Richview, while nominally a part of campus, is seen by many as a world onto itself. Aurora Andrus speaks to its students and staff.
MOST students in UCD will have heard of Richview though the majority will rarely visit it. Although the UCD School of Architecture, Planning, and Environmental Policy lies only slightly to the west of the main campus and is only a short ten minute walk away, it maintains its privacy, giving it an almost mythical quality. Belfield is often dismissed as a “concrete block” with the School of Architecture offering the main exception.
Richview is a lovely area consisting of a grassy quad surrounded by buildings for each specific subject. The social centre for students, where they go to take a break from their busy schedules, is the café. The halls are lined with lab entrances, and the studios are full of architecture students creating and learning.
One of the architecture school’s biggest landmarks is the Richview Library, which is a branch of the main UCD library. Richview Library contains a unique collection of architecture, urban studies, and other studies and includes printed and digital media.
Inside the studios, it is quiet yet bustling. Students spend a generous amount of time doing studio work and working in general. Second year student Sean Colleran spoke about what his days are like.
“We don’t have easy access to the range of services and choice of catering facilities.”
“My day starts at 9am usually and finishes at about 6 or 7pm and that’s on a quiet day. Sometimes you could be in the studio working till 10pm.” The workload is high but the resources the school offers assists students, so they enjoy their education as well as producing quality work.
The Regional and Urban Planning’s Professor, Dr. Paula Russell, gave great insights to the School of Architecture, Planning, and Environmental Policy. She, like the students, has a full day of lectures, planning, meetings, and her own research work. When asked about the Richview campus she says, “the campus here in Richview has a different atmosphere to that in Belfield, it feels slightly less frenetic but nonetheless there is a great sense of engagement and production of new knowledge here.”
Standing in the Quad in Richview or walking around the buildings, you can look into the studios and see architecture, planning, and urban design students working on projects, producing GIS maps, CAD drawings, 3D models or discussing these with their peers and staff in criticism and debate.
“While our environmental policy MSc students grapple with climate change, energy transitions and how to shape policy to change behaviours. It is a very active form of learning, and it does involve long hours, the studios are often active until late in the evening!” she says.
“I love the fact that the Quad is sometimes used as a gallery to display the fruits of students’ work in the building lab. Richview is a great location for our school as the combination of older protected structures together with new award-winning buildings — all set around a series of quads — is a great space to see how space and place is created through the energies and thought of our combined respective disciplines.”
“The campus here in Richview has a different atmosphere to that in Belfield.”
As mentioned previously, Richview is also home to the fantastic Richview library. Within its walls contains excellent collection of books and maps, a source not only for students but also to the planning and architecture profession who use it to source maps and information for their work.
There is always a sense of Richview engaging beyond UCD, through the library, through the Environmental Protection Agency (whose Dublin office is located here) and the residents of the adjoining office parks and residential areas using the space and facilities.
It is clear that Richview has so much to offer its students and does everything it can to maintain its integrity and historic community. Dr. Russell shared some insight about the location of Richview. While she does enjoy her neck of the woods, she acknowledged that due to its edge of campus location, they “don’t have easy access to the range of services and choice of catering facilities that exist on the main Belfield campus. A brisk 15 minute walk is required to reach the lake.”
It is clear that the students and faculty at the School of Architecture, Planning, and Environmental Policy appreciate their community and work hard to maintain its charm. Slightly detached from the main campus, it offers a secluded quieter academic atmosphere, that all UCD students should try to visit at least once.