Architectural Abominations

Following on from Uglee Dublin and inspired by our friend Arran Q Henderson, we’d like to ask which buildings in Dublin would you demolish, obliterate or otherwise make disappear.

Oh and to make it harder (since we’re really spoilt for choice in Dublin) you can only pick five.

To get you started, here are my five monsters:

#1. Civic Offices. Built on the site of possibly the most important Viking archaeological site in Europe.

Civic offices

#2. ESB Head Office. 16 Georgian Houses were demolished in the sixties to make room for this obscenity, breaking up Dublin’s famous Georgian Mile (this one’s days may thankfully be numbered anyway).


#3. Hawkins House. Did someone actually pay an architect for this work?


#4. O’Connell House. Dwarfs the surrounding Georgian structures and towers oppressively over O’Connell Bridge

oconnell bridge house

#5. Newish unnamed building on Barnardo Square, Dame Street. Who thought it was a good idea to build this in front of Dublin Castle. It’s so damn ugly they put ridiculous green lights on it to distract us.


Uglee building barnardo square

And this is sort of cheating but since it’s not a building I’m allowed an extra one…

# 5.1. Butt Bridge. Completely bisects the city and cuts off the view of Gandon’s spectacular Customs House.

Butt bridge

Over to you…

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14 Responses to Architectural Abominations

  1. How about Leinster House, with the TD’s inside, The Spire, need i continue???

  2. Dam it, dam it, dam it! Was really looking forward to getting the boot into a few monstrosities. But, (I feel foiled) these are almost exactly the five I would have chosen myself! I mean it. I hate all of these 5 above. In fact, this is so close to my own Top-5-Hate list, that I can only think of one possible alteration.

    If pressed, I would substitute Hawkins House (out of list) for the truly disgusting, vast, riverside-wreaking Ulster bank head quarters, on the south side of the quays. (you know the vile looking thing, on Georges Quay, but I think this link should bring up the reminder (horror) photo, if you can bear to look)

    The reason this piece of rubbish gets the nod over Hawkins House is that Hawkins House is “merely” inappropriate, the wrong scale, environmentally insensitive, poorly built, poorly maintained, and looks as knackered, badly run, and generally dysfunctional, as the Government Department it contains. But if you leave all that context aside, it is merely a boring building, true now a bit of an eyesore because its so poorly maintained and with that revolting surface car park all around it. But when it was new , it was built in fact on reasonably sond modernist principals, (I know not everyone cares for those principals but I actually don’t mind them) The modern should be modern. I hate Po-Mo pastiche muck.

    Ulster Bank on the other hand, is a whole different animal. It is all o-Mo, pastiche muck. and the most vile crime against architecture, good principals, good sense and good taste, committed in our city for at least the last 15 years. Look at those stupid peaked sloping roof tops. On a skyscraper! For f**k sake! And those stupid arches lower down on the first floor river side facade – a pathetic, deluded attempt, to give the thing a bit of a “classical” , “classy” look. They even had the nerve to add a real classical columns up the top of the entrance steps, salvaged from a real building, a gross act of cultural appropriation. In fact all the little “touches” to this building which try to make it more “traditional” or “humane”, have all backfired horribly. Each is a crass, meaningless, intelligence-insulting attempt to Humanise the inhuman and add class to something quite beyond redemption. You rightly say the Butt (Loopline Rail?) Bridge ruins the riverside views. But what about this one for buggering up the river skyline? Oh man. I could go on.

    Otherwise your list is perfect for me too. The EBS and Stephenson’s “Civic” buildings for DCC have to in don’t they? Not merely crimes against architecture and against a livable, human-scale city, but crimes against history and heritage too. No excuses for either one (and all the excuses i have heard were entirely self-serving, delivered by smirking peasants who don’t give a toss about history or heritage). Both building projects (demolitions) entirely unforgivable. I’d love to shoot a few people. And no that is not a figure of speech.
    Great post. You have made me furious.

    • rjmackin says:

      I have to say if Mr Mackin had put together this list Ulster Bank would have been a clear winner! He feels as strongly as you do about it.
      And personally I think when it all boils down, almost everything that’s wrong with this country can be traced back to bad or corrupt planning.

      • Agreed Ruth! Bad planning is the bane of Ireland, and the overall sensibility, or lack of it, that allows a culture of bad planning. (Obsession with money over quality of life, over an inclusive society, community, human scale cities, and an apathy or ignorance towards history). Mr Mackin is right too, the Ulster Bank is a “thundering” disgrace! Many thanks to you both for this opportunity to mouth off, hopefully it was more cathartic than, then, than well, whatever the opposite of cathartic is! 🙂 -A.

  3. mememe2u says:

    The ESB head office. Deffo. 3 pounds of C3 should do the job… a smoking crater would still look better.

    And the second most nauseating is already in your list:

  4. him up there touches on a good point, lack of maintenance can kill any building. The BOI HQ in Baggot St is, in theory grand (if you get over the essential weirdness of wanting a knock off of a good building from somewhere else) But look at it today, empty (mostly) unmaintained, peeling, rusting. Half the city is a winter from eyesore.

    • rjmackin says:

      So true. Reminds me of the culture of constructive neglect that went on during the sixties when many of our important historic houses passed into the hands of the city councils and who then proceeded to allow them to fall into disrepair so they could make a case for their demolition to make space for office blocks, car parks and shopping centres. Just criminal…

  5. It is disappointing when an old, beautiful architectural gift of the past is destroyed in favor of modern building for business and commerce sake. As for blocking the view, like Butt Bridge, I too share your sentiments. It’s sad when progress forget to include style, right?

  6. rjmackin says:

    Yes. In Ireland progress and modernity were used as excuses to commit all kinds of architectural atrocities and our cityscapes are the poorer for it.

  7. aj vosse says:

    My most favorite abomination… the place I think they’ve named Liberty Hall! The biggest problem is the occupants who are far from free but slaves to the obsession of socialism and communism!! Need I say more?

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