“They Each Have A Function, There Are No Empty Boxes”


College Green, Dublin 2

Groups of metal cabinets, described by some as appearing like a “mini-Stonehenge” or a “collection of milk cartons” have been springing up across Dublin city along the route of the new Luas Cross City line.

Particular concern has been raised over the collection of cabinets at College Green where Dublin City Council plans to build a €10 million “world class” pedestrian and cycle plaza.

A spokeswoman for the Luas Cross City project said all of the cabinets were necessary and could not be relocated or housed underground: “They are all required, they each have a function, there are no empty boxes.”

Anger over ‘appalling’ cabinets named Dublin’s ‘mini-Stonehenge’ (irish Times)

Pic via Rothar


Ah here.

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108 thoughts on ““They Each Have A Function, There Are No Empty Boxes”

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      Indeed, just make them multi-functional.
      Illustrated maps, a digital clock, pics of Irish writers, artists, musicians, quotes in great lettering, selfie stations…

  1. countchuckula

    The boxes might all have a function but the counsellors who plan the city don’t. An eyesore, an obstruction and a prime example of the ‘sure it’ll be grand’ mentality. What else could you expect in Dublin?

    1. Termagant

      I have a mate who works in landscape architecture for the city. According to him none of the urban planning lads give a poopoo about anything but buslanes and the odd bit of greenery and none of the council figures they deal with give a poopsy that nobody gives a plopp-a-loo. There’s basically nobody at the wheel when it comes to these little “fundamental infrastructure” things.

  2. Vote Rep #1

    Are they not the same things that are at every traffic light in the city?

    Just get some young people to paint something nice on them.

  3. Thepaps

    They’re access to the electrical system, where else do you propose they are built? The whole thing should have been put underground.

    1. eric cartman

      1) Boxes cannot be put underground as the equipment needs to be vented, kept unsubmerged in water and accessed regularly

      2) The boxes cannot be put together / combined due to both interference and training. A box containing a fibre router and low voltage telecoms cannot be housed in the same box as high voltage DC electrics for the luas , the training required to service one of these functions would not cross over with the training required for the other. A tradesman may be severely injured or killed were they to misplace their hand.

      3) Some of the boxes may be owned or operated by different vendors who don’t want to have to do a load of legal documentation for right of way access to other vendors boxes.

      The only ‘combined’ way around this would be to build a small vandal proof structure (garden shed size) and put all the cabinets in it. But people would complain about that more.

  4. ahjayzis

    I mean you could group them a little tighter and corral them with some nice timber posts with plants but this is Dublin, it’ll fupping do.

    1. Happy Molloy

      that’s what happens when you put the shinners and AAA in charge of a city council, ha?

      1. realPolithicks

        “I’m actually quite empathetic and emotional”

        That didn’t last very long did it.

        1. Harry Molloy

          wow, you following me around boy :-)

          neither emotion are incompatible with the comment I made

          and for the record, my comment was designed to wind people up but it had a disappointing yield to be fair

          1. realPolithicks

            Following you around? Get over yourself there lad. You post numerous comments on Broadsheet everyday presumably looking for a response, I occasionaly respond. I believe thats how things are supposed to work on here.

          2. Harry Molloy

            meant with regards to the emotional empathetic thing. I’m just yanking your chain. sorry if I got to you.

  5. edalicious

    I almost guarantee you’d be able to fit all the innards from all of the individual boxes into one box only slightly bigger than the biggest box that’s already there.

      1. edalicious

        Ignoring the fact that those boxes generally have a good bit of wasted space inside them, if you just made a box with the same internal volume as all the other ones it would be twice as deep and maybe 6 inches or so longer than the biggest one. Even that would have MUCH less impact on the amount of street space taken up. If you were smart about it, eliminated the wasted space inside each box, maybe lose anything duplicated between boxes, you could easily get that size down even further again to something only slightly bigger than the biggest box.

        1. VinLieger

          Are you also ignoring the fact that each box probably contains completely different equipment and is owned and maintained by different people?

