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Posted 05 July 2013

UCD Student Centre voted Ireland’s favourite new building

The public have voted the UCD Student Centre as the winner of the Public Choice Award in the 2013 Irish Architecture Awards. The building designed by Dublin based Fitzgerald Kavanagh & Partners received 18% of the 12,500 votes cast for the 33 short listed projects.

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) described the centre as "an exciting building which embraces many of the guiding principles of universal design”.


"It is evident that the design team engaged with and carefully considered the end-users throughout the design and construction phases."

According to the RIAI, the use of colour, choice of materials and the simplicity of its layout contribute greatly to its ease of use. The result is a dynamic building devoted to providing sports and recreational facilities to the students and staff of UCD as well as to members of the public, regardless of age, size, ability or disability.

Now in its sixth year, the Public Choice Award gives the public the opportunity to have their say by voting for their favourite shortlisted project, which has the honour of being named Ireland's favourite new building.

The award recognises the vision of the students and staff of UCD, and the architectural design skills of Fitzgerald Kavanagh & Partners. It was presented by the Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Ruairí Quinn TD at a formal ceremony in Wood Quay.

The 11,000 sq metre building, which was developed with student funds following a student referendum in 2006, marks another major milestone in the evolution of the Belfield campus.

UCD has over 100 active student societies and clubs which now avail of the various facilities in the new development including:

  • 50 metre Olympic-specification swimming pool
  • 125-seat state-of the-art performance theatre
  • 90-seat multimedia 3D cinema
  • dance studio with a ‘floating-floor’
  • debating chamber resembling a mini-parliament named in honour of the late Dr Garrett Fitzgerald.

The new debating chamber is now home to the UCD Literary & Historical Society (founded by John Henry Newman in 1855) and the UCD Law Society (established in 1911). These two renowned student societies, synonymous with University College Dublin, have significantly contributed to public debate in Ireland for well over a century.

The performance theatre is home to UCD Dramsoc which was founded in the 1920s and whose alumni include Dermot Morgan, Neil Jordan, Jim Sheridan, Conor McPherson, and Brenda Fricker. Members of the society gain experience in performance, staging, writing and directing.

The student centre also houses some of the latest sporting and training facilities; strongly represented by the Olympic-specification swimming pool. It is located at the centre of an 80 acre area of the Belfield campus known as the UCD Sports Precinct.


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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