Dixon Jones has won an international competition to transform Dublin’s historic College Green into a new pedestrian-priority civic plaza
The architect behind the £30 million overhaul of London’s Exhibition Road defeated an unnamed shortlist of five rival firms to land the prestigious Dublin City Council-backed commission.
Planned to start on site in January 2018, the project will pedestrianise the three-sided plaza, which has hosted major political rallies and speeches by US presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Originally known as Hoggen Green, College Green was formerly the site of a cemetery containing burial mounds thought to have contained the remains of Norse kings of Dublin.
Considered Dublin’s equivalent of Trafalgar Square, the city centre open space is today surrounded by the Irish Parliament House, now home to the Bank of Ireland, several historic houses and Trinity College Dublin.
Source: Image by William Murphy
Dixon Jones, working with local practice Paul Keogh Architects, was selected for the project following a two-stage public tender. The project will start on site in January 2018 following the completion of Dublin’s new Luas tram line.
Images of the winning scheme have yet to be revealed but are expected to combine an Exhibition Road-style shared surface with a mix of spontaneous and seasonal uses, such as skating, fountains and cinema, as deployed by Dixon Jones at Somerset House.
Commenting on the appointment, Paul Keogh of Paul Keogh Architects said: ‘We are aiming to create “Dublin’s living room”, a place that is safe, adaptable and friendly for people of all ages, both for everyday social interaction and for major public events, comparable with world-class spaces of similar scale internationally.’
Referencing Grafton Architects’ and O’Donnell + Tuomey’s competition-winning schemes for the London School of Economics, Edward Jones of Dixon Jones said: ’The architects of Dublin have recently made their impact on London, and particularly in the case of the LSE. It is therefore a great pleasure for Dixon Jones to have been selected with Paul Keogh Architects and to be given the opportunity to transform College Green in Dublin and thereby to return the compliment.’
Dublin city architect Ali Grehan said: ‘The project at College Green offers the opportunity for Dublin to regain an urban space of prime civic importance and for that space to be of national and international significance.
‘Dixon Jones and Paul Keogh Architects are highly regarded architects with extensive experience in the public realm and we are delighted to have appointed them as leads on this project.’
The appointment follows Dixon Jones’s selection last summer to revamp the world-famous Olympic Way thoroughfare in Wembley Park. The practice defeated Stanton Williams and Hawkins\Brown to win the contest – revealed today by the AJ for the first time. The scheme will upgrade the historic main route for visitors approaching Wembley Stadium.