1999 – Unbuilt Dublin – Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht & The Islands
Phoenix Park is known as the largest enclosed city park in Europe, and in that respect signifies the dominant shift in our environment from spotty human settlements enclosed by countryside towards precious green spaces in need to be protected from being overrun by the surrounding urban sprawl. We made the discussion of this relationship central to our design approach. By various spatial and programmatic strategies we undermine the traditional superimposition of buildings onto ‘nature’ creating calibrated symbiotic conditions.
The new artificial topography appears as a natural part of Phoenix Park and is indeed reconstructing the original site topography; yet it is also the roof for a large subterranian foyer and parking facilities. Several building volumes stitch through this layer and making its condition apparent through their transparency. Their shape is determined by perspective vistas to guide people through and to allow a subtle intertwining of park and city to be read from both sides.
Ramps and insertions link the park layer with the public enclosure below, providing a truly threedimensional promenade throught the maze. The perimeters of the building volumes allow light to enter and guide the visitors through the large open plan foyer and exhibition areas.