Source: An Taisce/Twitter.com
AN TAISCE HAS criticised the demolition of part of the 19th-century Irish Distillers Building in Dublin which was due to be retained as part of a new development.
The structure, which was converted in the 1970s and is located beside the Jameson Distillery in Smithfield on the northside of the city, was demolished last month as part of the new ‘Distillers Building’ development.
The Linders of Smithfield group was granted planning permission for the development by Dublin City Council in 2016 but was due to retain sections of the original limestone facade.
The 20,000 sqm development includes the construction of office space on the site running between Smithfield Square and Bow Street.
Under the plans, part of the stone facade was due to be incorporated in the new build, according to the planning permission.
The two-storey Bow Street section of the building – as well as two further sections wrapping around the corner onto New Church Street and the Luas Red Line (shown below) – were to be retained and incorporated within the new office development, according to An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland.
A spokesperson for the Council told TheJournal.ie that approval was given to demolish the building “except for the eastern wall”.
However, when the demolition happened the developer discovered a structural issue which meant that the eastern wall also needed to be demolished.
“Dublin City Council gave approval for this on Health and Safety grounds,” the spokesperson said. “However, the developer has been instructed to rebuild the eastern wall as part of the works.”
‘We’d have questions’
An Taisce has said that “there is an established procedure for retaining a historic façade, which was not followed”.
“Modern building conservation practice allows easy remedy of any stability problems arising in historic structures, through provision of structural support prior to demolition.”
Demolition of the structure, required to be maintained as part of the planning permission, is unjustifiable.
Smithfield and Bow Street are within a designated Conservation Area under the Dublin City Development Plan 2016-22, the group has said.
The former Irish Distillers building was also a “well-regarded office scheme having been sensitively converted from an old spirits store in the 1970s”.
The now-demolished part of the building formed part of a distinctive stone-warehouse streetscape on Bow Street, Kevin Duff of An Taisce told TheJournal.ie.
“We’d have questions for the city council,” Duff said.
“They have permission for a really enormous, substantial seven-storey office block. All they had to do was retain this one wall on Bow Street and two [walls] wrapping around the corner and they couldn’t even do that.”
Green Party councillor Ciarán Cuffe has described the demolition of the remainder of the building’s facade as “a disturbing precedent”.
The Linders group did not respond to queries by the time of publishing.