Steven Holl's Giant's Causeway-inspired design chosen as winner of Dublin's Future Campus competition

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
– Steven Holl

Steven Holl Architects (SHA) has been declared winner of the Future Campus – University College Dublin International Design Competition.

In a statement, the international jury judging the competition said it was "hugely impressed" by SHA’s design proposal for a Centre for Creative Design and the accompanying masterplan for an Entrance Precinct – which in total will cover a 24ha area of the campus.

The design competition's four other finalists were Diller Scofidio + Renfro (US), O’Donnell + Tuomey (Ireland), Studio Libeskind (US) and UNStudio (Netherlands).

The jury included architects Sir David Adjaye and Ann Beha and urban planner Joe Berridge.

"Holl’s placemaking strategy focuses on creating an exhilarating Centre for Creative Design as a gateway presence which cues to seven new quadrangles of open green space, designed to enhance the campus’ historic features and woodlands", the jury's statement read.

Holl's designs include a new pedestrian spine, parallel to the campus’ original spine, which creates an H-plan organisation, lined with weather canopies that double as solar connectors, forming the infrastructure of an energy network.

The designs also include cafés and social spaces, located along paths for informal gathering; landscape spaces are animated by water-retention ponds, rain- and wind-protected seating areas and preserved specimen trees.

The Centre, set by a plaza and a reflecting pool, displays prismatic forms inspired by the geology of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway. It also features innovative use of natural light, which is captured by two vertical structures angled at 23 degrees, mirroring the earth’s tilt.

The auditorium echoes the shape of UCD’s iconic dodecahedral 1972 water tower; the Centre’s towers respond to the water tower’s pentagonal pillar.

“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," Holl said.

Holl’s studio was supported by Dublin-based Kavanagh Tuite Architects, US analysts Brightspot Strategy, structural engineers Arup, landscape architects and urban designers HarrisonStevens and climate engineers Transsolar.

“SHA'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," said professor Andrew J. Deeks, president of University College Dublin and competition Jury chair.

“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.

“We are fortunate to have an expansive campus which brims with potential. We searched globally for the best talent and were rewarded. Now we can create the world-class environment UCD deserves.”

Holl's previous works include The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri; and the Lewis Arts Complex, Princeton University.

Steven Holl Architects  SHA  University College Dublin  Future Campus  Diller Scofidio + Renfro  O’Donnell + Tuomey  Studio Libeskind  UNStudio  
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