shop fronts, windows, parapets and rooflines being adorned with ebullient decoration. While some of these modernisations simply masked existing buildings, the majority were rebuilt from scratch, the most ambitious being the sprawling South City Markets, now the George’s Street Arcade, built in a Gothic Revival style to the designs of English architects, Lockwood and residential

Mawson, along with its associated planned retail

streets in the 19 Century is apparent on Wicklow

street of Castle Market. Other buildings, such as

The

commercialisation th

32

of

Dublin’s


South William Street Area Study

George’s St. Arcade (Former South City Markets)

Landmarks in the District The urban character of the South William Street Area is greatly influenced by the hierarchy in building types and their individual architectural expression. The built morphology here is somewhat different to the rest of the City Centre due to the tightly knit, organic development of its streets, where public buildings and landmark edifices blend more subtly into the streetscape than the statement set-pieces located on the wider thoroughfares of the city. This lends the area a somewhat continental flavour, where sudden views of high quality signature buildings on narrow streets captivate the passer-by with a burst of grandiose scale and architectural detail. City Assembly House

The reticent brick and stone façade of the former Exchequer Chambers on Exchequer Street, are ex-

City Assembly House belies one of the most impor-

amples of the growing trend at the turn of 1900

tant public buildings in the area. Originally built in

for purpose-built office accommodation with retail

the late 1760s by the Society of Artists as one of

units at ground floor level flanking a grandiose up-

the first public galleries in Europe, it later became

per floor entrance. These buildings often feature

home to the assembly of Dublin Corporation until it

handsome original shop fronts designed to be read

acquired the current City Hall in 1852. The building

as part of an overall composition with their upper

retains its impressive octagonal exhibition hall and

floor façades, being decorated with brick pilasters,

a variety of handsome 18th Century rooms overlook-

stone dressings and robustly carved timber display

ing South William St., all proposed to be restored

windows.

in coming years by the Irish Georgian Society. City Assembly House Main Entrance

There are relatively few examples of 20 Century th

buildings in the district, an indication of the largely intact historic character of the area. Some pleasant early examples can be found on South William Street and Lower Stephen Street, however later interventions, such as terraces on Clarendon Street, Clarendon Row and Chatham Row are generally undistinguished and light industrial in character, many catering for the wholesale clothing trade that established here in the 1900s. Nonetheless, a number of high quality shop fronts allow for contemporary styling to make its mark in the area within an historic context.

33


South William Street Area Study

Former Mercer’s Hospital

Former Mercer’s Hospital

Fittingly terminating the vista of South William Street is the sober, classical granite façade and copper-clad clock tower of the former Mercer’s Hospital. Constructed on the site of an older hospital building, the current structure is an interesting amalgam of the 1750s and 1880s, with the distinctive cupola marking the junction between the two phases providing an attractive focal point from as far away as the junction with Andrew Street (see right).

Powerscourt House

The most dramatic landmark building is Powerscourt Town House, with its impressive 1770s façade of rough Wicklow granite dominating the street scene. The sheer scale of the building, with its somewhat awkward, old-fashioned proportions and gracious sweep of entrance steps, injects an antique charm to this commercial street while hinting at the aristocratic pretensions of its origins.

Staircase of Powerscourt House, South William Street

34


South William Street Area Study

George’s Street Arcade

DIT Conservatory of Music

The George’s Street Arcade, originally known as

The DIT School of Music on Chatham Row is one

the South City Markets, is one of the landmarks of

of the youngest public buildings in the area, origi-

the south city centre, with elevations facing onto

nally being constructed as a Fire Brigade Station

four streets. One of the most ambitious buildings

for Dublin Corporation in 1884. It was later leased

of its time, the complex was completed in 1881,

for use as the Technical School of Music in 1907-

serving as a market and as host to a multitude of

08, with the Corporation’s Public Health Depart-

retailers in shops both inside and fronting streets

ment and City Laboratory taking over in 1913. The

around its perimeter. Restored following a disas-

building later reverted back to educational use,

trous fire in 1892, its fantasy Gothic Revival skyline

with the original glazed canopies in the courtyard

- crowded with turrets, chimneys and dormers - is

being demolished and replaced with a brick-front-

one of the great architectural embellishments of

ed extension of c.1940. The wrought-iron railings

the Victorian city, and contributes considerably to

fronting the street feature charming Art Nouveau-

the vitality and charm of the surrounding district.

inspired gate piers, adding quirky decorative interest to the streetscape.

St. Theresa’s Church

School of Music, 1913

St. Theresa’s Church of Clarendon Street is one of the hidden architectural gems of the area. Established in 1793 as a simple church and friary, it took the commonplace form of early Catholic churches by concealing itself from public view within a street block. The complex was progressively expanded and altered, with the addition of the campanile and entrance gates on Johnson Court in the 1860s, and the erection of the impressive Lombardesque granite façade facing Clarendon Street in 1876. The large red brick monastery with its courtyard located alongside injects a distinctly Italianate flavour to proceedings, complementing this enchanting and always busy spiritual and social focal point

School of Music, 2012

of the district.

St. Theresa’s Church Interior

35


South William Street Area Study

Architectural Detail

The eclecticism of Victorian design is visible in façades of the study area, often expressed through Elizabethan and Tudor revival features, as well as influences from the Arts and Crafts movement. Much

design

interest

stems from surviving historic ture,

street

with

furni-

examples

including a pillar box from the reign of King Edward VII (left), castiron railings of c.1840 (below), and a stoical

Egyptian

revival

door knocker of c.1830 (right).

36

Distinctive, well-crafted features contribute towards a sense of place, as with the charming projecting arm lanterns of Neary’s pub on Chatham Street (above). Elements such as these animate the street and generate a sense of civic pride.


South William Street Area Study

The array of formerly domestic doorcases on South William Street are an essential part of its character, ranging from the pedimented granite doorcase of c.1770s (above) to a quaint Gibbsian entrance of c.1760 (below). Protecting these as dominant features on the street must be a key planning objective.

The quality of 18th Century architecture and design in the area is a unique cultural and marketing asset for businesses in the district. Features such as high status carved staircases (top), iconic fanlight entrances (above), and authentic historic fabric such as cut stone floors (below), all contribute to the distinctive atmosphere and brand of the area that makes it an attractive place to shop and do business in. Preserving and showcasing these elements is essential.

37


-

Movement in the South William St. Area Orientation in the District Street Clutter Pavement Quality Bollards & the Case for Cast Iron Shop Front Façades The ‘Spill-Out’ Effect Interventions in the Public Realm Potential for the Redistribution of Space


South William Street Area Study

Introduction - A Contested Space!

The South William Street Area is characterised by its intimacy, a quality that is not only reflected in its built from but also in its movement channels, its streets and lanes. The result is that there is a strong link between the design of the public realm and the impact it has on all forms of movement within the area. The present division of public space in the district has resulted in the street becoming a contested space. That is to say, the pedestrian shopper, delivery vans, cyclists, cars and outdoor café and bar seating are all in competition for the use of this finite space. Whilst this competition creates a vibrant and animated atmosphere, the design quality of a space, if seen to be neglected, will continue to have a detrimental effect on the experience a visitor will have, risking a diminution in the longer term prospects for the area.

Movement in the South William Street Area The study area lies within a larger strategic retail district, defined by Dublin City Council as the Grafton Quarter (see map below). The district, with Grafton Street as its pedestrian spine, is bound by South Great George’s Street, Stephen’s Green, Dawson St. and Dame St. These streets form a public and private transport box which, for the most part, vehicles circulate around but not through. The result is that the study area can be best described as a 5 kph. environment, one that is dominated by the pedestrian shopper. Despite this situation, many streets are engineered as if they were still dominated by vehicular traffic i.e. a 60 kph. environment. Features, such as narrow, poorly maintained footpaths, on-street parking and all the associated signage and street clutter should have no place in such a slow movement area, an area which should be a shared space for all users.

Transport Infrastructure in South William St. Area

Luas

Luas

40


South William Street Area Study

On-Street Car Parking

There is a general trend toward the reduc-

Exc heq uer Str eet

Wic

tion in the amount of on-street car parking

klo

w S tr

eet

being provided in the area. For example the eet

City Council have recently banned on-street

Str

parking on Fade St. and on the southern

uth So

Str

et

ry

re St n

(Summer 2012). Overall, the re-

Dru

has taken place on Clarendon Street

eet

tal temporary widening of the footpaths

Wil

liam

part of Clarendon Street. An experimen-

ar

en

do

sult is that less that twenty on-

T

Cl

street parking places remain in the study area. However, these are mainly conJo hn

centrated around the parts of South William

so n P la c e

Street and Drury Street that are the most patronised by shoppers and have inadequate pavement widths to cope with the pedestrian traffic. Another issue of concern is that some cars are parking in spaces clearly designated as loading bays (see below). It is rec-

Legend

On-Street Car Parking

T

Disability Car Parking Taxi Rank (Westbury Hotel)

ommended that study into designated spots loading bay capacity be reduced in the area. Multi-storey Car Parking

The study area plays host to three multi-storey Cars on Left - Parking in Loading Area

car parks including the Brown Thomas, Drury Street and City Council Car Parks. Overall, the Grafton Quarter area has capacity for over 2,500 cars in multi-storey car parks (Dublin City Council, 2012). It is also seen that these car parks have spare capacity, therefore they would be well placed to accommodate the extra demand for spaces should there be an elimination of all on-street parking in the area. As noted in a recent study by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, reducing onstreet parking is a widely accepted policy for

Legend

improving the public realm in European cities.

