Irish architects and Dutch design practice join forces to lead redesign of Dublin’s College Green

Irish firm Scott Tallon Walker Architects and Dutch urban and landscape design practice OKRA have joined forces to lead the redesign of the planned College Green and Dame Street Plaza.

The two companies will lead a multidisciplinary team that includes Roughan & O’Donovan Consulting Engineers, Civic Engineers, Avison Young and Doyle Kent, Planning Consultants, Howley Hays Cooney Conservation Architects, and Linesight Quantity Surveyors.

Under the Dublin City Centre Transport Plan, traffic arrangements for at least part of the plaza are expected to be implemented in the shorter term, but the two companies will lead the longer-term redesign. Some see the approach of implementing the traffic changes first as a modern trend, with streets like Capel Street, but Grafton Street was pedestrianised in 1982, and the repaving was only carried out in 1988.

Dublin City Council said the appointment of the new design team follows a two-stage EU procurement competition which “attracted significant international interest with submissions from Ireland, the UK, the USA and Europe”.

Paul Keogh Architects led the project before the council decided to expand the plaza area to include Dame Street from College Green to the junction of South Great Georges Street. Under EU procurement rules, the significant enlargement in the project meant it had to be put out to tender again.

The council said that Scott Tallon Walker Architects is “one of the most highly regarded architecture practices in Ireland and has delivered multiple complex projects of national importance,” while the Utrecht-based OKRA has experience with award-winning public realm projects, including Catharijnesingel in Utrecht, where a city-centre adjacent motorway was turned back into a canal.

The council described the project as a joint initiative between the council and the National Transport Authority to “improve the public realm at the heart of our city” and “reimagine the area as a world-class dynamic and inviting public space.”

Richard Shakespeare, chief executive of Dublin City Council, said: “I am delighted to welcome Scott Tallon Walker and Okra, along with their multidisciplinary team, to this transformative project. To reimagine the city core is to see beyond what is and envision what could be.”

He added: This Team will work to develop a place-making design that will transform College Green into a vibrant and sustainable hub at the heart of the city. This is a goal that can be achieved through thoughtful planning and collaboration between Dublin City Council, the new Design Team and the city stakeholders. I look forward to following the design process and to the exciting prospect of the end result.”

The council said that timelines for stakeholder consultation and the development of the preliminary design “will be established once the project programme has been developed.”

IMAGE: Members of the design team (Photo: Dublin City Council).

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