UCD Future Campus

International Design Competition (Finalist)

The University as City

We believe in the power of exchange; informal, cross-disciplinary, inclusive, student-driven learning.

UCD is the largest university in Ireland, with over 30,000 students, and as universities, cities and world population continue to grow, it is becoming increasingly important to provide architecture on both micro and macro scales, to allow for spaces that can accommodate large groups of people while still encouraging interaction on a more intimate level. The success of co-working spaces, hot-desking, laptop cafes and freelance workers is indicative of a desire to learn and work differently, within spaces which encourage sharing and cross disciplinary collaboration. These learning spaces seek to blur the boundary between the institutional and the domestic, allowing learning to leave the classroom.

When UCD eventually doubles its built environment and learning capabilities, we believe that another, secondary, framework should be in place - a network of acupuncture points within the campus - small pavilions, meeting points and collaborative centres at an intimate and human scale which will contribute to the masterplan and life of the campus. These interventions would take the form of a series of networks and nodes, designed to both connect and occupy the spaces between the larger, more programmed buildings of the overall masterplan. Small, carefully planned and sometimes hidden, these spaces and structures would reveal both the layers of history, activity and culture that are present at UCD, while simultaneously also offering a space for both the academic community and the inhabitants of the surrounding area to gather, share, to exchange and learn from each other, away from the classroom.

We developed a series of interventions together with Plattenbau Studio as an example of what this framework could include:

Covered Walkways (together with Plattenbau Studio)

The Bridge to the City

Woodland Bridge



Walled Garden Conservatory

Learning Pavilion (Plattenbau Studio)

Pontoon (Plattenbau Studio)

Lake Bar (Plattenbau Studio)

Mobility Hub (Plattenbau Studio)

Rooftop Cafe (Plattenbau Studio)

University College Dublin, Ireland


Donn Holohan, Elspeth Lee, Plattenbau Studio

In Collaboration With :
O’Donnell + Tuomey, Allies and Morrison, ARUP, Hargreaves Associates, Phil Jones Associates, Max Fordham, Horgan Lynch, MLM Group

Link to Presentation Boards here