university college dublin (UCD) has unveiled the proposals from six the firms — DS+R, john ronan architects, o’donnell + tuomey, steven holl architects, studio libeskind, and UNStudio — who are competing to design its future campus. the competition brief asked the teams to to draw up plans for a ‘highly-visible and welcoming entrance precinct’, as well as a concept design for a new 8,000 square meter building — known as the ‘centre for creative design’.


the masterplan intends to create a stronger physical presence and identity for the university within dublin, and raise the profile of UCD nationally and internationally. the first stage of the competition, which sought expressions of interest detailing each competitor’s proposed team and experience, attracted 98 teams from 28 countries. this was then whittled down to the six remaining teams. the competition jury will now assess the final submissions and interview the teams in july, with the winner announced in august 2018. read more about the competing proposals in the words of their designers below.



diller scofidio + renfro (US) with scott tallon walker architects, sasaki associates, gross. max., arup, atelier ten, IN2 engineering design partnership, linesight, michael slattery associates and i3PT

university college dublin campus
DS+R’s ceremonial entry is topped with an undulating canopy
image © diller scofidio + renfro / malcolm reading consultants (also main image)



diller scofidio + renfro’s design for the UCD future campus heightens the campus’ existing pastoral setting to create a dynamic weave between buildings and nature. the campus’ woodland walks are connected to form a public park around the campus. their manicured landscapes are ‘re-wilded’ and drawn deep into the campus in a series of green promontories that alternate with academic plazas. the plazas signify UCD’s shift away from a campus of linear walks towards one of urban squares, each of which is anchored by a heritage structure.

university college dublin campus
the design prioritizes open plan spaces with visual connections
image © diller scofidio + renfro / malcolm reading consultants



located at the base of the central plaza, the ‘centre for creative design’ intertwines workspace facilities for the school of architecture and engineering into a communal spiral of program. a sweeping timber roof covers the lofty spaces, beginning as an expansive protected outdoor commons for the entire university and ending in a dramatic event space overlooking the main entrance with views to the dublin bay beyond.



john ronan architects (US) with RKD architects, CLUAA, BSM landscape, michael boucher landscape architecture, arup, transsolar and pritchard themis

university college dublin campus
john ronan has proposed an imposing series of stacked volumes
image © john ronan architects / malcolm reading consultants



our plan establishes a pedestrian-friendly campus experience punctuated by bold, memorable spaces. a new vehicular entrance enables the existing roadway bridge to be transformed into a tree-lined pedestrian boulevard entrance into campus. an arrival plaza begins a broad circulation spine which is connected to the existing campus circulation spine from the original masterplan. inside campus, iconic green spaces and quads bring spatial clarity to campus organization and improve wayfinding. the ardmore and belfield estate houses are given new prominence and leveraged as orientation devices.

university college dublin campus
large internal spaces allow for a wide range of activities and programming
image © john ronan architects / malcolm reading consultants



a showcase for innovation, the ten-story ‘centre for creative design’ can be viewed from all sides and from great distances. landscaped terraces and enclosed winter gardens extend the woodland walkway vertically and provide building users with a continuous connection with nature. the CCD’s loft-like learning spaces and clean exterior gives it a sophisticated and tech-savvy character. it stands out from neighbouring structures yet possesses a timeless quality that feels ‘at home’ on campus.



o’donnell + tuomey (ireland) with allies and morrison, arup, hargreaves associates, superposition, plattenbau studio, phil jones associates, max fordham, MLM group, dermot foley landscape architects and horganlynch

university college dublin campus
o’donnell + tuomey’s design incorporates roof terraces and gardens
image © o’donnell + tuomey / malcolm reading consultants



the masterplan reimagines UCD as an ecological campus, a campus community engaged with its context and in dialogue with the wider world. our vision is for the urbanisation of belfield as a natural extension of its inherited landscape. a transformative plan connects the campus core to the main entrance: arts block to r138 in a 5-minute walk by an urban sequence of landscaped terraces. the radically restructured stillorgan road bridge becomes a symbol of welcome to UCD. the beautiful walled garden is reinstated. a new density rises out of the established ground.

