UCD announces new Giant’s Causeway inspired building

The new creative design centre is to be a “landmark” for UCD

University College Dublin (UCD) have announced the winning Giant’s Causeway inspired design for their new creative design centre.

The €48 million building is set to occupy 8,000 sq m of land where a new entrance will be created beside the N11/ Stillorgan dual carriageway.  The design aims to fix the issue of UCD’s arrival experience, which has been described in the past as “underwhelming”.

The building was designed by Steven Holl Architects (SHA), which is a 40-person architecture and urban design office working from offices in New York City and Beijing. They are internationally recognised for their experience in campus and educational facilities design.

The designs were inspired by the Giant’s Causeway located along the sea coast on the Antrim plateau in Northern Ireland. It is to feature prismatic forms and two vertical structures angled above the main building, mirroring the look of the Giant’s Causeway’s over 40,000 hexagonal columns. The new creative design centre also follows the design of UCD’s water tower built in 1979, which is comprised of a pentagonal base topped with a solid dodecahedron planar.

The new building designs also include plans to create new pedestrian spine to parallel the original spine on the campus and weather canopies which also function as solar connectors to work as an energy network. Water-retention ponds, rain and wind protected areas and preserved specimen trees are also expected in the new design, alongside cafés and social spaces.

Speaking of the design plans, UCD’s President Professor Andrew J. Deeks called the new building “intriguing and striking” and explained that the Centre for Creative Design is an ideal addition to the campus to function as a landmark.

Founder of SHA, Steven Holl, stated that he and the SHA team were honoured to have been chosen by the competition jury panel and that they look forward to working on the inspiring project.

“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 outlined.

While the project has been an ambition for UCD for many years, initial plans were abandoned several years ago during the property crash. A spokesperson for the project announced that it is hoped the building will now be completed by 2021.

A competition held to select the architects for the project saw entries from nearly 100 teams in 28 countries. Finalists included Dublin-based O’Donnell + Tuomey, the Dutch architecture office UNStudio, and two New York design studios: Studio Libeskind and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Steven Holl Architects are an award-winning architecture firm who have also designed the Lewis Arts Complex in Princeton University, the Simmons Hall in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the College of Architecture in Cornell University.

Shauna Bannon Ward

Shauna Barron Ward is a staff writer at Trinity News. She is a Junior Sophister Law student.