A new gateway situation is to be created for the UCD Belfield Campus. The project is seen as an opportunity to establish an internationally recognisable signature image for UCD which will enhance the academic environment and provide future generations with a sustainable, healthy and stimulating campus.
The ‘Gateway’ is envisaged not as a single building but as a sequence of spaces which lead from the main point of entry at Stillorgan Gate through to the heart of the University. Similar to the case of Harvard University, a campus characterised by a system of interconnected yards and squares, the quality of these public open spaces will define the new UCD rather than individual, stand-alone buildings. The benefits of the ‘Gateway‘ are diverse; it will serve as the primary element in a network of new cross campus pedestrian routes; the most densely populated zone of the campus, infused with life - social cultural, academic, administrative, commercial and retail – crucial in ensuring that student life remains on campus long beyond formal classes and that the university evolves into an essential part of the city rather than remaining detached.
The expressive formal language is based on a set of clear design objectives that allow for the new architectural elements to be fully integrated within the diverse existing situation. The size, sequencing and location of; new central squares, areas of activity / tranquility are derived from the careful mapping of existing campus amenities. Three new buildings provide a focus for these activities, responding to a distinct social agenda. Through their decidedly different form and orientation these buildings provide new accents in the academic environment; commencing with a low-lying, pavilion- like building at the campus entrance and rising to a single tower at its heart.
University College Dublin
Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart