Former Archer's Garage, Dublin

Arnold Francis Hendy
Date Built
built 1949 - demolished 1999 - rebuilt 2004
Corner of Sandwith Street & Fenian Street
The former Archer's Garage at the corner of Fenian and Sandwith Streets has been added here as an example of post-war Art Deco architecture.  However, it should be noted right away that it is in fact less than ten years old having been built, or rebuilt, in 2004. 

In 1999 the garage was the only remaining structure on a site on which a Dublin hotelier and developer was hoping to erect an apartment complex.  Despite the fact that it was a Grade 1 Listed building, it was reduced to rubble on a June Bank Holiday weekend.  What followed was a huge outcry from architects, planners, conservationists and citizens who were not only outraged at the loss of this important building but who also saw this as a glaring example of the cavalier attitude of some developers, in the height of Ireland's development boom, to sweep away the city's architectural heritage in favour of new developments.  Faced with the prospect of a fine of up to €1million or a possible goal term, the developer agreed to rebuild Archer's Garage.

In an article in the Irish Times Marie O'Halloran described the garage as " ... a "revolutionary" building because it was the first in Ireland to be built of reinforced concrete and to be fitted with fluorescent lighting. Two storeys high, it was a landmark mainly because of its "chunky" corner tower, where the sign was also done in reinforced concrete."  The resolution has been that the garage was rebuilt and integrated into a new four-storey office block now occupied by the KBC Bank.  The office block has been wrapped around the old garage which now forms the entrance to the building.  The former forecourt creating a porte cochere.

Various commentaries on the new building suggest that the restoration was not perfect but I have to say it is a striking building and a good example of what can be achieved when there is the will to preserve important buildings.