Grafton Quarter (as defined by DCC) South William St. Study Area Pedestrianised Area

Access and Egress & Proposed Developments

Multi-storey Carpark

The study area will be directly affected by two

One-Way Traffic Route

major interventions over the next few years;

Two-Way Route

the Grafton St. re-pavement works and the Luas

Luas Green Line

Luas

Planned Luas BXD line

Luas

BXD line. It is essential that a traffic manage-

Bus Stop

ment system be implemented to ensure that

Dublin Bikes Station

access and egress be maintained at all times. 41


South William Street Area Study

Cycling Infrastructure

Bike Stands on South William St.

The study area, with its slow moving traffic and lack of major junctions with associated traffic lights, offers a good environment for cycling. Cycling is an important component of movement through the area, indicated by the well-patronised bike stands on South William St., Exchequer St. and Johnson Place and also by the success of the Dublin Bikes Scheme. However, there are some issues that have the effect of reducing the potential that cycling has as a transport option for shoppers frequenting the area. Firstly, the one-way street system presently in place reduces the accessibility of the area to cyclists. Secondly, cyclists are in

Number of Bike Stands in Study Area

direct competition with the car for the limited road space available in the area. Lastly, the placement of bike stands on congested pavements, particu-

57 Stands

larly where there is outdoor seating is problematic

accommodating

for pedestrians (see upper right). Some measures

114 Bicycles

to resolve these problems could include: • Making some streets contra-flow for cyclists. • Removing all on-street car parking in the area. • Widening the footpaths or instituting a pedestrian dominated scheme for the area. Dublin Bikes Scheme

Since its launch in 2009 over 3.5 million trips have been made on Dublin Bikes (June 2012). This astonishing figure demonstrates that cycling is becoming an increasingly accepted part of transport throughout the city. There are two stations in the area of study, located at Exchequer St. and Chatham St. with 24 and 29 bike spaces in each respectively.

Bicycle Clutter

The problem of bicycle clutter is prevalent in some areas, particularly on the narrow and intensively used pavements of South William St. The City Council has responded to this increased demand for bicycle parking by placing extra stands on existing polls (see below). Whilst this is one solution to the problem, the location of some of these supplementary stands has also increased clutter at pinch-points, hindering pedestrian movement. It is seen that a strategic plan for bicycle parking needs on a district wide level would provide the best solution for bike parking needs. This would avoid the present situation were stands are scattered through the area in a random and ad hoc manner. Supplementary Bike Stand - S. William St.

42


South William Street Area Study

Pedestrian Provision

shops, pubs and cafés, delivery times should

There is a strong divide in pedestrian footfall

be limited to before 10.00 am in the morn-

within the study area. Wicklow St. is consid-

ing for all businesses. An exception could be

ered by Dublin City Council as a primary shop-

made for restaurants that rely on fresh pro-

ping area (Category 1 Retail street) similar to

duce and may need deliveries for a short pe-

Grafton St. (Dublin City Council, 2011), while

riod in the afternoon. Outside of these hours,

other streets such as Clarendon St. and Drury

the proposed urban cargo scheme using tri-

St. exude a distinctly back-land character.

cycles that can carry up to 180 kg should be

However in many cases, the streets that at-

implemented to service business needs. Ac-

tract high pedestrian footfall, such as South

cording to the Dublin City Business Associa-

William St. and Exchequer St., there has been

tion (DCBA) this would also slash costs for

little or no extra provision made to cater for

business deliveries by 15% for ‘last mile’

the greater levels of patronage. Referring to

journeys.

the street clutter study (see pages 46-47), it is also noted that the places with the highest

Exchequer St. at 12.30pm on a weekday

footfall on South William St. are the same areas that are most affected by street clutter. The provision of quality space for shoppers who visit the area looking for a quality retail experience must be a priority goal for the future development of the area. S. William St. - A Congested Area for Shoppers

Urban Cargo Tricycle

Delivery Vehicle Congestion

It is noted that some streets in the area such as Exchequer St., Wicklow St., South William St. and Drury St. suffer from prolonged con-

Dublin City Council

gestion caused mainly by delivery vans supplying goods to businesses. These vans have the effect of both detracting from the character of the streetscape and ‘closing-off’ shop façades from shoppers on the opposite side, adversely effecting passing trade. While it is recognised that vans need to have access to 43


South William Street Area Study

Orientation Within the South William Street Area

Drury Street

44

South William Street

Clarendon Street

It can be seen that the South William Street Area

from the other. In this way it is the combina-

is a very legible entity within the City. That is to

tion of high permeability, the lack of a domi-

say that its townscape and character is unique

nant landmark and the continuity of the fine

to the area, distinct from that in the North Re-

plot sizes that actually work against the area’s

tail Quarter or even in the formal squares of the

internal legibility. This can have a negative ef-

South Georgian Core. However on a local lev-

fect on footfall for certain streets in the area

el, its intimate atmosphere and the fine grain

as shoppers may perceive the district to be

of its streets can make orientation difficult for

somewhat of a maze and decide to stick to the

the visitor. For example, there are three paral-

main thoroughfares of Grafton St. and Wicklow

lel streets running North-South between Grafton

St. There are many simple solutions that can

St. and South Great George’s St. The illustration

help remedy this problem which would both in-

above shows that when each is viewed from the

crease streets’ legibility and also create a more

south it can difficult be to distinguish one street

attractive environment.


South William Street Area Study

Suggestions to Improve Internal Legibility The internal signage of the area could be improved by the selective placing of extra Wayfinder signs at critical junctions (see left). Alternatively, the classic street signs (see above) could be affixed to those street corners where they are current absent.

The bronze statue of Phil Lynott on Harry St. is the only piece of public art in the study area. Such works give a visitor a certain level of remembrance of the area. They may not remember the name of the street but

they

certainly

will remember the street. More iconic and tasteful works of

art

would

add

legibility to certain routes.

Also,

ap-

propriate

spaces

within

the

district

should

be

desig-

nated as places for street entertainers.

Attractive and well-maintained public seating can help create a legible street by placing a punctual point or destination along a linear route. The example (see right) shows seating integrated as part of a soft planting scheme at the Kildare Village Outlet, Co. Kildare. Wood as a material for seating is often desired as it is more comfortable for seating particularly during wintertime and colder periods. 45


South William Street Area Study

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46

Kin

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et S out h

S

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South William Street Area Study

Street Clutter in the Study Area Wi

L

ck

Rationale low

St

L

re

An audit of the extent of street clutter in

L

et

the study area is a useful tool in determin-

S L

S

ing whether areas of the public realm are

L L

overly congested, both spatially and visually,

S

L L

S

S

with various elements of street furniture (i.e. signs, bins etc...). Although all types of street furnishings have been mapped this does not suggest that necessary utilities such as stop signs and street lighting are street clutter.

S

However, it does show that by their distribution and intensity at certain places their

et

presence can impact negatively on the spe-

do

n S tre

cial character and integrity of the area.

ren Cla

S

Joh

S

Extent of Street Clutter in the Study Area nso

Overall, it is seen that there is not a major

n

Cou

problem of street clutter in the study area.

rt

Indeed it can be seen that many areas are almost clutter free, for example along the southern sections of Drury and Clarendon

S

Streets. Therefore, it can be seen that these

n S tre e

t

streets are able to function well without un-

fto rry

lfe

trict would be free of street clutter. There are some notable findings from this study which will be discussed over the following pages: • The cluttered nature of the recent inter-

tha

• The excessive amount of bollards on Clarendon St. and South William St. • The fact that street clutter seems particu-

S

ham

was applied to the whole area then the dis-

vention on Fade St.

Cha S

S t rA eet L

m

Ba

Chat

G ra

S S

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Lan

e

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et

S

necessary street furnishings. If this principle

larly intensive at junctions and areas that

L

Stre L

et

L L

have a greater amount of public space. Legend

Bins

Planters

Bollards

Post Box

Cycle Ranks

Seating

Dublin Bikes Stand

Signage

Information Board JC Decaux Advert Sign

i JCD

Naked Pole Street Light Wayfinder Signage

L

P.O.

S

Telephone Box Parking Meter

P

Utilities Box

U

Public Art

A

WF

47


South William Street Area Study

Public Realm Intervention & Street Clutter on Fade St.

The recent intervention carried out on Fade St.

street furniture increasing from 17 to 40. This

has resulted in a tangible improvement in the

is contrary to the Public Realm Strategy for the

amount of space dedicated to the pedestrian. This

City where there is an objective to de-clutter the

is primarily due to the removal of on-street car

public realm. The design of some of these fur-

parking. Whilst this action by the City Council is

nishings such as the street lights (4 no.) and bol-

to be commended, other elements of the inter-

lards (14 no.) are not in keeping with the char-

vention such as the needless increase in street

acter

furnishings are less desirable. It is noted that

Imaginative ways of reducing clutter, such as us-

while some new street furniture includes plant-

ing bike stands instead of bollards (only where

ers which help soften the environment, the work

bollards are absolutely necessary), could be eas-

has resulted in the amount of individual pieces of

ily employed to reduce visual clutter in the area.

Fade St. - Before Intervention

Fade St. - After Intervention

of

the

surrounding

built

environment.

