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Posted: 30 October 2006

University College Dublin Launches International Architecture Competition for New Landmark Development at Belfield

University College Dublin has launched a major international architecture competition for a new landmark development at Belfield – the Gateway Project. The 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-renowned architects will produce a shortlist of three to five candidates in January before selecting the winner next April.

The competition is seen as an opportunity to establish an internationally recognisable 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.

Aerial view of UCD, Belfield campus
Aerial view of UCD, Belfield campus

The scale of the plan warrants an architectural design of lasting quality. The academic excellence of many of the great universities of the world is underlined and symbolized by their great architecture. With the initiation and launch of this architectural competition, it is our intention that the architecture of the campus will soon match its academic excellence.

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.”

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, crèche facility, conference facilities, hotel, offices for knowledge intensive businesses, other university executive & meetings rooms and a provision for multi –storey car parking.

The Project also incorporates the redesign of the pedestrian and road network with emphasis on rectifying dangerous and congested entrance; the improvement of public transport and the creation of public plaza with significant landscaping and pedestrian space. Cornerstone to the Project is improved linkages from the Gateway area to other campus precincts.

The winning firm will be required to devise a master-plan for the competition area, including indicative designs and detailed designs of selected buildings within the Gateway area. It will also be retained by UCD to oversee the implementation of the master-plan design objectives.

A multi phased approach to the construction has been developed in order to allow each component of the project to achieve targeted economic and occupancy objectives, as well as to allow for the ongoing functioning of the University. Architects must demonstrate an ability to be creative with respect to this phasing requirement.

The competition was announced in the Official Journal of the European Union on Friday last 27th. An extensive global marketing communications programme is also being undertaken to support the call for entries. A special website has also been launched to support the competition.

The closing date for the receipt of submissions of interest is 6 December 2006. From that initial list ten will be interviewed from which a shortlist anticipated to be three to five will be chosen. The three to five short listed competitors will receive €200,000 each for completion of their design submission. Following a review of the three to five short listed firms the winning competitor will be announced in or around April 2007 and awarded a further prize of €300,000.

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