university college dublin campus
a sculptural spiral staircase connects the scheme internally
image © o’donnell + tuomey / malcolm reading consultants



the centre for creative design is an asymmetrically balanced design, a floating structure of glass and concrete. in the daytime, it is translucent. at night, it is a lantern. the façade is an energy-efficient etched-glass envelope. studio life is on show. roof gardens provide social space. a new civic realm is created at the entrance to the university.



steven holl architects (US) with kavanagh tuite architects, brightspot strategy, arup, harrisonstevens and transsolar

university college dublin campus
steven holl’s proposal benefits from light to bring attention to its angular form
image © steven holl architects / malcolm reading consultants



our design focuses on place and space, reflecting on the history + quality of this place and projecting toward the future with inspiring space for the highest level of education. entrance precinct concepts: seven quadrangles of open, green space; ‘H’-plan circulation of covered walkways, doubles as near-net zero infrastructure; campus porosity and social space through portal pass-throughs and amenity programs; history connected relation to historic houses, gardens, specimen trees and woods; flexible phasing + use by vertical forums connecting all levels as ‘social condensers’; centre for creative design concepts; place inspired by geometries of giants causeway and the work of james joyce; space for experience instead of an object; gateway presence on the horizon, r138 and up close; natural light and generous proportion to all interior spaces; circuit of social connection linking everyone in a free and open way for creative collaboration at the heart and soul of the building;

university college dublin campus
the auditorium inside the ‘centre for creative design’
image © steven holl architects / malcolm reading consultants



studio libeskind (US) with BDP, !melk, NRB, Dcon, arup, brock mcclure consultants, o’herlihy access consultancy, JGA and i3PT

university college dublin campus
daniel libeskind’s studio views the building as an extension of its bucolic setting
image © studio libeskind / malcolm reading consultants



studio libeskind’s proposal for the entrance precinct masterplan is organized by two interwoven concepts. landscape and public paths are inspired by the interlacing patterns from the book of kells. the curvilinear paths and green space create a rich new landscape of extensive woodlands and three-dimensional gardens that set the placement for discreet building complexes.

university college dublin campus
the interior comprises a dynamic series of spaces
image © studio libeskind / malcolm reading consultants



laced within this plan, each complex is represented by one of the nine musesin james joyce’s ulysses — UCD’s most famous alumnus. each complex features a central courtyard that defines the distinct architectural language of each. sited at the nexus between the old and new campus, the ‘centre for creative design’ is the focal point of the plan. the dynamic sculptural structure serves as a gateway to the campus. terraced planters provide shade and continue the lush landscape design throughout. inside the centre, the program features loft-like workspaces, and open and flexible spaces throughout.



UNStudio (netherlands) with MOLA architecture, arup, REDscape landscape & urbanism, fwdesign, maurice johnson & partners and i3PT

university college dublin campus
UNStudio’s proposal integrates a variety of different geometric forms
image © UNStudio / malcolm reading consultants



as learning transitions into a flexible engagement and communal endeavour, UNStudio’s vision for UCD’s future campus thoughtfully transforms the entrance precinct into the ‘marketplace of innovation’. by reimagining the future campus as a vibrant marketplace, programmed with a series of agile spaces that form into cultural and commercial destinations around the estates, the campus becomes a green space of engagement that invites students, faculty and dubliners to learn, collaborate and co-create.

university college dublin campus
a range of different working and studying environments are created
image © UNStudio / malcolm reading consultants



the centre of creative design orients itself at a critical intersection within the marketplace of innovation. located near the campus entrance, this elevated building acts as a conduit for orientation, as it becomes the new origin for many of the primary routes. the flexible platform for the CCD – and by extension the marketplace for innovation – is a kick-starter for connectedness; it fosters serendipitous knowledge sharing and engenders a culture of engagement within UCD’s community. with its volume gesturing both outwards and upwards and with its lively interior on display for broader dublin, the CCD truly becomes the heart of the future campus.

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