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  • Richard Herriott

Serving suggestions

You might be familiar with the preposterous images sometimes printed on the front of food packets. A delicious succulent slice of ham is surrounded by improbable arrays of succulent lettuce and hard-to-realise mustard blobs. In 5 pt arial, grey on dark grey, it will say "serving suggestion" in order to make clear that there is no relation to the grey-pink slice of processed meat and the hyper-realist fantasy on plastic wrapper.

Above is a photo of a new community library in Bettystown, Co. Meath, Ireland. It´s the work of Robin Lee Architects of the UK. Here´s the "serving suggestion" of the project accompanying the indecipherable architectural jargon from the Architects´Journal:

This is as close to the view as I could get on location. You´ll notice the difference in the colours. It´s even more apparent in reality. The new building is, of course, much taller than thos are around it. And it also has the unappetising effect of making the ordinary, existing structures look an awful lot worse than they they are, something in the manner of putting a new Arne Jacobsen Egg into an ordinary living room.

Here is the view from the seaward side. As with photos of models, an attempt is made to show the height as being similar to the (distant) hotel. On location that relation is not apparent until one is about 600 metres out from the street.

The two points to make here are that the renderings show the buildings in colours quite unlike reality and from views that either aren´t relevant or impossible to attain. The building itself is unremarkable featureless modern design but it is alient to its surroundings and serves only to make a blandly mediocre street look disturbingly tatty and run-down.

This final image is the height the building ought to have reached to respond to its surroundings. It´s a "scribble", hence the unfinished look.

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