Google Earth, 2009

Before

S

L

After S

U S

P S

S

S

S

S

S

L

Signage

48

Wayfinder Signage WF

Utilities Box

Telephone Box

Seating

Utilities Box

Bollards

S

Bins

L

S

S

U

U

S

L L

Legend

Street Light

L

L

L

Cycle Ranks

U

S


South William Street Area Study

Bollards / Bike Stands

The preferred situation would see:

The previous street clutter study has illustrated the

• The removal of bollards and bike stands.

excessive amount of bollards located along Claren-

• Bike stands re-sited along the pavements to

don Street and South William Street. It is assumed

maximise space for the pedestrian. In areas

that their dominance is to prevent illegal vehicu-

where protection of basements is necessary, a

lar parking on the pavement and/or protection of

reinforced bike stand could also function as a

basements. They are frequently located adjacent

bollard.

to bike stands which when coupled with outdoor

• Proper

enforcement

against

illegal

park-

café seating and other signage severely limits

ing and deterring it by narrowing carriage-

space on the footpath for the pedestrian shopper.

ways

and

widening

pavements

through-

out the area making it less likely to occur. Removal of Bollards

Bollards and Bike Stands Side-by-Side

Street Clutter at Junctions

The street clutter assessment of the South William Street Area has highlighted the fact that clutter is S

dominant in areas where there is a large amount of public space present. The case of Johnson Place (see right) illustrates this point clearly. Although

U

S

S

hn

L

so

unnecessary amount of bollards and signage. It

do

n

Ma

rke

t

Plac

nent inflexible tool in dealing with illegal park-

e

L

S L

previously a more effective tool in changing the long-term behaviour of the driver is to deter them

ren

n

can be seen that the bollard is used as a permaing on pavements by the City Council. As stated

Cla

S

WF

Jo

a key junction within the district, it contains an

S

L

from illegally parking by narrowing carriageways and widening pavements. Other areas where clutter is particularly concentrated are the junctions of Coppinger Row/ South William St., South William St./Castle Market and Castle Market/ Drury St. 49


South William Street Area Study

Pavement Quality Throughout the South William Street study area

destrians, particularly for the elderly or those with

there is a total lack of consistency when it comes

impaired mobility. The following selection of pave-

to pavement styles, quality and maintenance.

ment represents an example of the uncoordinated

Most worrying is the prevalence of extremely poor

styles and quality of pavement employed in the

pavement quality which can be dangerous for pe-

relatively confined space of the study area. Far Left: Basic Pavement composed of concrete slabs is used throughout the study area.

Left: Deplorable and dangerous quality of pavement south of Powerscourt House.

Far Left: Buckled and poorly maintained pavement on Wicklow St.

Left: The 1980’s pink paving on Castle Market needs upgrading but the warm colour creates a lively environment.

Far Left: Old granite kerbing on the southern end of Clarendon St. should be maintained in the area. Left: The successful use of new and old granite near Powerscourt House shows that it is the optimal material for the area.

Experimental Pavement on Fade Street

Similar to road surface at junctions

The surface pavement used on Fade St. is problematic. The surface is not durable, is easily soiled and is not in keeping with the historic fabric of the surrounding district. This ‘experimental’ surface should not be replicated anywhere else in the area.

50


South William Street Area Study

The Use of Indigenous Granite as a Durable & Attractive Material

There is a strong historical connection in the

Indigenous(left) & Imported Granite

use of granite as a material in Dublin’s public realm. Many of the footpaths that line our major thoroughfares are paved with granite that was laid in the late 19th Century. It is crucial this cultural and historic link be maintained and enhanced in our historic city centre, particularly in our primary public spaces. Also, traditional Leinster granite exudes warm tones that enliven the pavement especially when compared to the duller contemporary granite pavement that is imported (see top right).

Contemporary Granite, Drury St.

Therefore there is a strong case to promote the use of traditional Leinster granite within the study area. The benefits include: 1. Supporting the local economy and the creation and maintenance of jobs. 2. Using an indigenous material that respects the character of Dublin City and interacts well with the Georgian built form of the his-

Granite Pavement at Powerscourt House

toric core. 3. Using a durable and robust material that has been proven to last several decades. The use of granite has proved a successful, attractive and durable choice at the front of Powerscourt House on South William Street (see right). The use of Irish raw materials, where appropriate, should be encouraged.

Broken Pavement - Drury Street

In contrast, lower quality pavement used on Drury Street at the junction with Castle Market has collapsed due to the weight of traffic over time and needs replacing (see right). The use of granite here would be a more appropriate choice. This however also brings into question the appropriateness of allowing extra heavy goods vehicles deliver in the area.

51


South William Street Area Study

Bollards & the Case for Cast Iron The South William Street Area is part of Dublin

Grafton Street. This has the effect of exacerbat-

City’s premier retail district. Despite this, there is

ing the current disarray, as illustrated below. In

an apparent lack of a materials pallet used by the

fact, stainless steel bollards stand out much more

City Council when it comes to street furniture in

that the existing black, accentuating street clutter.

the area, particularly through the use of bollards.

Black street furniture is used in most historic city

It is argued that bollards should be removed in

centres, such as Edinburgh. That is not to say that

most cases throughout this part of the city cen-

stainless steel does not have its place, in certain

tre. Despite the current mish-mash of bollards cur-

circumstances, such as in Adamstown (see oppo-

rently on display throughout the area, they largely

site). Stainless steel as a material is out of place

have used cast iron, a material historically used

within this historic part of the city and as such

in railings and lampposts in this historic area. The

future works in the area should not be tempted

recent re-development of Fade Street has replaced

to replicate current ‘trends’ used in contempo-

existing black furniture with contemporary stain-

rary developments. Dublin needs to adapt an ap-

less steel, illustrating the current departure from

proach, currently seen in Edinburgh and London,

cast iron and signifying the possible path of ma-

where a consistent materials pallet - unique to

terials for other streets in the district, including

the respective cities, is used and strictly enforced.

Various Bollards throughout the study area illustrating lack of consistency

52


South William Street Area Study

Stainless Steel - A model for future works in the area?

Stainless steel bollards recently placed on Fade Street, represents another addition to the already collective array of bollards scattered throughout the area. Interestingly, the use of stainless steel signifies a departure from the past use of cast iron by the City Council. This new material fails to respect the historic nature of the street and illustrates the need for a coordinated materials pallet. It is essential that this materials pallet is compiled as a response to the character of the area in question and not as a response to what is considered to be in vogue. As a foil, the contemporary development of Adamstown (right) uses stainless steel successfully. Respecting our architectural heritage. Cast Iron Railings on South William St.

Edinburgh - Cast Iron used throughout World Heritage Site

53


South William Street Area Study

54


South William Street Area Study

Shop Front Façades

1. Good Use - Poor Standard

The ground floor façade is the most important link between the person in the street and the building. In an active area such as this, the ground floor façade is more than often a shop frontage. Therefore it is imperative that such frontages interact well with the pedestrian shopper and also respect the architecture of the building and its surrounding streetscape. An overview of shop frontages in the study area found a high variance of standards between streets.

2. Vacant Use - Lasting Damage

Good examples (see left) illustrate frontages that are engaging, inviting and in keeping with the district’s character. Most importantly their uses are easily identifiable. However, it can be seen that the majority of these samples are found along Wicklow St. / Exchequer St. - the primary retail streets in the study area. While this is to be expected, other streets such as South William St. which are also well patronised has some amazingly poor quality frontages. The images on the right depict three examples of premises on South William St. where ill-conceived modern interventions have led to the erosion of the street’s special character. The premise in example 1 may have a valued use but its poor quality frontage diminishes the natural harmony and rhythm that the building has with its neighbours. Example 2 shows that permanent structural damage has been inflicted on this building to cater for a use that is long gone. Lastly, example 3 shows what looks to be a temporary and very

3. Poor Treatment - No Intergration

tacky façade that has been incongruously mounted onto the original. It is not know whether this has caused lasting damage to the existing façade. The selected examples show that even in the present post-building boom environment the natural character of the South William St. Area continues to be threatened and eroded for the sake of shortterm gain. Therefore, it is recommended that in order to retain its remaining built heritage the current Area of Special Planning Control on Grafton Street be extended to include the district. 55


South William Street Area Study

The ‘Spill-out’ Effect in the South William St. Area The spill-out effect is the process whereby commercial uses such as cafés, bars and restaurants colonise or spill-out on to an area of public space in front of their premises. In general this process is to be welcomed, as such activities, once brought into the street, greatly enliven the atmosphere creating a distinctly cosmopolitan ambiance. The spill-out effect also enhances interaction with the passerby and greatly boosts the profile of such commercial uses. This process was spurred on by the adoption of the smoking ban in 2004 which resulted in many pubs and restaurants providing outdoor seating for customers who wanted to smoke. However, it soon became evident that such an amenity was popular with both smokers and non-smokers alike. The emergence of the spill-out effect has both improved the character of the study area and helps to engender the notion of the area being at the centre of the café culture in Dublin.

56

Some Problems with the Spill-Out Effect

There is however some problems associated with the spill-out effect that is evident in the South William St. Area. First, many uses spill-out onto narrow pavements, thus impeding the movement of the pedestrian (e.g. South William St.). However, this can be resolved with the redesign and redistribution of public space away from the car. The second and more pervading problem is the over-use of awnings/canopies and other projections that are designed to provide the user with a more comfortable experience, particularly in poorer weather. Whilst canopies help to make a more attractive and interesting façade, their use in combination with ever-higher balustrades is a growing problem of concern in the study area. Such moves only serve to close off uses to the street, reduce interaction and block important pedestrian routes (see below). There is some evidence to suggest the closing-in of the spill-out effect is designed to combat the activities of street beggers. Also to be noted is that not all façades are suitable for canopies.

