Steven Holl Architects Wins University College Dublin's Future Campus Competition

Steven Holl Architects Wins University College Dublin's Future Campus Competition

Steven Holl Architects (SHA) has been named the winner of the Future Campus - University College Dublin International Design Competition. The international jury was hugely impressed by SHA's design proposal for a Centre for Creative Design and Entrance Precinct Masterplan vision for a circa 24 ha area of the overall campus.

"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," commented 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 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. A new pedestrian spine, parallel to the campus' original spine, creates an H-plan organisation, lined with weather canopies that double as solar connectors, forming the infrastructure of an energy network. Cafés and social spaces are 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 features abundant 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.

The Centre is intended to encourage creative collaboration and interaction with a 'circuit of social connection' that allows students, faculty and visitors to peer into maker and classroom spaces through glass walls but also respects deep creativity by providing spaces for concentration and silence.

"We are very honored to win. It's a very important and inspiring project for Steven Holl Architects and we look forward to working with UCD," said Steven Holl, Founder, Steven Holl Architects. "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'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.