Bringing Light to Science
Trinity College Dublin
Research Project 2009
This academic research project sought to rejuvanate the seriously neglected science campus at Trinity College Dublin. While Trinity has often been recognised as the most prestigious university in Ireland for centuries, the collection of science buildings and laboratories at the campus' east end have sprung up in a piece meal fashion over the past few decades. Most notably, this end of the campus is without any of the collegiate quads and strong, linear facades that define the university as a whole.
The first proposal was to remove all of the poorer quality buildings that had simply been built without thought, and this simple move alone helping to create a Y-shaped open space that all of the major science buildings would overlook.
Then came a desire to do something more, to give this part of the campus something that the older part did not have, and in doing so create something for students to gravitate toward. The campus had a great reputation amongst all Dublin students for being a geat social hub in summer months, with crowds gathering on the cricket grounds in the evenings in a festival style atmosphere. In winter, however, the university had less appeal, and our design proposed a new social hub for the many cold winter months.
At the core of this project was a very simple idea - architecture cannot tell people what to do, it can only suggest what people should do and accommodate. This is even more true of social activities, and doubly so of students. Therefore we did not seek to create a single isolated social hub building, but sought to create a socially active realm beneath the new campus square that would connect underground into all of the surrounding buildings. It would become a mixing space by its very nature as a central infrastructure node.
The old library would also be moved to an old refurbished building on the other side of the new square, to make way for a new students union and conference building that would open onto the square, and give this underground hub a sizeable connection to the public square above.
Other proposed accommodation included student's union offices, a new science archive, leisure facilities, new laboratories and three new dedicated lecture halls.