The Spill-Out Effect (Closed in)

The Spill-Out Effect (Optimal Scenario)

Closed-In Spill-Out - Castle Market

Natural Spill-Out - Castle Market


South William Street Area Study

The Impact of Some Interventions in the Public Realm

Castle Market at 10am

Pedestrianisation of Castle Market

Although the pedestrianisation of Castle Market was completed some years ago its effect is still having repercussions for the area today. The turning over of space for pedestrian use only has resulted in giving the person on the street a greater awareness of the special townscape of the district. The car free views of both George’s Arcade and Powerscourt House have the effect of drawing shoppers towards these spaces. In essence the pedestranisation has improved the natural perme-

Castle Market at 4pm

ability of the link from South William St. through to George’s Arcade. The result of this is that footfall in the area increased dramatically, hence the spill-out effect in Castle Market, taking advantage of passing custom. Unfortunately, as has been previously noted, Castle Market is a case of the spill-out effect beginning to get out of control with incongruous shelters covering increasing amounts of the pavement. The difference can best be seen between the morning when the shelters are absent and evening time when they are in place.

Dublin Wayfinder Signage

The Wayfinder scheme which was designed to accompany the arrival of Dublin Bikes is intended to replace the uncoordinated and haphazard signage in the City by providing a robust and streamlined directional signage network for the main tourist and cultural highlights in Dublin. The design of the new signs has indeed fulfilled this intention. However, it is noted that the old and now defunct signage still remains in place, adding to the street clutter of City Centre. There are two wayfinder signs in the study area, one is located at the junction of Wicklow St. and South William St. and the other which includes a map is on Johnson Place. It is noted that a small number of extra signs could be put in place in selected areas of the study area, to help tackle the problem of orientation in the district. 57


South William Street Area Study

Overview of the Public Realm: The Potential for the Redistribution of Space It is clearly evident that the public realm is somewhat of an unloved and overlooked entity within the district. This is seen not only by a lack of attention to detail regarding the standard and coordination of street furniture and pavements but also by the poor distribution of space in the public realm in the area. However, although the amount of public space is somewhat limited there is huge potential for improvements to the area by redistributing the space towards the needs of the pedestrian shop9.

per, the dominant user of the space. A number of specific interventions that should be considered are outlined below: 1. De-clutter area in front of Powerscourt House, maintenance of existing granite pavement. 2. Pedestrian friendly scheme considered for Drury Street, South William Street, Clarendon Street, Exchequer Street and Wicklow Street. 3. Re-design of the public realm on Wicklow

8.

Street. 4. Re-distribution of public space on Chatham St. / Chatham Row. 5. Assessment and redistribution of bike stands throughout the area. 6. Traffic calming and public realm improvements at Johnson Place. 7. Removal of all on-street car parking throughout district. 8. Strongly oppose any realisation of this proposed aspirational street linking Drury Street to Clarendon Street. 9. Public seating provided in selected areas. An Unloved Public Realm!

58

7.


South William Street Area Study

1. 2.

3.

4.

6.

5.

59


-

Recommendations for the South William St. Area A Vision for the South William Street Area Management Design Solutions & Concepts Materials Pallet Design Concepts for Linear Spaces Design Concepts for Punctual Spaces The Potential for the Re-distribution of Public Space Design & Street Furniture Detail Activities Conclusions: Problems & Potential


South William Street Area Study

Recommendations for the South William St. Area

More Strategic

While this report has outlined the unique characteristics of the South William Street Area it has also highlighted many threats to the future integrity of

VISION

the district. Taking account of these, the recommendations for the future development of the area are divided into three key themes: 1. Vision 2. Management

MANAGEMENT

3. Design First, a broad vision for the long term sustainability of the district will be established. In order to realise this vision, recommendations as to how

DESIGN

the area should be managed will be proposed. This will include looking at international case studies, illustrating the management structures in place in these respective places. This will be followed with detailed design solutions for the area which will address the space at various scales. This will include proposing a street furniture and materials pallet and various public realm improvements in order to create an attractive environment, encourage the growth of pedestrian activity and foster a sense of civic pride which can more than better any of the out of town shopping centres. It is argued that if the desired three pillars structure for enhancing the area are put in place this will lead to effective and visible change within the district, ensuring it remains the centre of commercial activity within the Capital. The following chapter will outline Dublin Civic Trust’s recommendations for the future direction, development and consolidation of the South William Street area.

62

More Detail


A Vision for the South William Street Area By the end of the decade, the south retail area will be able to stand over its claim as the primary district in which to shop and socialise in the City. The area will be a pedestrian friendly space, where its unique streetscapes, architectural merits and fine grain can be appreciated by visitors and retailers alike. The public realm having been rejuvenated and de-cluttered by investment in quality indigenous materials, becomes a destination in itself, with once quiet streets now buzzing with spill-over activities, reinforcing a cafĂŠ culture ambience. Uses shall be diverse, assisting the development of indigenous retail uses and strengthening the local economy.


South William Street Area Study

Management

Recommended Architectural Conservation Area and Area of Special Planning Control

In order that the South William Street Area remains part of the premier retail destination within the City Centre, a dedicated management structure is required to; enforce policies; brand and promote the district; and educate the public about the special character of the area, to reinforce civic pride.

Amalgamation of ACAs & Extension of Area of Special Planning Control

There are currently two Architectural Conservation Areas (ACAs) within the district, the Grafton Street and Environs ACA and the South Retail Quarter ACA, both adopted during the lifetime of the Dub-

In order to protect the integrity and special char-

lin City Development Plan 2005-2011. The Grafton

acter of the South William Street Area, Dublin Civic

Street and Environs ACA was also designated an

Trust recommends that the two existing Architec-

Area of Special Planning Control in 2007 for a peri-

tural Conservation Areas be amalgamated into one

od of 6 years, in accordance with the Planning and

single ACA. This is in order to reinforce the collec-

Development Act, 2000 (as amended). This added

tive special character of the district as a whole.

layer of legislation provides greater powers to the

The Trust also recommends that the Area of Spe-

planning authority as to how the area is managed,

cial Planning Control (due to expire in 2013) be

removing some exempted development rights and

extended to include the entire combined ACA area,

dictating the future direction of the area.

as illustrated above. This will provided the necessary added protection to streets like South William

Existing Architectural Conservation Areas and Area of Special Planning Control

Street, which have witnessed unauthorised alterations to faรงades, which if were to continue would permanently destroy the special character of the street. The Area of Special Planning Control should set out specific measures dealing with land use, materials, faรงade treatments, colours, as specified in Section 84 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended). A desired land use zoning plan also needs to be implemented. This should include above ground floor and basement uses. Certain service-based uses are more suited to above or below ground floor

Legend

and vice versa. Setting out such clear and detailed

South Retail Quarter ACA

guidelines will ensure that the economic diversity

Grafton Street and Environs ACA

and special character of the area is strengthened.

Area of Special Planning Control Recommended amalgamated ACA

Land uses such as independent boutiques should

Grafton Quarter (as defined by DCC)

be encouraged. The small plots and fine grain can

South William St. Study Area

encourage such uses, which will not negatively impact the architectural heritage of the area.

64


South William Street Area Study

Planning Enforcement

Many works and alternations to buildings and ad-

Before installation of internal illuminated signage on South William Street

ditions to the public realm within the said Architectural Conservation Areas have taken place which are in direct conflict with the objectives and policies of the plans in question. For instance, it is specifically stated that, Sandwich boards will not be permitted under any circumstances anywhere within the South Retail Quarter Architectural Conservation Area. (p.29) Nevertheless these are prevalent throughout the

Google Maps, 2009

After installation of internal illuminated signage on South William Street

district, exacerbating street clutter in places. Sandwich Board on Castle Market, within ACA

Dublin Civic Trust recommends that planning enforcement be strengthened throughout the City’s historic core, within sensitive areas and in particular within Architectural Conservation Areas and Areas of Special Planning Control. A lack of enforcement renders potentially strong policy meaningless. Education is also required to ensure that Similarly it is stated that planning permission is

tenants and owners of buildings, as well as the

required (non-protected Structures) for,

general public understand what an Architectural

Illuminated advertisements exhibited as part of

Conservation Area and Area of Special Planning

any shop or other window display in a business

Control is. Such legislation should not be buried

premises and other advertisements affixed to

within plans but brought into the open.

the inside of the glass surface of a window of a business or premises or otherwise exhibited

Endangered Buildings/ Undesirable Uses

through a window of such premises. (South Re-

In accordance with the Dereliction Act 1990, Dub-

tail Quarter ACA, Policy 2.1, (m))

lin City Council have at their disposal the power to protect buildings in danger. As stated by section

Despite this, such illuminated advertisements can

10 of the Act,

be seen within the area, clearly indicating that

It shall be the duty of a local authority to take

there is a problem with enforcing the aforemen-

all reasonable steps to ensure that any land sit-

tioned policies. The example right illustrates a be-

uated in their functional area does not become

fore and after of a premises that has installed il-

or continue to be a derelict site.

luminated advertisements inside the glass, to the

This useful legislative tool should be utilised to

detriment of the overall character of the street.

its full potential in the South William Street Area. 65


South William Street Area Study

Establishment of Management Team

trict remains the prime retail core of the City. The

It is argued that a special multidisciplinary team is

rationale for this special group is based on an as-

required specifically to manage the Grafton Quar-

sessment of the performance of the current Ar-

ter, to ensure that the long term vision, policies

chitectural Conservation Areas and Area of Special

and proposals are enforced and implemented on a

Planning Control in actively dealing with unauthor-

daily basis. It is suggested that this team be com-

ised works to structures and public realm decay,

prised of key personnel from Dublin City Council,

as highlighted throughout this report. Planning en-

headed by the Planning and Economic Develop-

forcement within the district needs to take a more

ment Department and contain other key officials

active stance, otherwise the policies already in

and officers. This team would regularly meet with

place become redundant. Establishing a dedicated

a selection of elected representatives, members

management team for the City’s primary retail dis-

of the business community and other key bodies

trict will ensure that policies are successfully im-

operating within the City to ensure that this dis-

plemented.

