The science building in Belfield opened in 1964, at a time when sheep still grazed in the adjacent fields. The campus developed significantly over the course of the next decade, with the construction of arts/commerce/law, library, administration and restaurant buildings. In the mid-1970s Scott Tallon Walker were appointed as architects for the projected new engineering building in Belfield, intended to house all of UCD's engineering departments.

Progress was slow and in 1982, when architecture moved from Earlsfort Terrace to the Richview end of the Belfield campus, civil and agricultural engineering moved from Merrion Street to Earlsfort Terrace to take advantage of the extra space available there. This left chemical, electrical, electronic and mechanical engineering as the last UCD departments in Merrion Street, with government offices moving into space vacated by the university.

Successive governments were enthusiastic about UCD's plan to vacate Merrion Street, but the economic straits of the 1980s meant that the full £25 million cost of the engineering building at Belfield could not be provided. It was decided by UCD that, rather than devise a reduced building to house all of engineering, the existing plans would be modified to provide for the departments in Merrion Street in a £19 million development, with provision for the expansion of the building to provide for the remaining two departments when money became available.

Above: Head porter Arthur Keating locks the door for the last time, watched by Dean Vincent McCabe, as UCD departs Merrion Street for Belfield