College is currently seeking architects to work on a planned Berkeley Library visitor centre. The recent tender is part of the so-called Trinity Visitor Experience Project, and states that applications are being sought by January 25, with the team awarded the contract expected to begin work next year. The project is planned to be completed by 2020. Up to five operators will be invited to participate in the project, with economic advantageousness as the award criteria.
The purpose of the project is to “create an inspirational, imaginative, enlarged exhibition, along with a greatly improved visitor experience”. When completed, a visitor’s centre, shop and exhibition space will be housed inside the brutalist Berkeley Library.
The Trinity Visitor Experience Project is one of the proposals found within the Strategic Plan 2015-2019. Its stated purpose is to help College achieve the goal of engaging more successfully with wider society. Among the proposals stated to reach this goal are the intent of extending the library shop, creating the Berkeley Exhibition Hall for student exhibitions and creating a visitor reception area.
In recent years College has seen a major increase in the number of tourists visiting the Old Library in particular, attracted by the Book of Kells exhibitions and the exhibits in the Long Room. During the tourist season the queue for entry can sometimes stretch around Fellows Square. In constructing a reception area for tourists College clearly hopes to increase desirability for potential visitors.
Meanwhile, the application process for work with the College’s CONNECT Centre has recently closed. CONNECT is Ireland’s research centre for future networks and communications, housed in and led by Trinity and funded by Science Foundation Ireland.
The mission of the CONNECT Centre is to research, develop and innovate new communications solutions to address challenges facing society. College cited “the growing activity level and expansion of the CONNECT Centre, and greater involvement with Industry” as reasons for seeking the services.
“The service suppliers will work closely with the CONNECT executive and researchers to evolve their Research programmes through the development, design, build and roll out of a scaled and integrated communications Research Infrastructure”, the application states, with construction expected to finish before the end of this year.