Sunday, 23 October 2016

Hunt for modernism...

One can observe an increased hunt for modernism these days. Fascinating and important structures disappearing one after the other. All of it in the name of 'redevelopment' of the area which is usually related to demolition of precious object in order to built new one. 
...As simple as that... and It goes along with usual public acceptance - 'ugly building', 'eyesore', 'happy to see it down'.
...hmm why it is so difficult to understand that traces of every period are very important for future generations... architecture, literature, paintings...
In case of architecture we are talking usually about very innovative structures for the time when it was built, about genuine ideas. It is an architectural heritage which needs to be treasured. Doesn't matter what people say and how much money developers can offer for the land...

Just my opinion which I keep repeating for quite a long time and I am not going to stop...

So many buildings has gone already and many other will be demolished sooner or later. 
It is truly frightening, so sad and hopeless... 

Over a week ago I was photographing Fitzwilton House (please click HERE to see the photographs) ...'redevelopment' of its area will happen very soon. 
This includes demolition ...
The same with part of the old AiB Bankcentre in Ballsbridge, absolutely stunning building which I am hoping to photograph before it will be to late. 
I am awaiting permission since a while...
These are just very recent examples.

A few days ago I spent couple of hours with my camera in Phibsborough centre. Busy streets with lots of people, cars , busses... Typical morning rush hours.
Luckily there was still plenty of space to set the equipment.

Phibsborough shopping centre with office tower on the top. Magnificent structure.

The building, opened in 1969, was designed by McCormack Keane and Partners. 
It 'is a seven-storey concrete office tower on a plinth of single-storey retail units. The formal arrangement of tower and plinth recalls a motte and bailey fortification. This comparison is enhanced by both the segmented concrete staircase that clings to the  south-western side of the tower like a medieval turret and the first floor concrete annex that wraps around the corner of Connaught street like a battlement.

The facade is composed of 409 pre-cast panels in the office tower and further 50 on the first floor.'

(info from the Cormac Murray's article on

Soon I am going to come back to make some images showing more context. It was kind of impossible with large format camera I was using that day. Some views requires shooting from the street or middle of the footpath so small equipment and relatively fast photographing is required.

These photographs are part of 'Unfulfilled Dreams' of course. Please have a look at all project.


Equipment used: Sinar F2 4x5 large format camera with Schneider Kreuznach Super Angulon 90/8 lens and Fomapan 100 4x5 sheet film.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Along the Grand Canal...

Since a few months I am cycling along the Grand Canal at least four times a day... new daily routine related to father's duties ;) 
I have a chance to observe surrounding of the Canal in more details than before and in various light. My eyes are focused mainly on architecture of course. It nicely shows how buildings are changing, how its shapes and character transforms in different light. It can be truly fascinating. Believe me ;)

Two buildings caught my attention - Fitzwilton House on Wilton Place and then former Bord Fáilte headquarters  (Irish Tourist Board) at the junction of Lower Baggot Street and Wilton Terrace. I know them very well as I was working for a few years in this area in my so called previous life. after many moths of concentrating mainly on commercial part of photography and small jobs related to my Darkroom Service I decided to dust off my good reliable Sinar. Going big - the best choice.

Now I had a possibility to look at them through the lens of my camera.

It was also a good chance to check equipment and my own performance after such a long break. And what can I say? All works well and that’s the most important thing :)

I made first few photographs on Direct Positive Paper. Got only one good image which is not bad at all. On Monday morning I returned for more. This time with FP4+ loaded into holders and some more paper as well. 
My 'models' are really important from architectural heritage point of view as they may be gone pretty soon…as many other modernist objects from that period in Dublin. 
Both completely different in scale and both quite a tricky subjects to photograph due to some heavy traffic on Wilton Terrace at the time of the day when I could do my work. Bus stops and bus parking along the street didn’t make it easy as well.

At this stage I would like to push a bit my project ‘Unfulfilled Dreams’ which was on hold since almost the beginning of the year. It's a pity that sometimes it is so difficult to obtain a permission to get inside, if possible at all. That’s why I decided to change tactic, approach many structures in a different way and focus on external parts first instead of interiors. 
I will be very happy to come back and finish it out with interior photography as well but that's a next stage.

Fitzwilton House was designed by architects Emanuel Shoolheifer and Don Burley (hired by Ronald Lyon Estates) for Sir Basil Goulding and completed in 1969.  
It is an immense concrete structure but at the same time fragile in its visual perception.
Very complex facade made of few different concrete finishes creates sort of sceleton which makes all building invisible.
Nine storey tower with smaller, three storey base surrounded by carpark.
Very fine example of modernism in Ireland in my opinion.

In June 2016, planning permission was granted for its demolition...

Bord Fáilte headquarters, another architectural treasure, was designed by Robin Walker (of later Michael Scott & Partners) in 1961.  Robin Walker was the only Irish architect who worked for le Corbusier and studied under the direction of Mies van der Rohe. 

This very unique and beautiful in its simplicity structure is now for sale as a potential development site...

I just wanted to write something about it but doing research I found perfect article written last year by Robin Walker's son Simon Walker... I woudn't be able to explain it better. 
Just click HERE please to read it. 

At the end some technicalities of course.

All was photographed with Sinar F2 4x5 large format camera with Schneider Kreuznach Super Angulon 90/8 lens and Ilford FP4+ 4x5 sheet film.

Some photographs were made on Ilford/Harman Direct Positive Paper. I presented one of them on social media a few days ago. The rest will be shown in the same way so please follow me on FB, Twitter, Linkedin or Instagram.

Also please have a look at recently reorganised and updated 'Unfulfilled Dreams' gallery ...important Irish modernist buildings (just click gallery title please).

Thank you!