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The Giant's Causeway And Stream Of Consciousness Architecture Come To Dublin With New UCD Building

The €48M UCD Centre for Creative Design will be a new gateway to the campus.

A team led by New York-based Steven Holl Architects has won the UCD Future Campus design competition for its masterplan proposal for a 60-acre entrance precinct organised around seven green quadrangles and a €48M landmark building inspired in part by the Giant’s Causeway.

The proposed 86K SF UCD Centre for Creative Design will be located at the main N11 entrance to the Belfield campus, surrounded by a plaza and reflecting pool. Within the building, natural light will be captured by two vertical structures angled at 23 degrees. The design of the auditorium echoes the shape of UCD’s dodecahedral 1972 water tower, while the building’s own towers respond to the older structure’s pentagonal pillar.

Included in the precinct masterplan is a new pedestrian spine, located parallel to the campus’ original walking route, which creates a H-plan circulation of walkways lined with weather canopies that double as solar connectors. The seven new quadrangles of open green space have been designed to connect with historic features on the campus, including houses, gardens, specimen trees and woods.

The centre was inspired by Giant's Causeway, James Joyce and the university's 1970s water tower.

“Holl’s vision is intriguing and striking — combining an iconic design for the Centre for Creative Design with a masterplan distinguished by a few considered, highly intelligent moves that open up the centre of the campus and use creative landscaping to intensify its natural beauty,” UCD's president, professor Andrew Deeks, said. “The Centre for Creative Design promises to be an exhilarating presence, announcing UCD from afar, creating a new Dublin landmark, and giving visitors, students and faculty a definite sense of arrival.”
“Our masterplan and the new UCD Centre for Creative Design are not just iconic objects — they reflect on the history and quality of UCD’s campus, responding to the particulars of the site to create place and space,” Steven Holl said.

Holl said the design had been particularly inspired by the Giant’s Causeway and the work of James Joyce. He said he had taken some of the principles of stream of consciousness thinking and the geometry of Giant’s Causeway in a teleological suspension to make the composition of the building and to organise it around a space.

In coming up with the winning design, SHA was supported by Dublin-based Kavanagh Tuite Architects, analysts Brightspot Strategy, structural engineers Arup, landscape architects and urban designers HarrisonStevens and climate engineers Transsolar.

The team was one of 98 from 28 countries that entered the first stage of the competition. Five other teams were shortlisted earlier this year: Diller Scofidio + Renfro (U.S.), O’Donnell + Tuomey (Ireland), Studio Libeskind (U.S.), John Ronan Architects and UNStudio (Netherlands).