‘All Form, No Function’


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If Ellen Rowley thinks Busáras is “a masterpiece of modern architecture” (“Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks: 1948 – Busáras by Michael Scotts”) she has obviously never tried to catch a bus there. I am tired of this building being held up as one of the greatest exponents of modern architecture in Ireland in a “king has no clothes” manner. Was it just a minor oversight by the designer that the actual place the bus is going to is always indicated at the front, rather than the back. All form, no function.
Liam Ryan Architect,
Ballina/Killaloe, Co Tipperary.


Is Busáras really a masterpiece? (Irish Times letters)

Pic: Andy Sheridan

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60 thoughts on “‘All Form, No Function’

    1. SiJu Cat

      Its such a kip. To think some people arrive in Ireland and see those rotten toilets as their introduction. Every time I go there it just reminds me of how far we haven’t come .

  1. Joe the Lion

    ride on

    it’s always dirty and dilapidated

    but that’s hardly the architects’ fault

  2. Gavin

    Never liked it myself but I see why people swoon over it. As for “Was it just a minor oversight by the designer that the actual place the bus is going to is always indicated at the front, rather than the back” what the hell is he on about.

      1. Vote Rep #1

        If that is what he is on about, then the designer of a 67 year old building really is at fault for modern bus designs.

  3. Digs

    “Liam Ryan Architect.
    Ballina/ Killaloe, Co. Tipperary. ”

    Says it all right there. Halfwit.

    1. DD

      Big fancy architect head on him and he still has to run for the last bus to Killaloe at quarter to six in the evening.

    2. brownbull

      his name does not appear to be on the register of architects – it he is not on the register he is committing an offence in calling himself an architect under the Building Control Act

  4. rotide

    Has it really been hailed as a masterpiece?
    It’s an interesting looking building but it’s hardly the Taj Mahal now, come on.

  5. Kolmo

    Whats the difference between a Lobster with breast implants and a litter strewn bus depot?

    One is a busty crustacean and the other is a crusty bus station…

  6. Spaghetti Hoop

    I believe ‘Liam Ryan Architect’ has issue with the buses and not the building. It’s a fine building of its period and the arty bits are cool. Actually it was and is lauded by architects internationally.
    True point that it is not functioning well as a bus depot in 2015 and has simply outgrown its space. Perhaps a second one is needed on the south side to split the routes.

  7. Matt

    Busáras is a complete kip from the inside, sure. But the building itself is pretty cool, take a look at it from the IFSC to get a good view of it, it’s way ahead of its time.

  8. Conor

    “that the actual place the bus is going to is always indicated at the front, rather than the back.”

    Can anyone explain this to me?? It’s a perfectly functioning bus station. However it is way over capacity and why the f*** the Bus Eireann/government can’t take over the pile of An Post land beside Connolly and build a 21st century station that can cater for BÉ, Aircoach, Kavanaghs is madness. Would take them all off Westmoreland Street and the quays.

  9. Tibor

    Kind of disingenuous of him not to state that ‘Architect’ is actually just the last part of his double-barrel surname.

    Also, is he arguing that it can’t be well regarded for its architecture because of what’s written on the front on the bus?
    Is that like arguing that the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is a terrible piece of architecture because an ugly person was once inside it?

    Guy’s a nut.

  10. DD

    Move the destinations to the back of the bus, then you can see where you could have been going after you miss it.

  11. garthicus

    Huh, I’ve never really stopped and looked at it, I’ll have to do so the next time I’m walking by.

  12. Badger4hire

    But.. in that picture, the fronts of all the buses are facing inward, so you would see the destinations from inside

    1. Sam

      Exactly, you’re not allowed to walk into the bus yard through the large gates. You have to go through the small door which has the sign saying which bus it is.
      It’s not the cleanest or most comfortable place, but most people can figure out which bus to get on.

    2. pedeyw

      There’s a lit up sign over each exit to tell you where to q to get on the right bus. There are also employees around that you can ask. I have never managed to miss a bus from busaras due to lack of information. (I have misssed one or two by being late, though.)

  13. Neil

    Bus Aras, Central Bank, Liberty Hall, UCD. All examples of horribly brutal modernist architecture in Dublin which should all be torn down. Truly depressing things to see and places to be in.

    1. Fardays

      Are they brutalist? I would have said modernist. For a truly brutalist building, the Berkeley Library in Trinity is a great example of just how good the style can be, but only if there is enough money to fund it.

      1. DD

        Will never forget the day I was in Liberty Hall and the lifts were out of order, it was brutal alright.

  14. Serv

    Think he means the buses have to park with the rear facing the customer boarding gates.

    However, that is due to the size of modern busses, not the design of the building. Originally the busses parked facing the customers.

  15. pissedasanewt

    Its a dilapidated kip and because some artsy lot think its a masterpiece it will stay there for ever more. If they ever get around to ripping it down (that and liberty hall) I wonder who will show up to protest in its favour. Not anybody who has even used the place anyway.

  16. PPads

    A horrible building so surprise that it is arseways but just step across the road and witness the modern equivalent. The Luas meccano canvass mess defacing the front of Connelly station.

  17. Niallo

    +1, stupid looking “ridge cut crisp” roof makes me want to destroy, destroy I tells ya !

  18. Anne, Anne, Anne Anne. ne: Anne

    They used to have a theatre in there.
    I remember seeing this thing where the blondy bloke out of ‘On The Buses’ left us in no doubt as to how small his willy is/was.

    I’m sorry.
    It’s just one of those memories that wont go away.

  19. Kieran NYC

    CIE should be strung up for never keeping it clean/in good repair.

    Blue anti-junkie lights in the bathrooms are an extra classy touch.

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