Steven Holl Architects wins University College Dublin’s Future Campus Competition

University College Dublin announced today that the team led by acclaimed New York and Beijing-based studio Steven Holl Architects (SHA) has won the Future Campus – University College Dublin International Design Competition. Holl’s studio was supported by Dublin-based Kavanagh Tuite Architects, US analysts Brightspot Strategy, structural engineers Arup, landscape architects and urban designers Harrison Stevens and climate engineers Transsolar.

The international jury – which included Sir David Adjaye, Ann Beha, Joe Berridge, Dermot Desmond, Sean Mulryan, and Dr Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor, Royal College of Art, London amongst other distinguished figures − 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.

According to the University release: “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.”

Professor Hugh Campbell, Professor of Architecture at University College Dublin and member of the competition jury, said: “The competition was all about design excellence and we had an intimation at the shortlisting stage with the quality of studios applying that we would need to respond to a world of choices. We thank all the finalists for their commitment and work. Holl’s winning proposal combines the striking form of the Centre for Creative Design building with a clear and robust masterplan.

“The Centre for Creative Design will allow UCD to harness and develop the creativity of its students in responding to the challenges and opportunities facing society. Holl’s emphasis on daylight and social connection promises a building which will enable and encourage collaboration and interaction, a building which is open and welcoming, a building in which cutting-edge technologies and core creative practices can fruitfully combine.”

The four other finalists comprised, Diller Scofidio + Renfro (US), O’Donnell + Tuomey (Ireland), Studio Libeskind (US) and UNStudio (Netherlands). The original shortlist was expanded from the expected five to six in recognition of the outstanding response from the international design community.