Big Ben to be silenced for four years for maintenance
People are being asked to gather to mark the moment, at noon on 21 August, when restoration work halts the hourly chimes.
The bongs of Big Ben, the bell inside the clock tower above the Houses of Parliament, are to be silenced for four years for conservation works.
The Elizabeth Tower, home to the bells that make up the Great Clock and the most photographed building in Britain, is undergoing a programme of restoration work.
As this work takes place, from noon on Monday 21 August the bell’s hourly chimes will be paused until 2021.
Steve Jaggs, keeper of the clock, said: “I have the great honour of ensuring this beautiful piece of Victorian engineering is in top condition on a daily basis. This essential programme of works will safeguard the clock on a long-term basis, as well as protecting and preserving its home – the Elizabeth Tower.”
Members of the public are being called on to to mark the moment by gathering in Parliament Square to hear Big Ben’s final bongs until they return in 2021.
The Great Bell, popularly called Big Ben, weighs 13.7 tonnes and strikes every hour, to the note of E natural. It is accompanied by four quarter bells, which weigh between one and four tonnes each and chime every 15 minutes.
Clockwatchers ticked off as Big Ben’s chimes run six seconds fast
Big Ben has marked the hour with almost unbroken service for 157 years, with the chimes last falling silent for maintenance in 2007. They also stopped between 1983 and 1985 as part of a refurbishment programme.
The Great Clock, comprising the Great Bell and quarter bells, is operated by a Victorian mechanism, which relies on gravity to trigger the hourly chimes. To stop the bells striking, hammers will be locked and the bell disconnected from the clock mechanism, allowing the clock to continue telling the time silently.
However, parliament’s clock makers will ensure Big Ben can still chime for events such as New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday.
At 96 metres tall, the Elizabeth Tower is a focal point of the Grade I-listed Palace of Westminster, which forms a part of a Unesco World Heritage site.
DESIGNS FOR A GREAT CAUSE
The Simon Communities and The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) have said that the thirteenth annual RIAI Simon Open Door campaign has raised over €124,000.
191 RIAI Registered Architects across the country completed 1,366 one hour consultations with the public for a donation of €90, every cent of which went directly to the Simon Communities in Ireland. Since the campaign began in 2004 over €720,000 has been raised by the Irish public and registered architects with architects giving their time and expertise for free.
Speaking at the conclusion of the 2017 programme, Carole Pollard, President of the RIAI said: “The RIAI is delighted that the 2017 RIAI Simon Open Door campaign has raised €124,000 – the largest amount in the history of the campaign and the first time the initiative surpassed €100,000 raised in one week-long campaign. The campaign provides the public with the wonderful opportunity of sitting down with a registered architect and getting the best advice on building or renovating a home while helping a worthy cause. We are delighted to see the commitment from the RIAI registered architects in assisting the Simon Communities with their fight against homelessness.
Speaking about the evolution of the Simon Open Door initiative and the role communications has played in its year-on-year growth, Ms. Pollard added: “Since the inaugural initiative, the campaign has grown each year from a starting point of raising €18,000 in 2005 to the €124,000 milestone reached in 2017. The success of this campaign is dependent on architects who give so generously of their time so I, on behalf of the Institute, would like to express my gratitude to them for their ongoing support. As an annual event, it has captured the imagination of the general public who subscribe in such large numbers. The RIAI would like to thank its Members, Dermot Bannon, RIAI staff and the Reputations Agency for the fantastic work on this year’s campaign.
Kathryn Meghen, CEO, RIAI, said, “The campaign makes a real difference – the €124,000 raised in 2017 will provide over 13,500 nights’ accommodation; 1,350 home starter packs or over 4,000 emergency packs for this on the streets. We are grateful to our PR partners The Reputations Agency who have worked on the campaign for 12 years and have delivered fantastic coverage each year, surpassing expectations and in 2017 helping us achieve these record results for such an important cause.”
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland said, “RIAI Simon Open Door is a wonderful initiative which raises much needed funds for the Simon Communities and supports our work addressing the housing and homelessness crisis all around Ireland.”
“Unfortunately, homelessness and housing insecurity continues to rise. There are currently 7,699 men, women and children in emergency accommodation across the country. A staggering 28% increase from last year’s figures. Since 2012, rental prices have increased by 50% and the number of properties available to rent has reduced by approximately 78%. As a result, rental properties are beyond the reach of many of those in receipt of state housing support – pushing people into homelessness and preventing people leaving homelessness. 91,000 households are on the social housing waiting list and social housing output is too slow to deal with the crisis. Partnering with such wonderful initiatives like the RIAI Simon Open Door can and does make a real difference. We would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have supported us in the past and we hope that the campaign continues to grow and grow supporting us in our vital work across the country.