Structure of Recommended Multidisciplinary Team to Manage the Grafton Quarter

• Senior Management • City Councillors • Strategic Policy Committees

Re

po

Educating

Landlords & Tenants

rti

ng

th

e Manag ment a e T m • Team Leader • Planners • Enforcement Officers • Conservation Officer • Urban Designers

Li

ais

Enforcing

• Public Realm Officer • Public Domain Officer for South City • Roads & Traffic Dept. • City Architects • Parks Staff

wi ing

to

• Planning Decisions • Architectural Conservation Area • Area of Special Planning Control

66

g gin

th

wi

ga

En

De

ve

Key Stakeholders Eg. Local Businesses, Dublin Civic Trust, Dublin City Business Association & other interested parties

lop

ing

Management Strategy for the Grafton Quarter


South William Street Area Study

Precedents in Area Management Copenhagen, Denmark

attention to detail that the studies contain

The Danish Capital is an interesting case

i.e. there is even guidance on the design of

study for city centre management in both

outdoor seating for cafés and bars.

implementing a long term vision and dealing with short term challenges. There has

Kompagnistræde, Copenhagen - Shared Space

been a clear long term goal to make the centre of Copenhagen a pedestrian centred space. To achieve this, the Danes adopted a twin track approach. Firstly, they began reducing the amount of on-street parking within the city centre by 2-3% per annum over a 30 year period. Simultaneously they invested in both public transit and in upgrading the public realm. This gradual but constant process has resulted in a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists. By 2008 more than 40% of journeys to work were made either on foot or by bicy-

Google Maps, 2009

Pedestrian Dominated Space, Covent Garden

cle. Management in response to short term challenges can be best seen by the example of pizza boxes over-flowing out of the bins near a popular restaurant along the rejuvenated Søndre Boulevard. Rather than erecting ‘do not litter’ signs, the City Council specifically designed bins with an extralarge pizza sized slot to accommodate them (gehlarchitects.com, 2012). Covent Garden, London, England

Founded in 1988 the Covent Garden Trust comprises representatives of community groups, local authorities and designated

Outdoor Café Furniture Guidance

bodies. Since then, a series of studies and guidance have been drawn up by the Trust in conjunction with the City of Westminister Council. Crucially, these documents have not been left to wither on the vine, they have been actively implemented. For example, the 2004 Environment Study, which details proposals to maintain and enhance the public realm have been reviewed in 2008. This review critically assessed what had been achieved and detailed new issues to be dealt with. Also of note, is the level of 67


South William Street Area Study

Design Solutions & Concepts While it is acknowledged that traffic ac-

Exch eque r St.

Wi

cess and egress is essential to the area,

ck

low

future design works should prioritise the

St.

pedestrian. Indeed, many routes are alrke

t

Co

In the longer term it can be seen that the space to

St do en

Wi

ar nM ark

fe et

Bal

Ro

w

w

do

Chat

rry

St.

ham

St.

don

ren

am

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ath

n

St.

Cl

So Ch

C la

Ha

ren

recommend further pedestrianisation of streets.

so

ce

the wider south city area, it was decided not to

hn

Pla

ative repercussions for traffic congestion in

Jo

nC our t

Cla

car parks and the potential of neg-

uth

pedestrianisation, however due

nso

n

llia

amined the possibility of further

Joh

r R ow

m

nated environment. This study ex-

to presence of existing multistory

nge

et

e S t.

ppi

re

Fa d

St.

need reinforcing if the area is to sustained itself as a pedestrian domi-

Ma

Cha tha mL ane

improvements

Str

incremental

stle

ry

These

Ca

Dru

ly.

eet

ready pedestrianised or pedestrian friend-

benefit most, even from partial pedestrianisation, is South William St.

Legend Proposed Street Improvement Works

Suggested Punctual Areas

It is currently recognised that the area in its entirety needs its street surfaces and pavements upgrading. The two types of spaces dealt with in the

Linear Routes

proposals are linear and punctual. Linear spaces

South William Street

are spaces which we for the main part, journey

This street is considered to be the civic spine of the

through i.e. streets and lanes. Such spaces dom-

study area and as such it is recommended that one

inate the study area and indeed they contribute

material be used to pave the street, reflecting its

most to the character of the district. Punctual

importance in the district.

spaces are destinations within the public realm and

• Entire street to be paved in Leinster Granite,

generally occur at the junction of several routes

to include pavements and carriageway. The

(e.g. College Green). Whilst there are no major

carriageway will be grade-separated and nar-

punctual spaces within the South William Street

rowed to 3 metres in width.

area, there are opportunities for creating punctual

• All on-street car parking to be removed.

spaces in a number of locations (see map, upper

• Loading bays to be rationalised with two being

right). The following section summarises the main

provided - one at the northern end and the one

recommended schedule of works to streets in the

serving businesses in the south

area. Greater details as to the redesign of the

• The existing feature pavement in front of Pow-

study area’s public realm will be provided later in

erscourt House to be cleaned, repaired and in-

this chapter. South William Street will be used as

corporated into the new design scheme.

an example of how a linear space can be rejuve-

• Wider pavements will allow removal of most

nated, while Johnson Place and Chatham Row will

bollards. To protect Powerscourt House granite

be used to illustrate how punctual spaces could be

bollards will be used.

68 enhanced within the area.


South William Street Area Study

Wicklow Street/ Exchequer Street

Punctual Areas

• The existing pedestrian section of Wicklow

Johnson Place

Street should be re-paved in Leinster Granite. • The remaining section of the respective streets

• Area to be de-cluttered and re-paved in Leinster granite and contemporary granite setts.

should have widened pavements of Leinster

• The carriageway of the pavement at the junc-

Granite and contemporary granite sets along

tion should be raised to calm traffic (similar to

the carriageway, with grade separation (see

in front of Powerscourt House.)

materials pallet). • The width of the carriage-way should be reduced to 3 metres. • The Dublin Bikes station on Exchequer Street should be incorporated into the design of the street. Pedestrian Streets (Johnson Court, Coppinger Row, Castle Market, Harry St., Clarendon Market, Chatham Lane) • Pedestrian routes should be re-paved in Leinster Granite. • Harry St. should be fully pedestrianised with access for deliveries and taxis to the Westbury maintained. • Chatham Lane should be pedestrianised.

• Trees should be planted to define the punctual nature of the space. • A piece of public art to be erected in the centre of the space. Area in front of DIT Conservatory of Music on Chatham Row • Street should be upgraded taking cognisance of the fact that the Conservatory of Music will be relocating to Grangegorman. • Pedestrian routes should be widened and repaved in Leinster Granite. • The width of the carriage-way should be reduced to 3 metres. Area in front of Powerscourt House

Clarendon St. / Clarendon Row/ Chatham Row / Chatham St. / Drury St. / Fade St./ Balfe St.

• Existing Traffic calming measures at Power-

• The respective streets should have widened

• A general de-cluttering of signage in the area

pavements of Leinster Granite and contempo-

should be undertaken and the iron bollards re-

rary granite sets along the carriageway, with

placed with granite ones.

grade separation (see materials pallet p. 72). • Limited set-down areas should be provided and all on-street parking on Drury St. should be removed. • A carriage width of 3 metres should be imple-

scourt House be maintained. • Granite Setts should be repaired and cleaned

Junction of Castle Market & Drury St. opposite George’s Arcade Entrance • Layout should be similarly treated to that in front of Powerscourt House.

mented on these streets. Grafton St. - Leinster Granite Although not subject to the current report, it is recommended that Grafton Street, like South William Street, be re-paved using Leinster Granite, due to the street’s historic significance and importance as the core of the south retail quarter. Leinster Granite is a material indigenous to Dublin and its use along a street such as Grafton Street can be fully justified. Such a material would showcase both the street and show visitors that Dublin has a high regard for its build heritage. 69


South William Street Area Study

Design Solution: Inspired By Shared Space

The concept of shared space aims to remove tra-

as railings and bollards encourage speeding by

ditional boundaries which have segregated vari-

providing a false sense of security for drivers and

ous road users, through the use of kerbs, railings,

indeed for pedestrians alike. Shared space works

bollards, road markings and signs. The removal

well only in cases where traffic is essential for lo-

of such infrastructure along appropriate streets,

cal access rather than as a through route. For a

particularly where traffic is already slowly moving,

shared space scheme to be viable there must be a

can improve the visual appearance and perception

slow movement environment with light traffic lev-

of the space. It is also proven to slow traffic down,

els and a high pedestrian footfall.

A Typical Street Setting in Central Dublin

P

The Same Street Redesigned Using the Pure Shared Space Model

No barriers used to segregate outdoor seating from the pavement creates a truly shared space environment.