          The reason the boxes start off not 100% full is so they can add new stuff to them as the infrasteuctuew grows, its called planning ahead, if they did as yousuggested and in 3 years time had to rip it up and make it bigger causing hassle and disruption you would likely be the first complaining why they didnt make the box bigger with room to expand or why they put it all in the one box

          1. edalicious

            Like I said, even just taking the existing volume of box that’s there and consolidating it into one box would have much less impact on the street. Even if we had the situation where you make the smallest possible box now and you have to make a bigger box or add another box in 3 years time, it’s STILL a more elegant solution to what is there currently. Even just making one huge big box that would fit over the top of the five completely different and mismatched boxes that are there now would be preferable, as long as you made it look nice.

            Also, It doesn’t matter that different equipment and different people are in the different boxes; you can have multiple doors on the same box so that only the appropriate equipment is accessible by the appropriate people.

            It’s one of the busiest places in relatively wealthy, modern city, passed by thousands of tourists every day. They should absolutely be making an effort to make street furniture look nice, not just accept it however it looks because it serves the particular function required of it.

          2. Lord Snowflakee

            Who says it doesn’t look nice? Have you surveyed passers by or thousands of tourists?

        2. Harry the Horse

          The boxes each contain different services. Low voltage control systems, signalling systems, CCTV, medium voltage utility power and high voltage traction power systems. These systems cannot be contained within the same cabinets and must have certain minimum mechanical & electrical separation distances, otherwise they interfere with each other. Thus the spacing of the cabinets.
          However, it would have been easy enough to put some form of architectural feature around them to disguise them. They’re usually mounted against a wall, where they’re less of an intrusion

          1. Vote Rep #1

            So put them in a bigger box and put a statue of Bertie hugging Brian on top of it. Naked. Sorted.

  6. theo kretschmar schuldorff

    When Herbert Simms was the Corpo architect he had the attention to detail to apply a masterplan with coherent infrastructural layout, even down to these service cabinets. Look at his ESB solution here in this link – and the yoke plonked next to it. The College Green jumble of cabinets & posts is shocking. Is it lack of coherent oversight / oversight proper / or simple disregard for the public realm?


    1. Robert

      It’s to do with systems integration. Multiple systems provided by multiple vendors. each with their own projects and timelines. Integration at this level is “hard” and requires special attention. If you don’t have somebody who has this kind of thing as their responsibility then it doesn’t get done.

    2. Termagant

      I have a mate who works in landscape architecture for the city. According to him none of the urban planning lads give a poo about anything but buslanes and the odd bit of greenery and none of the council figures they deal with give a poo that nobody gives a poo. There’s basically nobody at the wheel when it comes to these little “fundamental infrastructure” things.

  7. Murtles

    They’ll be very functional at night for :
    * Sitting on
    * Falling off
    * Puking behind
    * Leapfrogging / Arm breaking
    * Graffiting
    * General litter gathering

  8. Tabloid Rag

    The usual level of commentary on this thread I see

    Seriously folks have yous nothing better than this to whinge about?

    1. Boj

      They are whinging about the subject of this story…
      You are whinging about the quality of their comment…
      I’m whinging that you are whinging about the commenters whinging…

      1. Lord Snowflakee

        Isn’t it spelled ‘whingeing’?

        I’m going to whinge about that if that’s the case

        1. Boj

          It did cross my mind, but then I remembered some rule about putting a vowel before ‘ing’. Prob wrong, but ya get the gist. I actually don’t believe people are whing(e)ing, I think they are actually whin(e)ing…

          1. Boj

            Well I knew I could be wrong, so thanks for confirming, feels good.
            But where does that leave whine/whining? It’s not spelled ‘whineing’, they drop the ‘e’. Why Lord, why do they not drop the ‘e’ on bingeing? Oh that’s because the word would then be binging…hmmm. So they only drop the ‘e’ on words that do not look like other words when the ‘e’ is dropped…make sense? So there are some sort of rules. Now, who is this ‘they’ I speak of?

    2. andydufresne2010

      Agree. First world problems. There are two types of people who moan about these things: retired folk with nothing else to do and business owners, with nothing else to do. They’re above ground so they’re easy to get at for maintenance and repairs. If cars or cyclists crash into them then they’re probably going too fast or not paying attention. You can just picture the letters of complaint – “to my horror . . .” from people who have never experience horror in their lives.

