17 Jun 2008

I was at some meeting or other with some planner or other (guessing, not someone with a background in building construction) talking about a proposal for a Protected Structure. The building wasn’t all that important and had already been changed around quite a bit from its original condition. Seeking assurances that best conservation practise would be employed on the project, the planner remarked something to the effect that ‘it was important that the right thing be done by the building because, after all, the building is the client.’ The unusually poetic phrase lingered on my ear. How perceptive.

Until a friend of mine mentioned that another planner in a totally other local authority used the exact same phrase on a totally different project. Where are these non building professionals getting this dodgy metaphysical conservation philosophy from? Somebody's schooling them.

Anyway, I prefer Wittgenstein’s epithet that ‘the meaning is in the use’. Meaning, you can be as pernickety about the conservation details as you want, but if the building has no use, it has no meaning.

Which reminds me of the appeal I put out to you all a few weeks back looking for examples of how local authorities were assisting in the euthanasia of Protected Structures by being way overly picky on planning applications. Send me your examples.

Here’s another sampler: a fine little structure which has endured the Local Authority’s dictum that the ‘building is the client’ on more than one occasion over the past ten years.

This building in Salthill has been vacant and deteriorating ever since anyone can remember. A planning application lodged a couple of years back seeking to have it restored to use as a restaurant wasn’t considered ‘conservative’ enough by the powers that be. As a consequence, nothing happened (if you don’t count visits from vandals who camped out in it from time to time and almost managed to burn it down). It’s now before An Bord Planala on another application. I don’t know how much more do-gooding it can withstand. 

Comments are closed.