Removing signage & bollards results in an uncluttered environment.

Road space shared with cyclists and pedestrians

Trees can be planted to subtly delineate uses & improving visual amenity.

From a Contested Space to a Shared Space! 70

Raising the road to the level of the footpath gives more space for pedestrian

Elimination of on-street car parking provides extra space to cope with high footfall.


South William Street Area Study

Shared Space for Ireland: A Case for Legislative Change

Currently there is no legal basis for shared

England. Until recently this street was

space in Irish Law. Understandably this

congested with traffic, blighted by on-

makes Local Authorities wary of imple-

street parking and cluttered with signage.

menting such schemes in our towns and

In devising an regeneration scheme for the

cities due to the legal risks involved. We

area, Brighton Council was persuaded by

would strongly urge that the Department

the design consultants (chiefly the Dan-

of Transport, Tourism & Sport amend the

ish Architecture Firm, Gehl Architects) to

relevant legislation governing roads to

keep the street open to traffic but one that

take account of the change in policy dis-

is dominated by the pedestrian. The re-

course that is occurring in European Cities.

sultant scheme has seen the street trans-

A good example of the purist form of

form from being a busy route to a space

shared-space is New Road in Brighton,

for recreation and amenity.

New Road Before

Statistics of its Success To-Date

62% increase in pedestrian footfall

600% increase in staying activities

22%

www.civictrust.co.uk

increase in cycling activities

New Road is now the 4th most popular destination in Brighton!

Shared Space in Action: New Road Brighton

Gehl Architects et al. Source: gehlarchitects.com

71


South William Street Area Study

Recommended Materials Pallet for the South William Street Area The recommended materials pallet for the area

Materials

(see below) has been devised to select materials

1. Contemporary Granite setts - As used on

on the basis that they are attractive, natural, du-

O’Connell St.

rable and most importantly, that they will integrate

2. Traditional Leinster Granite

well into the existing historic environment in the

3. Wood as a material for seating (as per Dock-

area. Details regarding their exact application in

lands)

each respective street is outlined in the following

4. Granite bollards (where necessary)

pages.

5. Cast iron litter bins 6. Cast iron street lights

2.

3. 1.

4.

5.

6.

72


South William Street Area Study

Design Concepts for Linear Space: South William Street

O’Connell Plaza, O’Connell St.

The recommended design scheme for South William St. reflects its position as the civic spine of the study area. The street at present is a oneway street where the majority of journeys into the area are in the form of delivery vehicles and traffic accessing car parks. The pedestrian-dominated design is inspired by shared space. Hence the pavements and carriageway have the same material (Leinster Granite) but are separated by a conventional kerb similar to O’Connell Plaza. Narrowing the carriageway to 3 metres and removing all on-street parking will provide additional space

Low Kerb - Same Material!

to the pedestrian, improving the visual amenity of the street, reflecting its historic status, whilst

delivery bays will be provided at two specific

still allowing vehicles to access the space. The

points to the north and south ends of the street.

narrow carriageway will discourage illegal park-

Please see following plans and cross sections to

ing, due to a lack of space. As previously noted,

detail proposed changes.

Existing Street Layout

Recommended Layout

22

22

51 27-

27-

51

28

28

48

48

10m

73


South William Street Area Study

Cross Sections of Mid-South William Street

Location Map

Along with the upgrade in pavement there should be a comprehensive de-cluttering and rationalisation of street furniture in the area. The use of bollard as a standard feature will be strongly discouraged. Below and right are cross sections of the

B

middle portion of South William Street, illustrating

A

the present layout and proposed layout.

Existing Cross Section

Segregated environment encourages speeding along the street.

Unattractive environment for cyclists due to onstreet parking. Illegal parking and delivery vehicles. Narrow pavement.

Signage along existing narrow pavements exacerbates lack of space for pedestrian.

P

A 74

B


South William Street Area Study

Shadow Analysis

South William Street, 12 noon, 21 September

The results of a shadow analysis shows that the western side of the street receives a greatest amount of direct sunlight. Therefore the western side of the street should have a wider footpath than the east to encourage spill-over activities on the sunnier side of the street.

Cross Section of Proposed Pedestrian-Friendly Space Scheme

Potential for outdoor seating due to additional space.

Narrowed 3 metre carriageway with low kerbs restricts the speed of vehicles in the area Removing on-street parking provides more space for pedestrians

Grade separation delineates road space. Leinster granite used on pavement & road space

A

B 75


South William Street Area Study

Design Concepts for Punctual Spaces

Present Public Realm Layout at Johnson Place

Johnson Place Presently Johnson Place is a traffic-dominated junction with a confused and cluttered layout. However it can be seen the space has real potential. The space forms the southern link between many of the key streets in the area and it also is the largest punctual space, although some of this is in private ownership. The central idea to the redesign of the this space is the idea to reinforce the natural rectangular shape of its open space, this can be best achieved by delineating and defining the space with trees.

from the immediate Johnson Place area. The pave-

Pleached trees such as those at the G.P.O. on

ments should be composed of Leinster Granite

O’Connell Street create a structured but soft en-

and the carriageway be of contemporary gran-

vironment and give the person in the street the

ite setts. A general de-cluttering of signage and

impression that they are entering a room.

bollards should occur and the renewed space be focused on a work of public art. This would

This room should be focused on the pedestrian.

be best sited at the junction of the two traffic

While traffic access would remain, the width of the

routes (Johnson Place and South William St.).

carriageway would be reduced to 3 metres and

The provision of seating in the space is also desira-

raised to the height of the pavement at the traf-

ble as the wider and uncluttered pavements would

fic junction. Loading bays should be eliminated

be easily able to accommodate such furniture.

Visualisation of Improvements to Johnson Place

76


South William Street Area Study

Existing Street Layout Johnson Place

31-

32 38

39 Cla

ren

1

don

Ma

r ke

t

NO

EN TR Y

NO EN TRY

Mercer

Mercer Hospital Hospital

Proposed Street Layout Johnson Place

31-

32 38

39 Cla 1

ren

don

Ma

r ke

t

Mercer Hospital

10 m

77


South William Street Area Study

Shadow Analysis

Johnson Place, 12 noon, 21 September

The results of a shadow analysis shows that the northern side of the place receives a greatest amount of direct sunlight. Therefore the northern side of the space should have a wider footpath than the southern and eastern sides to encourage vibrancy on the sunnier side of the street.

Chatham Row

the northern side of the street and a general de-

Chatham Row is a small street dominated on the

cluttering of the space is recommended, with bike

south by the DIT Conservatory of Music and the

stands re-located to the adjacent Clarendon Row.

north by bars and restaurants.

Footpaths will be re-paved in Leinster Granite and the carriageway in a contemporary granite sett.

The spill-out effect is currently very evident on

pavement.

However,

there

DIT will be moving to their new campus in Grange-

‘close-in’

pavement

seat-

gorman in the foreseeable future and as such, the

ing areas through the use of high barriers. The

current Conservatory of Music building will become

Metro CafĂŠ currently does not use any pave-

vacant. It is essential to maintain this building as

ment divides and this works very successfully.

a cultural use, with active ground floor uses. This

The design for this street will encourage such

will ensure that the character currently displayed

pavement seating. Tree planting will take place on

along this street is maintained and enhanced.

is

the a

northern

tendency

to

Visualisation of Improvements on Chatham Row

78


South William Street Area Study

Shadow Analysis

The

analysis

northern

side

Chatham Row, 12 noon, 21 September

shows of

that

Chatham

Row receives the most sunshine. Our design is responsive

to

this

environment,

thus maximising the potential for ‘spill-out’ activities in the street.

2

Pu

nc

ac

3 ati

tua

ve

l

e

Cla

ren

Sp

dic

nR ow

So

In

do

uth

Wi

llia

NO E NTR Y

m

St.

Existing Street Layout Chatham Row

Co Cla

ren

don

Ma

r ke

nse

r va

Mu t

tor

sic

y o f

Existing Street Layout Chatham Row

2 3 ath

am

Ro

w

don

Ma

r ke

t

w

w C ult u

ra l

Ve n u

nR o

ren

e

do

Ne

ren

Cla

Cla

So

uth

Wi

llia

m

St.

Ch

10 m

79


South William Street Area Study

Design & Street Furniture Detail

Street Signage, Exchequer St.

In an area of historical architectural character

Street Signage

such as the South William Street district, atten-

As has been previously mentioned,

tion to detail is vital to maintaining and enhancing

street signage in the district is nota-

the fabric of the townscape. Such attention to de-

bly cluttered and haphazard. The ex-

tail should not only cover shop faรงades and pave-

ample right is quite common within

ment quality but also extent to traffic signage and

the area. It is recognised that some of

street furniture. While these utilities are a neces-

these signs are mandatory by law but

sary part of the urban environment, careful con-

this should not stop them from being

sideration of their location and distribution should

rationalised in a meaningful way so as

be a central component of any public realm im-

to respect the character of the area in

provement works in the area. Thoughtful design

which they are placed.

and the use of high quality durable materials are essential if such fixtures are to be integrated in a

The

Dublin

Wayfinder

Scheme

manner as not to detract from the environment.

which has accomplished the rationalisation of cultural and tourist signage within the City provides a

Suggested Traffic Signage Scheme

useful precedent in this respect. Therefore, a system that integrates different traffic

Such a signage scheme where there is multiple pieces of information on the sign is appropriate for the area as it is a slow movement environment.

directions onto the one sign should be considered for the district. This would not only protect the visual amenity of the area but also be cost effective by reducing long term

Signage will be as small as traffic regulations allow

P Brown Thomas Car Park

expenditure on the erection and maintenance of various signs and poles. It is noted that stop signs cannot be integrated with other signage. Not withstanding this issue, the proposed signage scheme would result in a dras-

The example here combines a one-way direction, a no-left turn and car parking information on to one sign. There should be no more than three instructions on any one sign

tic reduction on individual signs. It is also recommended that the signage system for the car parks serving the larger Grafton Quarter be incorporated into any new system. This would streamline the varied car park-

Signage should be mounted onto a cast iron black pole throughout the area

80

ing signage currently in place while at the same time making the area more legible for visitors and shoppers alike.


