Plans submitted for the proposed €52 million redevelopment of Oisin House on Pearse Street have recently come under fire from both An Taisce and a number of college alumni.
The planning permission proposal, submitted on the 6th of November 2015 to Dublin City Council, involves the demolition of both Oisin House and the ancillary extensions to the Printing House to make way for a seven-storey student accommodation and sports complex.
According to the submission, the plans include 278 student bedrooms, common rooms, a student medical and wellness centre, three retail services and an area for student support services including disability offices and IT offices. It also includes an outline for sports and recreational facilities, following the demolition of the sports club at Luce Hall, to be located in the building’s two basement-level storeys, along with two courtyards, situated on the first floor and at ground level respectively.
The demolition of the Printing House extensions, currently the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, and subsequent repair of the original building are a cause of concern for An Taisce. Built in 1734 by architect Richard Cassels, the Printing House is listed as a protected structure under the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act 2000. The proposed construction of the 13,825.4 sq.m. building is, according to An Taisce, “[an] exercise in floor space maximisation at the expense of an area of great historic, architectural and civic design sensitivity.” In their submission to the council, An Taisce declared that the project’s aim to expand on the current size of Oisin House was “not necessary or desirable.”
Former Trinity graduate of History of Art and Architecture Kate Yeaton, expressed concern with the design on behalf of herself and a group of other alumni. The redevelopment was highlighted in a meeting which Yeaton attended alongside her former university peers. She stated their reaction to the plan in her submission to the council: “All at the meeting were horrified that the college would propose such a monstrosity, and all are considering withdrawing from fundraising should this development proceed.”
According to The Independent, the planning authority is not fully satisfied with the current proposal. Speaking to the paper, the council highlighted its concerns “regarding the potential visual impact of the development with respect to closer and narrower views of buildings and spaces within the Conservation Area – in particular, views along Pearse Street towards College Green.”