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Striking new landmark building wins University College Dublin competition

Words: Roger Milne

The capital looks set for a striking new landmark now that University College Dublin (UCD) has announced the winning scheme for its proposed new Centre for Creative Design.

The design of the £48 million 8,000 square metre building was inspired by the Giants Causeway and is earmarked for a site at the main N11 entrance to the UCD campus.

It will display prismatic forms inspired by geology and feature an abundant use of natural light coming through two major vertical structures angled at 23 degrees, mirroring the tilt of the Earth.

These two towers take their design cue from the pentagonal vertical pillar of the university’s iconic dodecahedral 1972 water tower.

The building will be the centrepiece of an entrance precinct including seven new quadrangles of open green space, a new pedestrian spine parallel to the campus’s original spine, lined with weather canopies that double as solar connectors forming the infrastructure of an energy network.

The winning design was created by a team led by New York and Beijing-based studio Steven Holl Architects (SHA).

“Holl’s vision is intriguing and striking – combining an iconic design for the Centre for Creative Design with a masterplan distinguished by a few considered, highly intelligent moves that open up the centre of the campus and use creative landscaping to intensify its natural beauty,” said UCD president Professor Andrew J. Deeks, who chaired the competition jury panel.

“The Centre for Creative Design promises to be an exhilarating presence, announcing UCD from afar, creating a new Dublin landmark and giving visitors, students and faculty a definite sense of arrival.”

Image credit | iStock