        1. Lord Snowflakee

          What’s poor about it? As Andy noted they are clearly visible as potential hazards and easily accessible for repairs.

          1. Tabloid Rag

            You’ve presented the sum total of zero pieces of evidence to support that highly subjective account of what transpired here

        2. andydufresne2010

          I agree. It’s important. But not the end of the world. It’s not ‘stonehenge’ in the same way the flood wall in Clontarf wasn’t ‘the Berlin wall.’ I hear this kind of stuff all the time. Some rubble left over from roadworks ‘makes the place look like downtown Beirut on a bad day.” Eventually the language just become meaningless. I see people’s point on it not looking great but it’s not an abomination.

          1. Nigel

            People using the wrong sort of language to describe urban planning and design failures is the real first world problem anfydufresne2010.

      1. Lord Snowflakee

        There’s a new third type now as well. Broadsheet commenters. Mostly under or unemployable most of them sat in meaningless office type jobs all day working for crap money or interning and dreaming of where the money for the next pushbike or trendy overpriced gin cocktail is coming from.

        1. Boj

          Eh, are you the starey-eye-ball-dude who sits across the office? How’d you know I was cycling into town on my new bike for cocktails this evening? I’m growing a beard also…

  9. Skeptik

    That’d be a great photoshop – superimpose them in front of vistas like the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, Washington Monument,etc.

    Of course they could be put underground. Council builds an underground services room, assigns cubicles to service providers. That’s how other civilised societies do it.

  10. Nigel

    That’s just an incredibly sinister headline, though.
    There are no empty boxes.
    They each have a function.
    Welcome to Night Vale.

  11. The Dude

    Those yokes are an abomination.

    Doesn’t the UN have some sort of heritage-at-risk list? surely its high time Dublin’s city centre be put on it?

  12. Milo

    There is literally nothing that the angry, shrill, self aggrandising, judgemental, accusatory, negative, bitter chorus of BS commentators aren’t expert on.

  13. Happy Molloy

    They’re definitely ugly and definitely functional and most probably an oversight.

    But what good is highlighting problems without highlighting solutions.

    This should be stun into a positive and seen as an opportunity for municipal art and that all such ugliness should be seen as such an opportunity in the future.

    1. Harry the Horse

      They are most definitely not an oversight. These types of cabinets are an integral part of a light rail system and are found all along the track.



      1. Harry Molloy

        right you are but I meant oversight as in where to put them or how to streamline them on this delightful new space

  14. martco

    dant knaaw wot uze r all whingin abaat

    vats a priam dev opportunitay der dat is!!

    bish bosh dab plaaser ere dab plaaser dare, compakt bafrooom sweet der, stik a conservaTORY aaht back of em…

    u got urself a 4 bed faaamley hase, laavley, middle o tahn, just wof em brexit movers need, mil notes apeace, nice waan loadsamanney!!

    1. Anomanomanom

      Wtf are you on about. Seriously is it a country accent, dublin accent, English accent you were trying to do.

        1. Harry Molloy

          it does not look the same. my tie and braces combos have always been the subject of much admiration for their unique nature

          1. scottser

            nothing screams hipster like braces and ties. you are simply a fashion afterthought, happy. might as well get back to a nice fred perry and some farah slacks mate.

          2. Harry Molloy

            farah slacks, lol! sure you can get them in TK Maxx.

            The items I wear most people wouldn’t have heard of. but it’s how I put them together that people really admire.

  15. Papi

    Architecture school exams! Make these abominations look acceptable and functional. In Germany, they do this with kids playgrounds and whoever wins, it gets built. Mad things they are.

  16. Just Sayin

    Build a fake vintage double decker tram there. Downstairs has no floor or furniture and contains the ‘henge’ of cabinets. Paint pictures of classic Dublin characters on the windows, so it looks like James Joyce, Ronnie Drew Phil Lynott, Brendan Behan, Countess Markievicz etc… are all travelling on the tram. Upstairs would be a hipster coffee shop.

Comments are closed.

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