David Adjaye among judges for €48m creative centre and masterplanning drive

University College Dublin's O'Reilly Hall

Source: University College Dublin

University College Dublin’s O’Reilly Hall

University College Dublin has kicked of a major international competition seeking architects to deliver a multimillion-pound Centre for Creative Design and an urban-design vision for an entrance precinct for the institution’s core campus.

The university, which counts James Joyce and a succession of architects and designers among its alumni, wants to shortlist five international teams for the for the twin-aspect project. At the project’s second stage they would be required to team up with local practices.

With a projected budget of €48m (£42m), the Creative Design Centre would be a new facility of around 8,000 sq m that UCD said it envisaged as “using innovative materials and new technologies to express its purpose as the university’s home of design studios and laboratories, and maker, project and fabrication spaces”.

The urban-design element of the project involves creating an “entrance precinct masterplan” for around one fifth of its campus, which covers 133ha when parks and wooded areas are included. The campus’ mid-20th century core was designed by Polish architect Andrzej Wejchert.

University College Dublin's Belfield Core Campus

Source: Barrow Coakley Photography

Aerial view of University College Dublin’s Belfield Core Campus

UCD said it anticipated that there was potential for up to 335,000 sq m of new development, delivered across a 67,000 sq m footprint.

University president Andrew J Deeks said that while the institution benefitted from a wonderful natural setting and had a serious architectural pedigree, the campus felt “largely hidden and recessive” for the first-time visitor.

“The essential design challenge embodied in the masterplan vision and the Centre for Creative Design is to give the university greater presence, greater visibility so that it resonates, becomes better integrated and is a distinctive entity within the city of Dublin,” he said.

“When people come here we want them to immediately engage with, and strongly relate to, the university. We want our physical environment to inspire and energise students and faculty tutors; local innovators and communities.”

Belfield Core Campus and the surrounding area

Source: Barrow Coakley Photography

University College Dublin’s Belfield Core Campus and the surrounding area

Competition director Malcolm Reading, of Malcolm Reading Consultants, said the university was seeking a team that understood how to translate thought-leadership into physical cues that would make the UCD student and faculty experience deeply felt, memorable and visually satisfying.

“The international nature of the competition reflects UCD’s outlook as Ireland’s global university,” he said.

“However, collaboration with local architects is also important – international teams will be required to team up with local firms at the second stage.”

The judging panel for the Future Campus competition will include David Adjaye and Ann Beha, principal of Ann Beha Architects and member of Harvard University Design Advisory Panel.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 2pm on March 26. More details are available from the competition website.

University College Dublin's Research Building

Source: University College Dublin

University College Dublin’s Research Building