November 8, 2006
by Canadian Architect
University College Dublin, Ireland’s largest university, has launched a major international architecture competition for a new landmark development at the university’s Belfield campus. The Gateway Project comprising cultural, academic, leisure and business facilities, represents the start of the implementation of a 15-year UCD Campus Development Plan.
The University is inviting submissions from leading architecture firms from around the world. A jury of internationally- enowned architects will produce a shortlist of three to five candidates in January before selecting the winner next April.
With over 150 years of proud tradition University College Dublin has played a central role in Ireland’s advancement as a dynamic and highly successful independent European state. Offering the broadest range of top quality degrees, UCD attracts students from throughout Ireland as well as international students from over 50 countries. Over 22,000 students and 1,000 academics study and research in the beautiful, leafy 132 hectare campus 4 kilometres to the south of the centre of Dublin city.
The competition is seen as an opportunity to establish an internationally recognizable signature image for the Belfield campus. In this respect, UCD is keen to retain the very best architectural talents to meet these challenges, resulting in a built environment that will not only provide an attractive and functional development for the region, but will also be a defining architectural feature of UCD in the 21st century.
The key driver behind the Gateway Project and the wider campus development plan is the creation of a sustainable learning and living environment that would move the university towards a 24-7 campus and create a greater level of interaction between the university, the local community and the wider visiting population to Dublin.
The scale of the plan warrants an architectural design of lasting quality. Many of the great universities of the world are defined as much by their architecture as well as their academic excellence. UCD’s ambition is to build a Gateway of great architectural quality that will be recognised throughout the world.
The core competition area consists of 9.86 hectares at the main entrance to the Belfield campus on the N11. At build out the site will include a new university related mixed use development including cultural centre with art house cinema/film studies facility and university welcome and graduate centre, new student residential accommodation and services, retail outlets, a medical centre, crche facility, conference facilities, hotel, offices for knowledge intensive businesses, other university executive & meetings rooms and a provision for multi storey car parking.
Launching the competition, Dr. Hugh Brady, President of UCD, said: “This is a highly prestigious project, providing the world’s leading architects with an opportunity to create an iconic landmark for Dublin and Ireland. The development will enhance the working and living environment for students and staff and open up the campus to local and wider communities.”
A special website www.ucd.ie/gatewayproject has been launched to support the competition. An extensive global marketing communications program is also being undertaken to support the call for entries.
The closing date for the receipt of submissions of interest is Wednesday, December 6, 2006. From that initial list, 10 firms will be interviewed from which a shortlist of three to five will be chosen. The three to five shortlisted firms will receive 200,000 each for completion of their design submission. Following a review of the shortlisted firms, the winning architect will be announced in or around April 2007 and awarded a further prize of 300,000.
In order to be eligible, firms must demonstrate that they have extensive experience in the design of institutional/commercial buildings of or in excess of 20,000 gross square metres. They must also demonstrate experience in the design of large civic spaces and associated landscape and open space design. Firms must have successfully completed prime consulting contracts for major capital works in excess of 50,000,000.
The winning firm will be required to devise a master-plan for the competition area, including indicative designs for the core area and detailed designs of select buildings within the Gateway area. It will also be retained by UCD to oversee the implementation of the master-plan design objectives.
For more information, please visit www.ucd.ie/gatewayproject.