|The art gallery that isn't|
That might have been part of the argument that Manahan Planners made to the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council when Ms. Donnelly first commenced to build an art gallery on the Vico Road.
Just down the street from Bono? So as you would guess, it's a posh and exclusive neighborhood where the neighbors were none too keen on the presence of an art gallery in their midst.
But the council granted planning permission and so the building, designed by noted architect Claudio Silvestrin, was constructed on the edge of the land. Sweeping views of the Irish Sea, trees: a work of art in and of itself.
The museum was open to the public for only 60 days out of a possible 365, so for the public to so much as get in was a rare ticket indeed. Such a policy surely eased the minds of the locals who feared being overwhelmed with traffic and the unwashed masses on a daily basis.
Those who did get in noted that there wasn't much art about, which led them to question how much of an art museum the museum was. Plebeians. Didn't realize that the building was the biggest work of art in...err, not in, exactly. But the building was art, so who needed a load of bric-a-brac to clutter it up?
The Donnelly plan to use the space as a museum hasn't worked out as planned. After a dozen years of trying, they sought some other art gallery to take over the space, but there are certain issues that public buildings require, like enough toilets and handicapped access. Sadly, Mr. Silvestrin may not have been thinking "public space" when he designed the thing.
So can we make it a private home ask Joe and Marie Donnelly.
Sure it looks like Mr. Selvestrin designed a private residence in the first place, but was that always the intention? Is it possible that Mr. and Mrs. Donnelly were availing themselves of certain tax breaks that have run their course, and now they'd like to live on the Vico Road with Bono?
The county council is left to ponder this question. What else can be done with an art gallery that wasn't designed as an art gallery in the first place?