South William Street Area Study

Signage to alert traffic on Drury St.

Optimal Situation - If Signage is Necessary

Such signage as above is unfortunately all too

character. The example above shows that if such

prevalent in the study area and illustrates the

signs are required, it is clever design that is cru-

fact that the area is still engineered towards the

cial in subtly integrating it with its environment.

needs of the car to the detriment of its historic

Street Bollards Bollards in front of St. Teresa’s Church

Another issue of clutter that needs to be resolved is bollards. Clarendon St. (see above) is a veritable avenue of bollards such is the intensity of their

Discreet Stone Bollards, Edinburgh

Eliminates bikes being locked to bollards

distribution. Bollards are put in place for the most part to stop vehicles parking on the pavement. However, this should be the last option for consideration. Where there is a need for their placement, such as to protect a historic building like St. Teresa’s Church, it is recommended that granite bollards should be employed. These bollards should be high enough so as to prevent pedestrians tripping over but too low for them to be used as bike stands as is often the case (see right). 81


South William Street Area Study

Street Lighting

Good Quality Lighting Fixture, Coppinger Row

Street lights mounted on to faรงade walls is very much a part of the character of the South William Street Area. While this helps the street become a more uncluttered environment there is some concern over the quality of some of the bracket fixtures and the way the necessary wiring is dealt with, particularly on the faรงades of historic structures (see below). The new free standing lighting recently erected on Fade St. is at odds with the character of the area and not desirable. The lighting fixture on Coppinger Row (see upper right) provides a good example of

Contemporary Street Light, Fade Street

how the design and materials used in the street light integrates seamlessly with the streetscape. Lighting Bracket on Chatham Row

Litter Bins

The placing of litter bins at set intervals along a street should be discouraged, they should be placed in areas according to the level of footfall and the amount of space available. The design of the bins themselves, while user-friendly are not in keeping with the historic environment in which they are placed. See next page for recommendations on bin design.

82

Litter Bin, South William St.


South William Street Area Study

Street Light on Dawson Street

Branding

Street furniture such as litter bins represent a unique opportunity to employ the use of branding to heighten the legibility of an area1. Indeed it can be seen that Dublin has used this to good effect in the past (see image right). With the current plans to redesign the public realm on Grafton Street there now is an opening to employ a system of subtle branding for the whole of what is now being termed by the City Council as the Grafton Quarter Other contemporary public realm interventions in a historic area, such as the Quartermile development in Edinburgh has proven that this can be successfully undertake. Branded Bin, Quartermile Edinburgh

A modern design, subtly branded but in keeping with the historic architectural townscape in the area.

Road Markings

Subtle Road Markers, O’Connell Plaza

It is recommended that the majority of road markings such as double yellow lines are removed as they detract from the intimate ‘5 kph environment’ sense of scale in the area. Unsightly Road Markings, Clarendon Row

1

See Defining Dublin’s Historic Core (Dublin Civic Trust, 2010)

83


South William Street Area Study

Cycling Provision

Bicycle Bay, St. Stephen’s Green West

With an increasing demand for bike parking spaces and capacity of bike parking limited in the area, a district-wide solution is needed. It is proposed that the following steps should be taken in order to accommodate this growing trend. • A network of Bicycle Parks or Bays should be introduced in the area (see below). • The location of such bays should be decided on the basis that they are proximate to but not in areas of high pedestrian footfall and where

• The existing multi-storey car parks in the area

there is an adequate amount of space available

particularly the City Council Car Park in Drury

in the area to cater for them.

St., should be made available as overnight and

• With the new bicycle bays in place, bike stands should be removed from some of the most congested parts of the area. • The recent addition of supplementary bike stands on poles should also be removed.

all-weather parking areas for cyclists. • To raise awareness of this facility it should be the subject of a promotional campaign in the area. For instance, it should be added to the Wayfinder signage.

3 Suggested Areas for Bicycle Bays 1. Corner of South Great George’s St. & Dame Lane - This currently unused space is an optimal area for a bicycle bay. 2. Clarendon Row - This street could accommodate up to 50 spaces. If interspersed with the planting of trees, this under-used space would become a legible and attractive part of the district. 3. Middle Drury St. - Proximate to the main eastwest (Castle Market - George’s Arcade) route. 2.

3.

Legend

Grafton Quarter (as defined by DCC) South William St. Study Area Multi-storey Carpark

84


South William Street Area Study

Delivery Vehicle Access

5 Ton Vehicle Restriction in Area

As previously noted much of the congestion in the study area is caused by delivery vans entering the district throughout the day. Therefore the times of such deliveries should be restricted to make it more consistent with delivery times restrictions on

5t

nearby Grafton Street. Also the weight of these vehicles are also physically damaging the public realm (see right) this requires expensive repairs to be made. To combat this problem a general weight

Damaged Granite Setts - S. William St.

restriction of 5 tons should be enforced in the area. Recommended delivery times for vehicles using designated loading bay areas: 1. Area open to delivery vehicles before 10am (similar to Grafton St.) 2. Delivery to specific uses (i.e. Fresh produce for restaurants) also allowed between 2-3pm) 3. Outside of these times the Cargo Bikes system as discussed in Chapter 4 should be utilised. Seating Provision

Outdoor seating is an important amenity for the

positioning of desirable seating areas. The two

public in any district and its presence can help

types of seating suggested are benches and circu-

strengthen the idea of a punctual space by cre-

lar seating surrounding a planter and benches. The

ating a destination for the public. It is therefore

circular seating would create an attractive public

recommended that the provision of outdoor seat-

scene and soften the environment in certain ap-

ing be concentrated in the 4 punctual spaces that

propriate locations. The material used for the seat-

have been identified as for the most part linear

ing should be wood, it is perhaps the warmest and

routes in the area are too restricted to afford the

best suited for the Irish climate.

Visualisation of Seating Planters at Drury St.

85


South William Street Area Study

Activities The fine grain and small plots of the South Wil-

The following uses should be actively promoted in

liam Street area support the growth of indigenous

the area:

and independent retail uses. However, a level of policy direction is required, in order to achieve

• Independent Boutique Shops

this. Boutique and specialist retail uses should be

• High End Retail / Specialist Retailers

encourages and supported. Extending the Area of

• Specialised Food Shops & Delis

Special Planning Control will enable measures to

• Cafés and Restaurants

be introduced preventing the spread of unsuitable

• Galleries / Art dealers

land uses.

• Antique Shops • Specialised Services / Creative

The following uses should not be allowed in the

Businesses

area: Adult Shops

• Adult shops

Adult shops are an undesirable use in such a high

• Fast food restaurants / Take-aways

end retail area. A new policy should be introduced

• Convenience stores

by Dublin City Council and applied to the entire

• Discount shops / Pound Shops

City Centre precluding adult shops opening in any

• Tattoo Parlours

area within a 500m radius of any educational insti-

• Tanning Salons

tution or place of worship. This measure is based

• Casinos

on one introduced in New York City by Mayor Rudi

• Lap-Dancing Clubs

Giuliani and successfully dealt with this particular

• Phone Shops

land use issue.

• Bookmakers Indicative Vertical Land Use Mix

Vertical land use must be given special consideration in this area, as to how this can increase the vitality of the district. The majority of the built form is particularly robust, that is

Residential

to say that its use can be easily changed. For example much of the

Architect’s Practice

build in the area was one residential on the storeys,

these

Photographer’s Studio

could easily be reconverted to that use or alternatively become a

Independent Boutique

home for a new architects practice or dental surgery. 86

Wine Bar

Vertical Land Use

upper


South William Street Area Study

George’s Arcade (Former South City Markets)

It has been highlighted throughout this report that internal legibility within the study area is a problem. With the highly legible form of the former South City Markets building there is the potential to resolve this issue. As a purpose built Victorian Market building, it has the potential to become one of Dublin’s most visited attractions, emulating the success of the English Market in Cork. If this were achieved the Markets would be like the Guinness Storehouse,

Capitalising on our unique Architectural & Cultural Heritage

a must-see fixture on the itinerary of every tourist. This would in turn make the district more legible and rejuvenate the entire western part of the area. Additionally, restoring its use as a market would support and enhance

English Market, Cork

start-up and indigenous businesses. The building itself takes up a considerable amount of space, as illustrated above and is extremely permeable, with entrances on to each of the surrounding streets. South City Market Façade Detail, Dublin

Tony O’Connell (www.englishmarket.ie)

Brick Work in Need of Restoration

Recommendations

It is recommended that a Conservation Management Plan be devised for the Markets which should consider the following: • George’s Street Arcade to be returned to its former glory as the South City Markets, creating a key attraction to rejuvenating of the area between South William Street and George’s Street. • Removal of paint from the brick façade. • Improved permeability onto Fade Street. 87


South William Street Area Study

Conclusion: Problems & Potential To summarise, the study has highlighted the key

recommendations to be undertaken:

problems currently evident in the area, set out a

• Amalgamate the Grafton Street and Environs

vision for how the district can fulfil its true poten-

and South Retail Quarter Architectural Con-

tial and made recommendations as to how this re-

servation Areas (ACA) and extend the current

juvenation can be achieved.