Ever dreamed of living it up in a five-star hotel… forever?
Well, if you have €3m to spare that dream could become a reality.
A luxury penthouse within one of Dublin’s most luxurious hotels, the Merrion, is seeking a buyer who is looking to fulfil their inner Kevin McAllister on a permanent basis.
The lush duplex apartment, which measures 220sqm, is accessed through a lift within the famous hotel, which has played host to some of the world’s biggest stars down through the years, including Bruce Springsteen and Tom Cruise.
The apartment has two bedrooms, a spacious master bedroom with an adjoining en-suite, and a second bedroom currently decorated with children in mind.
The airy and bright property is decorated in tune with that of the hotel – contemporary, but also highlighting some of the Georgian building’s original features.
The duplex has two marble fire places fitted both fuelled by natural gas, in both the master bedroom and the living room.
Much of the property is fitting with timber flooring, while the kitchen is finished with fine limestone tiles. The kitchen is modern, with its stainless steel features, including the skin and the integrated Belling oven and five-ring gas stove.
Owners of the pricey property can also take full advantage of the Merrion’s facilities, including its world-class Tethra Spa, with a gym and infinity swimming pool. Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Ireland’s only two-star Michelin offering is also just downstairs. A fee of €8000 is the hotel’s service charge each year.
Join Murphy Surveys in conjunction with Kilcullen Cycling Club to support Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin
Murphy Surveys would like to extend our thanks to everyone who took part and supported our Cycle for Crumlin in 2013, 2015 & 2016. Because of your support we have so far raised over €30,000!
This year’s cycle includes a 50km and a 100 km route and will take place on Saturday, July 22nd. Cyclists from Murphy Surveys will be joined by friends from Kilcullen Cycling Club for this Kildare-Laois route.
We want cyclists of all levels to join us on the day.
Every day your donations and support make a difference to lives of patients, parents and hospital staff at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin. From big renovation projects or builds to a small gift to a child on their birthday or even a visit from Santa at Christmas you help to make a difference to everyone in Crumlin hospital. You can read more on the projects they are currently funding by visiting the hospital charity The Children’s Medical and Research Foundation (CMRF) website at www.cmrf.org
Register online at www.murphysurveyscrumlincharitycycle.eventbrite.ie
Registration on the day:
100 KM 9:30am (Departs at 10am sharp)
50 KM 10.00am (Departs at 10.30am sharp)
Join us at our Head Office in Kilcullen for food and refreshments after the event.
Registration fee of €25 will be donated to the Charity.
Contact Caitriona on firstname.lastname@example.org for sponsorship cards.
Photos from 2016 Event
RIAI announces winners of global Architecture awards
Two Irish winners recognised for designing buildings which are friendly, inclusive and accessible spaces
The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) has announced the results of prestigious global architecture awards which include two Irish winners. Two Dublin practices are to be awarded medals as part of the International Union of Architects (UIA) ‘Friendly and Inclusive Spaces’ Awards 2017.
Now in its second year, the awards recognise and promote inclusive design in four categories: New Buildings; Public Spaces; Existing & Historic Buildings and Research. From a total of 76 entries spanning 28 countries across five continents, two Irish projects designed by RIAI-registered architects were chosen as winners of the top awards by an international expert jury.
Dublin-based McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects has won a medal in the New Building category forColáiste Ailigh, a secondary school on the outskirts of Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. The school sits on a sloping site with two levels of accommodation, the lower level backed into the hill, leaving the main elevation facing the view and the playing field.
In the Existing & Historic Buildings category, Seán Harrington Architects, which is also based in the capital, has won a medal for its work on Malahide Parish Centre. Wrapped around a contemporary cloister and sitting comfortably next to a historic church, Malahide Parish Centre in North Dublin provides various community meeting rooms, a children’s nursery, a cafe, and a quiet contemplation room, all open and accessible to everyone. The third medal, in the Public Space category, will be awarded to SCF Arquitectos of Puerto Rico for Paseo Puerta de Tierra.
The medals will be formally presented at an award ceremony in Seoul, Korea on September 6, as part of the 26th UIA Congress of Architecture. International practices which were recognised with Honourable Mentions in all categories will also collect awards at the event.
