YELLOW STEEL GEOMETRIC REFLECTIONS BY MICHAEL BULFIN
There are two prominent sculptures on the site – the yellow steel geometric Reflections (1978) by Michael Bulfin and Red Cardinal (1978) by John Burke.
Michael Bulfin studied environmental science at University College Dublin before attending Yale University. He represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale in 1971. Bulfin served as chairman of the Project Arts Centre from 1972 to 1976, and the Sculptors’ Society of Ireland from 1984 to 1992. Bulfin has won many public sculpture competitions and contributed to several environmental and land art projects, including West Cork Sculpture Trail; Kraakamarken ‘Art in Nature’, Aarhus, Denmark; Castlewellan Forest Park, Northern Ireland and Sculpture in the Parklands, Offaly.
Until not long ago I was unaware that the complex where this yellow metal sculpture is located is named “Miesian Plaza”. Miesian – relating to or characteristic of the German-born architect and designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe or his work.
I lived in the Baggot Street area in 1979 after returning from California and knew the buildings at this location as the Baggot Street Branch of Bank Of Ireland and as far as I can remember it is where I had my bank account.
And now some history – At 5 a.m. on Sunday morning 1 April 1973 the bank cleared the site demolishing a number of important Georgian houses and according to one national publication a bank spokesperson claimed that “it was the safest time to knock the houses, as there would be less traffic around”. Back then demolishing worthwhile buildings was a national sport.
The complex was originally designed by Ronnie Tallon of Scott Tallon Walker Architects as high-end corporate headquarters and was constructed in two phases during the 1960s and 1970s. The largest of the three blocks was extended by one full bay (80M long by 6.5M deep) along the length of the building to the North East. The building facade on this elevation was carefully removed, refurbished and reinstated in its new location.
Miesian Plaza comprises a set of five and four storey buildings that acknowledge the scale of Georgian Baggot Street. Set back from this is an eight-storey building, raised on a podium, and entered from a new public plaza. The buildings are designed in a recognisable modern style, utilising solid bronze cladding which clearly echoes Mies Van Der Rohe’s Seagram building in New York.