Irish Georgian Society

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Conservation City Assembly House windows restoration

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Through the support of the Jerome L Greene Foundation, the Irish Georgian Society was able to pursue one of the core projects in its revitalisation of the City Assembly House: the reinstatement of Georgian-type windows and the cleaning and repointing of historic brick and stone work on the front facade. This project sought to bring about a transformational change to one of Dublin’s most significant eighteenth-century buildings and, when complete, will significantly enhance the character of the associated streetscape.

 

This interim report records the completion in April 2016 of works to reinstate Georgian-type windows to the City Assembly House.

 

Benefit of the work

The facades of Dublin Georgian architecture were traditionally plain, with little in the way of embellishment. The window proportions were a fundamental part of the proportion and aesthetic quality of the façade. The City Assembly House has a plain external elevation, with some embellishment in the form of a granite cornice and decorative over-door. The Coppinger Row elevation is devoid of any embellishment and relies totally on the window proportion for its aesthetic quality. The original configuration of the windowpanes, reflecting the overall pattern of fenestration of the building, gives scale to the building.

 

The installation of plate glass windows in the late 19th/early 20th century detracted from the visual appeal of the building. It also made it difficult to read the building. The plate glass windows failed to sustain the contrasting rhythm between the horizontally proportioned bricks and the original vertical proportions of the fenestration. The alteration of the building by the installation of plate glass windows deprived the structure of all its intended original character. The objective of reinstating Georgian-type windows is to restore the original intended character of the building which had been undermined by a fundamentally inappropriate later intervention.

 

Research and Accuracy and Quality of Replacement

For historical accuracy, the Irish Georgian Society used survey drawings and details of windows from Charlemont House, prepared by David Griffin, Archive Director of the Irish Architectural Archive, as a template. Charlemont House was built in 1763 and so is a contemporary of the City Assembly House, which dates to 1765. The same details were used when replacing the windows in No. 85 St Stephen’s Green and 20 Lower Dominick Street. Reference is also made to the 1795 Malton View of Powerscourt House which illustrates a portion of the City Assembly House.

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