Dublin Studio

Dublin Studio Karen McEvoy & Merritt BucholzIn collaboration with Matthias SchullerDublin StudioA CITY is a living organism, continually mutating, continually seeking equilibrium, continually challenged to provide for and integrate CHANGING populations, demographics, INFRASTRUCTURE, environmental requirements etc., – SUSTAINABLE development of fast growing city fringes must meet the needs of a rapidly changing present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Dublin, the capital city of Ireland is a city currently undergoing phenomenal growth . having bypassed any \’industrial age\’, a primarily agricultural LANDSCAPE, is being dramatically transformed by a \’digitally propelled\’ economic boom (Hewlett Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Dell, and Apple all have their European operations in Ireland.) – large infrastructural projects, sewage systems, landfills, and energy generation are transforming a landscape traditionally known for tourism. The famous Irish (slow) pace of life no longer exists. Urban SPRAWL in Dublin is on a par with that of Los Angeles.This transformation is especially evident on the northern FRINGES of Dublin where rural picturesque country lanes (traditional Ireland) are suddenly colliding with rapid expansion from the old metropolitan core, which is fast invading an unprepared landscape but rather than lamenting the situation at these fraying fringes a focused approach could mean TRANSFORMING these conditions into new \’peripheral centers\’. These places, currently leftover products of the need to accommodate the housing and infrastructural growth of an ever-increasing population, become sustainable \’PLACES\’/communities for the growing population (50% of the population of Fingal County north of the city centre are under 15 years of age the housing target for this County alone is 7000 new units per annum). The catalyst for this transformation must come from the civic realm.The specific SITE chosen to focus on is in Fingal County (one of the four counties that make up Dublin) and is in public ownership – a WASTE landfill site now closed – Dunsink \’tiphead\’ an artificially created raised landscape immediately adjacent to a renowned Observatory. \’Dunsink Observatory\”, originally sited on a hill in the countryside to better observe the celestial sphere from the terrestrial one ..now finds itself in a radically changing CONTEXT, (and now suffers from light pollution due to the expansion of the city). With the M50 motorway to the north-east, the railway , Grand Canal and Tolka river to the south all presenting currently impenetrable barriers the site is isolated with few LINKS to the city centre or to the new communities developing close by. From within this \’island\’ however the views to the sea and to the Wicklow mountains are unique. The site offers an opportunity to create a FOCUS for new community life, a \’LUNG\’ to sustainably support development in the surrounding sites (which it is envisaged will accommodate circa 80 units per hectare in order to meet current demand and to limit urban SPRAWL – this is significantly higher than typical sub-urban development densities which are the norm). These are real problems faced by the Local Authority. In building on/manipulating the site FINGAL County Council\’s aspirations are threefold; they aspire to create a new CIVIC place for the County; to embody an image of \’OPENNESS\’ and \’ACCESSIBILITY\’ of public service and amenity; and to build in a responsive way so as to minimize ENERGY consumption and running costs. Construction in this location must be informed by a specific understanding of climatic and environmental conditions in order that there can be a clear response to the broader idea of site and context : the material fabric of building must be challenged to respond simultaneously to an incr