Irish architect and Co-Director, UIA Work Programme Architecture For All, Fionnuala Rogerson said: “The standard of entries was exceptionally high this year, which reflects our vision that good architecture contributes to the creation of ‘enabling’ environments which are suitable for people of all ages, abilities and cultures to use and enjoy.”
RIAI President, Carole Pollard added: “On behalf of all of our members, I would like to congratulate all of the medal winners and those that received Honourable Mentions, particularly the two Irish practices which have been recognised with this honour. It’s further evidence of the high regard in which Irish architects are held, both at home and abroad. Their expertise continues to contribute to the quality built environment which benefits all of our lives.”
The International Union of Architects (UIA) ‘Friendly and Inclusive Spaces’ Awards 2017 is administered by the RIAI and supported by the Polish Association of Architects (SARP) and the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA).
Grenfell Tower fire triggers emergency safety review across UK’s 4,000 high-rises
The UK government has launched an emergency review of the country’s high-rise apartments following the Grenfell Tower fire, with cabinet minister Sajid Javid saying residents of similar buildings could be rehoused for their safety.
The communities and local government secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC Breakfast programme this morning that an emergency fire safety review was now underway.
“What we’ve already started, and this started right away, is an emergency fire review of all similar buildings throughout the country,” he said, explaining that the first step involved identifying buildings that had used similar cladding.
“There are about 4,000 high-rise buildings in the country but not all of them have been re-cladded – but also let’s not just make the assumption that it is all about cladding,” he continued.
“We need to be led by the experts and as soon as we have more information from the experts, which we expect either later today or certainly over the weekend, that is what I think should be used to do these emergency inspections.”
The minister also appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, where he said that following the review, the government would do “whatever is necessary” to ensure the safety of residents in high-rises.
When pushed on whether that could extend to evacuations, he responded that the government would act on “whatever they [investigators] come back with. There can be no shortcuts to this. It should never have happened in a country like Britain in this century, today.”
“Whether its changes to those buildings, rehousing, whatever it is, that is what will have to be done,” he said.
The government is under increased pressure after it emerged that expert reports from last year warned against the kind of cladding used in recent renovations at Grenfell Tower.
The 24-storey tower near London’s Notting Hill had received an £8.7 million facelift in the lead up to the fire, which broke out around 1am on Wednesday morning.
Aluminium-composite panels used to cover the facades of the high-rise were quickly identified by onlookers as appearing to help the fire take hold.
London firm Studio E Architects and contractors Rydon oversaw the £8.7 million refurbishment of the 1970s building, which was completed last summer. Rydon has claimed the building met all necessary fire regulation and health and safety standards at the time of completion.
However, there are claims that safeguards to stop the spread of fire were removed during the works, and it is unclear whether these were replaced.
Emma Dent Coad – the design writer recently elected Labour MP in the historically Conservative area – yesterday supported claims that recent renovations may have played a role in the spread of the fire.
“I can’t help thinking that poor-quality materials and construction standards may have played a part in this hideous and unforgivable event,” she told The Guardian.
The overhaul of the 1970s building has been in part attributed to the area’s gentrification. Planning documents for the works from 2014 point to the need to update the facade improve the view from nearby luxury developments.
Many of the tower’s occupants had raised concerns about the superficial level of works.
Concerns about fire risks were brought to the attention of property managers the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation and the owner, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
No less than 10 complaints regarding fire risks were reported by residents on the Grenfell Action Group blog, which claims their repeated complaints “fell on deaf ears”.
In a column for Dezeen today, Owen Hatherley argues the fire has highlighted the widespread neglect of the UK’s residential high-rises, and the undeserved contempt held for the people that live in them.
Touchdown for Lansdowne Place development
The Dubai-backed €650m-plus Ballsbridge development Lansdowne Place in Dublin, which includes luxury apartments and an hotel in phase two, gets its first formal launch today, predominantly with 24 two-bed apartments at €900,000. There are also two one-beds at €825,000, and two three-beds priced at €2.15 million.
Being built on the site of the former Berkeley Court/Clyde Court hotel (previously associated with Sean Dunne) which was demolished last year, the overall development will total up to 490 apartments, a 150-bed hotel and 75,000 sq ft of commercial and retail development.
