Trinity College has been granted permission by Dublin City Council to build a new four storey Humanities Research building between the Arts Building and the 1937 Reading Room.
Trinity College has been granted permission by Dublin City Council to build a new four storey Humanities Research building between the Arts Building and the 1937 Reading Room. The proposed building, named the Long Room Hub, overlooking Fellow’s Square, and will also include an underground corridor linking it to both the Edmund Burke theatre and the 1937 Reading Room.
The four storey building will stand at 16.25m in height while the entrance level of the new building will be 2.1m above the ground level of Fellow’s Square and will be accessible by both an open staircase and a lift from Fellow’s Square. The underground corridor will be accessed through a new staircase at the west end of the Humanities Research building. ‘Minor alterations’ are to be made to both the Edmund Burke theatre and the 1937 Reading Room in order to facilitate the new structure. These will include the removal of the plantroom and parapet wall, which project above the theatre. The development also comprises ancillary works including the development of a new garden on the roof of the Edmund Burke Theatre.
€5.8 million has been allocated by the Higher Education Authority to fund the project. After some initial concerns raised by the Site and Facilities committee at their meeting last July regarding who would be responsible for any recurrent costs, the Director of Buildings confirmed that these costs would be met by the Schools involved in the Long Room Hub and maintenance costs would be met by the current maintenance budget. The Site and Facilities committee then decided to submit the planning application to Dublin City Council.
The grant application has not been without controversy. An Taisce wrote a letter of objection on 17th September, arguing that the proposal affected the setting of a number of protected structures. It insisted that the Planning Authority, in their decision on the proposal, show regard to the protected status of the structure and the need to protect its special character, the proximity of the new structure to the protected structure and the design of the new development, which an Taisce felt should ‘relate to and complement the special character of the protected structure’. Furthermore, a departmental report by the consultant archaeologist of Dublin City Council noted that the site of the proposed building lay within the ‘Zone of Archaeological Constraint for Recorded Monument’ and, therefore, was protected under the National Monument Act 1994. The report recommended no construction or site preparation work be carried out until all archaeological required by the City Archaeologist are complied with and that an archaeological assessed be carried out before beginning any construction.
The Planning Authority approved the proposal on 7th October with some conditions, the most substantial condition being compliance with the recommendation of the consultant archaeologist. The date for construction to start is as yet unconfirmed.