Grafton Street and Environs Area of Special Planning Control to include the amalgamated

This report has identified many problems which threaten and prevent the long term success of the

ACA, covering the wider district. • The Local Authority should readily invoke the

district. Such problems include:

powers of the Dereliction Act 1990 when nec-

• A lack and in some cases, a total absence of

essary.

planning enforcement, particularly unauthor-

• The establishment of a special management

ised works to ground floor façades and to pro-

team within the Local Authority to implement,

tected structures.

review and manage the ACA and Area of Spe-

• A lack in implementation of the stated objec-

cial Planning Control Policies and also draw up

tives of the current ACA written statement for

a management and maintenance strategy for

the South Retail Quarter Architectural Conser-

the area.

vation Area. • Poor quality public realm along well-patronised

• Rejuvenate the public realm, using indigenous materials such as Leinster Granite accompa-

routes, illustrating the general lack of atten-

nied with the removal of on-street parking.

tion to detail, a problem which is prevalent

• Provide quality and durable seating at suitable

throughout the area.

locations.

• Townscape negatively effected by uncoordi-

• De-clutter streets of excess and unnecessary

nated and in many cases unnecessary street

signage and establish a coordinated and inte-

signage clutter.

grated traffic management signage scheme.

• Continuing presence of on-street car parking. • Delivery vehicles causing congestion throughout the week days. • Spill-out effect getting out of control at some premises. • Threat that the area may become dominated by public houses. • Maintenance of building stock owned by NAMA.

• Enforce delivery time and weight restrictions on delivery vehicles entering the area. • The various stakeholders in the area should lobby the Department of Transport, Sport and Tourism to legalise the use of shared space using best practice European examples. • Devise a bicycle parking strategy based on the creation of designated parking bays as part of management strategy for the area.

It has also been noted that much of the vital urban

• As part of the expanded Area of Special Plan-

design ingredients necessary for successful place-

ning Control scheme, specific land uses should

making are presently in place and have been for

be itemised that will be either be prohibited or

generations. These include the rich architectural

encouraged, to promote the long term sustain-

detail, fine grain, small plot sizes and diversity in

ability of the district.

activities, all of which are an inherent part of the character of the South William Street Area.

• Encourage the re-establishment of George’s Arcade as a key attraction and destination in the area between South William Street and

88

In order to achieve the vision set out for the dis-

George’s Street. The first step in achieving

trict, the following points outline the principle

this goal would be to devised a Conservation


South William Street Area Study

Management Plan for the former markets

The Trust are conscious of the financial constraints

building.

in which the local authority operates and does not

• Dublin City Council should vary the Develop-

recommend the establishment of any new team

ment Plan to include specific guidelines deal-

lightly. However, this team should be drawn from

ing with licensed premises, particularly dealing

existing resources within the Council and the City,

with city centre locations, such as South Wil-

with the sole purpose to manage the said study

liam Street, which have an inherent character.

area. The establishment of this team can be justi-

• Dublin City Council need to provided guide-

fied by looking at the potential of the district and

lines dealing with ‘pop-up shops’ or temporary

its special and unique character. In short the area:

shops.

• Abuts one of only two Area of Special Planning

• Encourage NAMA to engage with the key stake-

Control Schemes in the City.

holders in the area so that their property port-

• Is part of an Architectural Conservation Area.

folio can be managed to optimise the sustain-

• Contains some of the finest buildings within the

ability of the district. • A new policy should be introduced across the entire City Centre precluding adult shops open-

City. • Boasts a delicate fine network of streets and lanes.

ing in any area within a 500m radius of any

• Is part of the South Retail Core of the City.

educational institution or place of worship.

• Hosts a large number of tourists and shoppers.

Whilst the stated recommendations are indeed

The lack of implementation of existing policies de-

comprehensive, it is felt there must be a holistic

signed to protect and enhance the area threatens

solution to the many challenges the study area

the integrity of its unique character and identity.

presently faces. It is seen that good management

The key to the future of the district is to promote

is key to achieving a sustainable vision for the

this unique character, one which is inherent to

area, such as the one outlined. Therefore a large

Dublin and not to promote a copy-cat ‘catalogue’

degree of ‘hands-on’ management is crucial in ad-

style approach to urban design and placemaking.

dressing the area’s short term problems and long

This is vital when choosing pavement materials

term challenges. It is felt that while there is cer-

and street furniture but equally as important when

tainly not a shortage of policy or plans, these poli-

assessing appropriate land uses and activities for

cies need to be implemented in a comprehensive

particular buildings. Sameness does not make a

and sustained manner over the long term in order

‘quarter’, rather uniqueness does.

to see a positive impact. To conclude, with the proper management strucAs such, the key recommendation of Dublin Civic

ture and attention to detail deemed suitable for

Trust is the establishment of a dedicated team to

one of the most historic, economically important

implement both existing and new policy governing

and dynamic parts of Dublin City, the South Wil-

the South William Street Area. Such a team needs

liam Street Area has the potential to thrive as one

to be multi-disciplinary in nature, where manage-

of Europe’s most successful historic commercial

ment, planning, enforcement and roads mainte-

cores, whilst also promoting the local economy

nance are all co-ordinated in order to solve the

and selling a unique image of Dublin to the world.

current problems, eradicate the identified threats and implement the future vision of the City’s premier retail district.

Sameness does not make a ‘quarter’, rather uniqueness does! 89


South William Street Area Study

References & Further Reading Bentley, I. et al (1985) Responsive Environments, A Manual for Designers, London, The Architectural Press. Bosselmann, P. (1998) Representation of Places: Reality and Realism in City Design, Berkeley & Los Angeles, California, University of California Press Ltd. Carmona M. et al (2003) Public Places – Urban Spaces: The Dimensions of Urban Design, London, The Architectural Press. City of Copenhagen (2009) Impact of Copenhagen’s Parking Strategy, Copenhagen, City of Copenhagen.

Gehl, J. et al (2010) Cities for People, Washington D.C., Island Press. Gehl, J. et al (2006) Close Encounters with Buildings, Urban Design International, 11(1), pp. 29-47). Kodransky, M. & Hermann, G. (2011) Europe’s Parking UTurn: From Accommodation to Regulation, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, New York. O’ Brien J. & Guinness D. (1994) Dublin, A Grand Tour, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London.

Cullen, G. (1961) The Concise Townscape, London, The Architectural Press.

Planning and Development Act, 2000, Dublin, Government Stationary Office [online] available from http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2000/en/act/pub/0030/index. html [2 July 2012]

Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government (2009) Government Policy on Architecture 2009-2015, Towards a Sustainable Future: Delivering Quality within the Built Environment, Dublin, Government Stationary Office.

Roads Act, 1993, Dublin, Government Stationary Office [online] available from http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1993/en/act/pub/0014/index. html [30 October 2009]

Derelict Sites Act, 1990, Dublin, Government Stationary Office [online] available from http://www.irishstatutebook. ie/1990/en/act/pub/0014/index.html [Accessed 12 July 2012]

Thom’s Irish Almanac and Official Directory, 1900, Dublin, Alexander Thom and Co. Ltd

Dublin City Council (2012) Grafton Street Part 8 Explanatory Booklet, April 2012 [Online] Available from: http://www.dcba.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Part-8-Explanatory-Booklet-Reduced.pdf [Accessed 12 July 2012] Dublin City Council (2012) Your City, Your Space, Dublin City Public Realm Strategy, Dublin, Dublin City Council Dublin City Council (2010) Dublin City Development Plan, 2011-2017, Dublin, Dublin City Council. Dublin City Council (2008) City Centre Transport Plan, Dublin, Dublin City Council. Dublin City Council (2007) The South City Retail Quarter Architectural Conservation Area Written Statement [Online] available from: http://www.dublincity.ie/Planning/HeritageConservation/Conservation/Documents/South%20City%20Retail%20Quarter%20ACA.pdf [Accessed 2 July 2012] Dublin City Council (2006) Grafton Street and Environs Architectural Conservation Area Written Statement [Online] available from: http://www.dublincity.ie/Planning/ HeritageConservation/Conservation/Documents/Grafton%20 Street%20and%20Environs%20ACA.pdf [Accessed 2 July 2012] Dublin Civic Trust (2010) Defining Dublin’s Historic Core: Realising the Potential of the City Centre and its Georgian Squares for Citizens, Business and Visitors, Dublin, Dublin Civic Trust. Dublin Civic Trust (1999) South William Street: A Study of the Past, A Vision of the Future, Dublin, Argus Press. Dublin Corporation (2001) Shopfront Design Guide, Dublin, Dublin Corporation. DoEHLG (2009) Urban Design Manuel, A Best Practice Guide, Government Stationary Office, Dublin.

Thom’s Irish Almanac and Official Directory, 1850, Dublin, Alexander Thom and Co. Ltd

Websites www.englishmarket.ie www.gehlarchitects.com


South William Street Area Study


ŠDublin Civic Trust 2012


South William Street Area Study