Wednesday 30 April 2008

Planning for a 'visionary urban development'

CAMPUS MASTER PLAN: THE GRANGEGORMAN project is a visionary urban development in the north inner city.

Led by the Grangegorman Development Agency (GDA) under the chairmanship of former Dublin city manager, John Fitzgerald, the project aims to combine the strategic objectives of the Dublin City Council development plan with DIT's drive for a world class campus and technology centre, the HSE's objectives for primary and community care, and the needs of the neighbourhood community for recreational amenity and educational development.

The development site (St Brendan's Psychiatric Hospital) is situated to the north of Smithfield on Dublin's northside and extends to some 30 hectares of mostly open space. The circa 400,000sq m (4.305 million sq ft) of development is relatively low density but reflects the specific nature of the development - academic and healthcare - and also the high proportion of open amenity and recreational space which will be included in the development.

The master plan is still under preparation by Moore Ruble Yudell of California in association with DMOD Architects of Dublin. The GDA has engaged a team of advisors, including FGS and DLPKS and led by WK Nowlan Associates of Dublin, to prepare the strategic plan and manage the master plan and early development processes.

The master planners have outlined an emerging master plan proposition of six physical themes: two hearts, one academic and the other social/cultural in the north-west and south-east quadrants respectively; a major east-west pedestrian priority route (St Brendan's Way) weaving its way from Constitution Hill through the site towards Prussia Street; a series of green fingers reaching out from St Brendan's Way making pedestrian routes through the buildings and into the local area together with a major quadrangle at the academic heart looking south across to open playing fields; the connection with Constitution Hill at Broadstone Gate opposite King's Inns; the north-south pedestrian connection through the site linking Smithfield with the North Circular Road; and a contoured uplift in site levels elevating the academic campus above the playing fields and open spaces to the south.

For DIT the master plan will describe a 21st century campus for students incorporating cultural buildings, a business and technology park to be operated in association with DIT partnerships and academic programmes all stretching east-west through the site from Broadstone to Prussia Street.

For the HSE the master plan will set out a major healthcare complex, integrating with the DIT campus, and forming the North Circular Road frontage and entry point to the site.

A primary school and public library are proposed for the neighbouring community together with access to the new indoor and outdoor sporting facilities, landscaped gardens and children's play spaces. Housing for the elderly and daycare facilities are also planned.

The urban campus will be pedestrian priority and be open to the adjacent areas and will provide a high quality amenity environment for local people.

Gerry Murphy, GDA CEO says: "This is not just a campus it's a city quarter and the master plan will open the formerly closed hospital site to the city and add hugely to cultural, leisure and economic activity in this part of Dublin."

Peter Coyne is programme director for the Grangegorman WKN Consortium.

Irish Times

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