Giant's Causeway inspired building chosen as winner of UCD Future Campus Competition

A building design inspired by the Giant’s Causeway and Ulysses has been named the winner of the UCD Future Campus Competition.Steven Holl Architects (SHA), an architecture and urban design office based in New York and Beijing lead the winning team, were announced as the winners on Tuesday 7 August. The six shortlisted architectural firms vying for the project worth €48 million designed a model for the Centre of Creative Design. Each shortlisted entrant was awarded €40,000 for reaching the final six.The competition attracted applications from 98 teams in 28 countries. The funding for the project has already been donated by an anonymous source. UCD President Andrew Deeks chaired the committee of 11 members, made up of architecture, design and urban planning experts from the UCD Schools of Architecture and Engineering, as well as Irish billionaire Dermot Desmond. The 8,000m² building will be located around the reception building area at the main entrance to the campus, visible from the N11 and acting as a new ‘Dublin landmark”. President Deeks said of the winning design: “Holl’s vision is intriguing and striking – combining an iconic design for the Centre for Creative Design with a master plan 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”. The winning design was partly inspired by the geology of the interlocking basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway. 60 million years ago, hexagonal columns were formed by intense volcanic activity followed by thermal expansion, leaving the distinct pillar-like formation that drew one million visitors to the UNESCO world heritage sight in 2017. The naturally occuring hexagonal formations are reflected architecturally in the interlocking geometrics of the architecture. Part of the design mirrors the pentagonal UCD water tower, and the angled structures replicate the Earth’s 23 degree tilt. It will largely use glass walls to welcome natural light and visitors peering into classrooms and labs. Conceptually the architecture finds inspiration in UCD graduate James Joyce’s literary canon Ulysses. Steven Holl Architecture “took some of the principles of stream of consciousness theory”, a literary technique found in Modernist literature which aims to portray the natural flow of thought, to inspire the assortment of shapes and structures that make up the building. Each entrant submitted a full potential campus design, including potential space and buildings around the campus. Steve Holl Architects focused on “campus posterity and social space” and keeping the campus pedestrianised. They designed a ‘H’ plan to extend the covered walkways from the main lake to the new buildings that will line the N11 side of the campus. The brief for the project noted that the entrance to UCD was considered ‘underwhelming’. The contract is expected to begin in autumn 2018 with construction scheduled for completion by autumn 2021.