Friday, October 7, 2011


It has become one of the most iconic reminders of our embarassing past. The image the shell of what was to be Anglo Irish Bank's new headquarters has fronted many a newspaper around the globe as a representation of the collapse of the Celtic Tigers...but a number of very interesting proposals, including a "Vertical Park" could transform the eye sore.

A radical proposal is being made to transform the concrete skeleton on Dublin’s North Wall Quay into a park in time for the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

A Dublin architecture firm is seeking a licence to develop the seven-acre site on behalf of the people of Ireland to put in place a landmark on the Liffey Quays that would nurture sustainable vision-making and proclaim a new future.

It sounds like a wonderful plan...if it goes ahead. A good example of how successful such a development could be can be seen in New York, where an disused railway line was turned into a park and has since become one of the most visited attractions in the city.

Developed by Mahoney Architecture, the Trees on the Quays group is seeking support from the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, Dublin City Council and – most of all – Nama. “If we get heads of agreement with Nama that the site would be made available for, say, 10 years, that would be a big step forward,” Mr Mahoney told The Irish Times.

The licence would need to be made available free for the proposal to succeed. He added: “Even a tiny fraction of the Irish diaspora would create a huge fund to develop this project and there would also be enormous benefits for nearby buildings, such as the convention centre and O2.

Inspiration came from Dutch architects MVRVD’s Netherlands pavilion at Expo 2000 in Hanover, which featured trees growing at different levels, and the High Line in New York City, where an abandoned elevated railway was turned into a linear park.

The Trees on the Quays group proposes a similar vision, re-imagining Anglo Irish Bank’s concrete structure as a multilevel city park – with its floorplates punched out to make room for trees and the resulting rubble reused to form a hill alongside.

I for one think it is a fantastic idea and one that the city planners should embrace with open arms. The city is dotted with statues of great figures in Irish history who inspire the next generation of Irish people, so why not use this shell as a reminder, an inspiration and most importantly...a lesson to the future.

Sure aren't we the kings of packages; we can put together a package for visitors coming to Dublin to have a pre-parkviewing meal, return transfer and night's accommodation...that one could catch on!!!

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