Abercrombie’s Dublin of the Future

November 27th 2013 Abercrombie's Dublin of the Future. Image courtesy of Dublin City Library and Archive.

National Theatre, Auditorium and Art Gallery

“There can be no serious hesitation in appropriating a site at the top of O’Connell Street for a National Theatre. The rising ground would afford a possibility of placing the foyer lower than the auditorium, by which means a splendid plan would result, and externally the hinder part would rise dominatingly. O’Connell Street, freed of the tram incubus, is the great monumental venue of the city, and this is the site for the building which corresponds to the Opera at Paris. The Irish Theatre, the most vitally dramatic movement in Europe, or one might say (with the exception of Serbian Sculpture) the most vital national art, will naturally be housed in a building that will be a national monument. The Rotunda, balanced by a similar structure or portion of a structure on the other side, should be restored to nobler uses than at present; the Maternity Hospital, after its long and honourable career, deserves a rest in the country air – what is best in it should be preserved and the new wing on Granby Row rebuilt as a Music Auditorium. The whole group, with a City restaurant combined, faces on to the Rotunda gardens, its original disposition restored and treated as a town garden for sculpture, like the Volksgarten at Vienna.”

From Dublin of the Future, The New Town Plan, being the scheme awarded the first prize in the International Competition by Patrick Abercrombie, M.A., A.R.I.B.A., Sydney Kelly, F.S.I. and Arthur Kelly, London, 1922, p.38

In 1914 an international competition was promoted by the Civics Institute of Ireland to elicit designs and reports on a plan for ‘Greater Dublin’, intended to suggest measures for the development of the City. The design by Professor Abercrombie and his partners was unanimously awarded the prize in 1916. Dublin of the Future is available to consult at Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2.

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