23 February 2014

Thrice toss these oaken ashes in the air

Triptychs on the Green Building by Danleo, Friz and Danleo (again)
Crow Street, Dublin, 6th June, 2013,  3rd January, 2013 and 23rd February 2014
Walking through the streets of Dublin, you can hardly miss the still-numerous boarded up and vacant buildings. While most belong to new developments, built as tax write-offs during the Tiger years to house office workers that didn't exist and never having their lintel crossed by someone unadorned with a yellow hard-hat, some are sad remnants of our historical past (like the original frontage of Thomas Reads on Parliament Street, once proudly proclaimed as "Dublin's oldest shop" and now left to rot as pub empire that took its name collapsed in upon itself), and others equally sad from more recent times.

The Green Building in Temple Bar was unveiled in 1994, the first major attempt to make a sustainable city building in Ireland. With solar panels, wind generation and a bore-hole heat pump, the building was a remarkable achievement, with as much attention paid to the artistic flourishes that adorned both the outside and in as to the environmental concerns that drove its construction. There's a great interview from 2011 with Bernard Gilna who was the project architect during the the building's construction here (.mp3 download link), but for many years large parts of the building have been largely vacant, particularly the ground floor and basement retail areas. These parts of the building have been up for sale for many years now, a boarded up and blighted hole where once stood a beacon of green possibilities.

However for the last few years the folks at Evolve Urban Art have used these hoardings as one of the largest urban canvases for street art in the city, with the Temple Lane side of the building frequently playing host to pieces for First Fortnight, the mental health awareness festival that happens each year in early January, and the Crow Street side, opposite the street art supply shop All City, has played host to a number of wilder triptychs from artists such as Danleo, Friz and Marcamix, three artists known for the bold vivid colours and designs they use.

It may not be to everyone's taste, but there is no denying the positive visual impact this burst of light and colour has on what would otherwise be yet another yellowing broken tooth in the maw of the now enfeeble Tiger.

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