Explanatory Booklet April 2012
COMHAIRLE CHATHRACH BHAILE ÁTHA CLIATH
DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL
Planning and Development Act 2000 - 2010
Planning and Development Regulations, 2001-2010 - Part 8
Applicant: Dublin City Council South East Area Office, Civic Offices,
Wood Quay, Dublin 8
Location: Grafton Street, Dublin 2
Proposal: Pursuant to the requirements of the above, notice is hereby
given of proposals to remove the existing brick paving and replace with new
stone paving for the full width of Grafton Street and for its length from face
of the building line at St Stephen’s Green North to the face of the building
line at the junction of Nassau Street and Suffolk Street. The proposals
include the removal of the existing street furniture and replacement with
new street furniture. The proposals include all necessary service, utility
and associated site works. The works will be phased such that businesses
can remain open and disruption is minimised. In accordance with the
Council Directive 92/43/ECC as amended by Council Directive 97/62/EC,
Appropriate Assessment does not apply.
Report: “Grafton Street’s a wonderland there is magic in the air”
Grafton Street is acknowledged as one of Dublin’s most significant streets.
Yet its existing brick paved surface laid in the mid 1980s has suffered
badly in recent years. It is now at the point where it is necessary for repair
crews to attend on an almost daily basis. The replacement of its existing
paving material is an imperative for the street and the city.
Considerable experience has been gained by the City Council in the
provision, maintenance and management of high quality public realm
that is under severe vehicular and pedestrian pressure in its schemes on
O’Connell Street and Henry Street/Mary Street. It is following from that
experience together with the goal of achieving universal design standards
in the executed works and acknowledging the particular distinctive
character of Grafton Street itself, while setting the parameters for the
subsequent development of other streets within the quarter, that these
proposals are presented.
Design Requirements –
• Application of principles of Universal Design
• Protection of existing under-street private cellars from vehicle
• Structurally robust low maintenance design accommodating retention
of existing vehicle loading regime along length of street
• Future maintenance by mechanised street cleaning vehicles (scale
and nature of vehicles as per existing fleet)
• Not compromising the existing maximum pedestrian capacity of street
• Give expression to Grafton Street’s unique character
• Signal design parameters for hierarchy of adjoining streets.
Design Response –
The redesign for Grafton Street offers the opportunity to continue the
high quality public realm improvement schemes carried out in O’Connell
Street and in Henry Street/Mary Street and to continue the Civic Spine
link between Parnell Square and Saint Stephen’s Green. It is proposed
to use natural-stone granite for paving as is traditional in Dublin’s streets
and to utilise a palette of stone colours which have already been used in
the O’Connell St. and Henry St. schemes. This both reinforces the unity of
city centre high quality street paving and restricts the range of stone to be
sourced for ongoing maintenance and repair.
Although this scheme may be considered a continuum of the O’Connell
St. scheme in quality, the architectural character of the wide, straight main
street differs essentially from the narrower curved nature of Grafton Street.
While the architectural character of the streets within the Grafton Street
Quarter varies from the visual complexity and colour in Grafton Street to
the Georgian formality of Molesworth Street and the highly ornamented
brickwork of the South City Markets area, the proposals for Grafton Street
are framed in the context of a particular response to the Grafton Street
character while providing a visual and thematic link with the other streets
of the quarter.
It is an objective of the proposals for Grafton Street that the design should
• coherence i.e. the design should be logical and be consistent
• legibility i.e. the design should be visually understandable in its intent,
its elements, contrasts, direction, and expression of arrival at place
• usability i.e. be usable in accordance with the principles of Universal
Design with regard to a full spectrum of people’s abilities.
While Grafton Street is a pedestrian street for most of the day, the traffic
free environment only operates from the end of the morning goods
delivery period. The protection of underground cellars immediately in front
of many of the shopfronts requires the positioning of a range of street
furniture to prevent vehicles intruding on the cellar roofs. These elements
will mostly comprise lighting columns, waste bins and bollards. Although
the street-furniture will be contemporary and high quality in design it offers
the opportunity to give expression to the unique character of the street and
to allow the exploration of street-furniture design unique to this character.
