New construction. View of South Docklands. Dublin, Ireland. Photo by Paul Ottaviano.
New construction and gentrification. River Liffey. Dublin, Ireland. Photo by Paul Ottaviano.
I find the fetish for glass covered new buildings odd. Not being an architect, maybe I’m missing the point. Perhaps the new developments that I see in my travels are more efficient, when constructed this way.
If so, I still find them lacking in style and imagination. This aesthetic is common around the world now. There is no local identity or culture in them. It’s plain and boring.
It’s strange to me that we live in a world so consumed with the notion of privacy, that new office buildings and condominiums are seemingly nothing but window towers. People inside can watch passers-by on the street but would likely cry foul if the passers-by turned and looked at them.
This seems too insular and one-way to me, and it encourages distance and isolation in urban areas where vibrant public interaction is essential. New and old buildings are necessary. But Dublin, like many great cities, deserves better than repetitive glass houses.
There is personality in architecture, even in the suburbs. It’s counterintuitive, but the suburbs with its available land sometimes has the most interesting new buildings, albeit strip malls are not likely to win the awards. Some folks are left squeamish by corporate offices, but if you really look you’ll notice that some modern architects are at the top of their game.
Which brings us to old architecture, where personality meets history. Each is part of a novel that is a city, with individual stories and characters wrapped in each. I could go on about architecture photography technique and how much fun a PC lens is. I could write something about the artistry of lines and the geometry around us. But that is the surface.
Architecture, like any design, was someone’s expression and is the cultural identity of a community. Perhaps it is not so simple anymore. Not with associations, zoning, vetting this and vetting that, etc. A lot people just walk by and don’t notice. Yet it still manages to keep going and it’s worth looking at.