Thursday, 30 January 2014


I was lucky enough to be treated to a trip to Rome for Christmas... perfect timing for a post-dissertation rest and a last hurrah pre-thesis. There was barely a corner I didn't want to photograph so here's just a small edit of the few hundred snaps I took over the course of the weekend. I'll let them do the talking...

Images 1-7 taken in the Vatican City,  8-10 Baroque churches, 11-16 in and around the Pantheon, 17 roast chestnuts at Trevi Fountain, 18 pumpkin gelato, 19-20 The Spanish Steps, 21-26 the Colosseum, 27-30 Piazza Navona

PS For those of you who didn't hear yet, I got FREE in to the Colosseum because I'm an architecture student. I've never been so smug. 

Special thanks to Colm 

Thursday, 9 January 2014


'Dublin's crystal tower' also known as Liberty Hall was completed in 1964 by architect and structural engineer Desmond Rea O'Kelly.  It was constructed on the site of the original Liberty Hall which occupied the Northumberland Hotel, a rebel stronghold in the 1916 Easter Rising. The new Liberty Hall was purpose-built as the headquarters for the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU now called SIPTU). This sixteen-story high architectural marvel was Ireland's first skyscraper. 

Situated on Beresford Place, it holds a prominent location on the riverfront adjacent to Gandon's Customs House. The architect asserted that Liberty Hall's copper roof gave a nod of recognition to its esteemed neighbour. The distinctive roof is cantilevered from the central core and is made up of projecting folded plate slabs that flow in an undulating wave pattern. The underside of the roof is covered in classically modernist coloured tiles. Apparently the colours were chosen by the architect's wife, whom he said "has good taste in these things".

The mosaic tiles were used again, but this time in white on the outside of the building along the edge of each reinforced concrete floor plate. The floor-to-ceiling transparent non-reflective glass panels provided excellent views of the city. The effect of the white tiled floor plates and clear glass stories worked in striking harmony. Unfortunately a car bomb exploded outside the hall in 1972 shattering a large proportion of the tower's glass. Although the glass was replaced, a protective film was applied to all of the windows which diminished the building's former translucency.

The SIPTU union made a planning application for the demolition and erection of a new Liberty Hall in 2011. They hired Gilroy McMahon Architects to design the proposal. The Bord Pleanala rejected the application in November 2012 stating in its conclusion, "It is considered that the site of Liberty Hall is of national historic and social significance and is located at a prominent and sensitive location fronting onto the River Liffey, within the historic city core of Dublin and adjacent to the Custom House, a protected structure of primary importance in the state".  

Loved by many but loathed by others, who see its height as incompatible with the classical Georgian fabric of the city and its exterior outdated, Liberty Hall retains its controversial profile to this day. Concrete Collar are jubilant that Liberty Hall was spared the wrecking ball. We see it as an icon of modernist Dublin and would love to see its once public observatory deck (which existed as one of Dublin's most popular attractions in the 1960's) re-open in the not so distant future. The views from this building are unrivalled and should be treasured.

Special thanks to Alsún Keogh for letting us share her wonderful research.

All photography and styling is our own. Follow us on twitter and instagram @concretecollar.

Becky wears:

black wool coat - Zara
check camisole jumpsuit - Asos
chunky white platforms - ebay
roll neck jumper - Primark

Ciana wears:

trench coat - H&M
long sleeve crop top - Penneys
high waisted crop trousers - Topshop Boutique
white patent bluchers - Zara
sundial cocktail ring - House of Harlow