The visually rich and complex range of shopfront styles and architectural
building elevations suggest that the paving design, in order to complement
rather than compete with this richness , should be calm and understated
in nature and so the background material proposed generally for the street
is a mid grey granite.
The design proposes a way-finding path, useful to people with a visual
impairment, of contrasting stone colour and texture, located away from
the delivery-trafficked central roadway affording an obstruction free route
along one side of the street. Nodes and the major street junctions are
given visual recognition as points of interest and pause along the route
and are paved to form a pink granite square set in a darker pink surround
to signify importance, arrival and direction change. The way-finding
path is marked at this point by a direction-change shape. Entrances to
small side-streets are marked with pink granite threshold paving and the
shopfronts are edged with a margin of pink granite sets. It is proposed to
re-state the alignment of the original footways by a subtle change of stone
colour and texture and by using substantial kerbstone edges to the central
The existing geometric paving in Grafton Street (centre photograph) and the
richness and visual complexity of the building facades, design detailing and
Given the visual complexity of the Grafton Street buildings, the design
proposes paving that is calm visually.
The existing geometric brick paving pattern has its own internal grid dimension
or rhythm unrelated to building widths, shop fronts or plot size. The design
proposes a different rhythm related to the “pause” areas on the street - the
junctions with a side street - where a decision is made to view, to enter or to
A Change of Rhythm
“pause” areas at junctions
Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it
can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all
people regardless of their age, size or ability. This will be particularly evident
in a surface that is level, even, not slippery and includes tactile wayfinding
Principles of Universal Design
To protect the cellars of the buildings, that extend under Grafton Street, traffic
must be kept off the cellar roofs by street furniture, lights and bollards.
Extent of Vehicular Access
The detailed design of paving sizes, jointing, junctions with different materials,
colour, texture and the careful design of manhole covers and street hardware
are essential elements and must form part of a high quality project.
Quality of Detail
This is the first of a series of Part 8’s that will issue in accordance with the
Grafton Street Public Realm Plan. It therefore relates solely to the “spine” of
Grafton Street, that is building edge to building edge, and does not deal with
the side streets. Each side street will be the subject of their own Part 8.
Part 8 Boundary
The traditional paving material for Dublin has been granite. The design
proposes high quality, natural granite which is functional, durable and safe
using a similar range of stone as has been used in recent upgrading schemes
in O’Connell Street and Henry Street.
It is proposed that the street furniture be well-designed and elegant, and both
reflect and express the unique character of Grafton Street.
It is proposed to carry out the work in a number of sequential work front areas
to allow pedestrian and vehicle movements to continue and ensure business
disruption is minimised.
Sequential Work Fronts
Example of a possible work front area with vehicle movements following a
Traffic Management Plan and pedestrian movement maintained.
Sequential Work Fronts
The subsequent work front area allows vehicles and pedestrians to use the
completed area and work is carried out outside the shop fronts.
Sequential Work Fronts
Grafton Street Quarter with the proposed street improvements shown shaded
in grey and the proposed Luas BXD line shown shaded in purple.
Grafton Street Quarter
Proposed Luas BXD line through the Grafton Street Quarter.
The plans and particulars of the proposed development will be available for
inspection or purchase at a fee not exceeding the reasonable cost of making
a copy for a period of six weeks from 20 th April 2012 until 6 th June 2012 at the
offices of Dublin City Council’s Planning Department, Block 4, Ground Floor,
Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8 Monday to Friday 9.00am to 4.30pm.
A submission or observation in relation to the proposed development, dealing
with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area in which
the development would be situated may be made in writing to the Executive
Manager, Planning Department, Dublin City Council, Block 4, Floor 3, Civic
Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8, before 4.30pm on 20 th June 2012.
A Dublin City Council Publication