Architect: Murray O’Laoire Architects
The Health Sciences Centre at University College Dublin integrates the four schools of the Faculty of Medicine into one collegiate setting. The challenge of the master plan was to create a distinct identity for each of the schools while providing shared spaces which encourage integration and interaction between the different disciplines.
At the centre of the complex is the Library, which acts as both a focal point and a link between the four schools. This is surrounded by specialist teaching facilities which include laboratories, simulated hospital wards and student resources rooms.
The ethos of integration extends to the relationship between staff and students and is encouraged by locating staff offices on the same level as the student facilities, arranged around central atria. Circulation areas are maximised to allow spaces for informal interaction between staff and students of different disciplines. These atria also allow for maximum day lighting and natural ventilation within the building.
The master plan for the complex needed to be able to deliver a complete and working building at each stage of the process while remaining flexible enough in form and layout to allow for the accommodation of additional schools on a phased basis.
The design has withstood this challenge and has shown to be adaptable and flexible enough to deal with the evolving changes in academic structures within the University. It is very highly regarded by all of the students and staff, who believe it to be the best-in-class, par excellence, in the educational sector.