Kicking off the high-end scheme in Dublin 4 is the official public launch of 28 apartments, out of 215 being built in phase one. It features a 6,000 sq ft, three-storey marketing suite opening up which includes two-bed and three-bed show units, with interiors by London-based interior architects Goddard Littlefair, on their first residential project in Ireland.
Bankers and Brexiteers, as well as traders-down from some of the capital city’s valuable red-bricks (among which this development is placed) can be expected to cast an eye over the scheme, designed by O’Mahony Pike Architects over seven ‘pavilions’, and selling via Sherry FitzGerald and Savills.
The first completions are in the first half of 2018, and it’s known that 29 have already been booked in off-market pitches. Green Property’s Stephen Vernon (who bought a holiday home in Glandore in 2014 for €1.7m) is among the early birds, understood to have picked up a large penthouse for a possible €4m-plus. Values for new apartments around Ballsbridge, in smaller niche developments, have topped €1,000 per square foot.
Backed by investment entity ICAV which is owned by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), the ambitious 490-unit and upper-end market-testing Lansdowne Place is being delivered by the seasoned team at Chartered Land — Dundrum Shopping Centre is among their top developments — who have been appointed by ADIA as development and investment managers for the major project.
The mixed-use investment comes as Ballsbridge recapitalises on its stellar location post-crash recovery, with about 750,000 sq ft of new offices also expected over the next two years, including One Ballsbridge, and other major schemes around Shelbourne Road and the RDS.
According to Sherry FitzGerald and Savills, “Lansdowne Place sets a new international standard for apartment living in Ireland and provides a unique opportunity to own a property of unrivalled quality, in a premier location.”
Sizes range from one bed apartments at 782 sq ft, through two-bed apartments from 954 sq ft to 1,627 sq ft, and the two €2.15m three bed apartments at 1,910 sq ft.
Purchasers/residents at Lansdowne Place will get membership of a London-style purpose-built leisure facility and 24-hour concierge service, offering library, lounge, cinema room, gym, sauna, treatment rooms, and hospitality spaces.
The site at the corner of Lansdowne Road and Shelbourne Road was, for 150 years, site of the former Trinity College Botanic Gardens, and the new scheme has landscaping by Bernard Seymour, Landscape Architects which “will retain many original specimen trees, recalling the botanic history of the site.”
Plan to demolish Ormond Hotel for development approved
Queens Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes has been given the go-ahead to demolish and redevelop the Ormond Hotel on Dublin’s Liffey quays, three years after first seeking permission.
The hotel, which features in James Joyce’s Ulysses, was bought by developer Bernard McNamara in 2006 for €17 million, a year after it closed.
He put it on the market in 2009 with a price tag of €7 million, but it was subsequently bought for less than €2.5 million, by Monteco Holdings a company owned by Air Asia boss and football club owner Mr Fernandes.
Monteco in 2013 applied for permission to demolish the Victorian hotel and replace it with a 170-bedroom, six-storey hotel.
However, Dublin City Council refused permission, as did An Bord Pleanála on appeal. The board described the scheme as “monolithic” and “unsympathetic”, and likely to “seriously injure” the character of a conservation area.
The company put together a new plan for a five-storey hotel with 121 bedrooms, twice the number of bedrooms as the old hotel. It was granted permission from the council last year.
However the scheme was appealed to An Bord Pleanála by local residents, largely because of its scale.
An Taisce highlighted the hotel’s cultural significance, since it is the scene for the Sirens chapter of Ulysses.
The Ormond Hotel opened in 1889, but was rebuilt, with the demolition of original houses, in 1900.
The developers pointed out that the existing hotel building earmarked for demolition does not contain any remnants of the hotel as written about by Joyce. However they said it was “considered appropriate for the proposed development to provide some recognition and acknowledgment of the Joycean theme” by embedding text from the book into the floor and courtyard with bronze plaques or lettering.
An Bord Pleanála has granted permission, on condition that the new hotel operated as “The Ormond Hotel” to reflect and retain the site’s connection with the city’s literary culture.
College Green Plaza to create a world class civic space for Dublin
Dublin City Council has presented an exciting and creative design renewing College Green as a civic space in the heart of Dublin. This new pedestrian priority space will significantly improve the quality of the city’s public realm.
Designed by Dixon Jones/Paul Keogh Architects, working closely with Dublin City Council, the newly shaped College Green development will be a dramatic 7,300 sq. metre area for people to enjoy in the heart of the city centre.
Extensive article in May/June issue of Plan Magazine