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Royal Dublin Society Office Development

ADDRESS: RDS, Simmonscourt Road, Dublin 4
CLIENT: Royal Dublin Society
COMPLETION: August 2007
SITE AREA: 4700m²
PROJECT STAFF: S Diamond, J Coughlan

Established in 1731 to promote agriculture, arts, industry and science in Ireland, the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) is a mixed use campus providing conference, sports stadium and venue facilities near Dublin City Centre.

SDA were appointed to integrate a new office development straddling Simmonscourt Road in Dublin 4 into the existing RDS campus and the wider Ballsbridge landscape context.

An urban square is located at the centre of the development, crossing Simmonscourt Road to signpost the new offices from the Merrion Road, and provide a visual presence for the RDS along Simmonscourt Road.  This also acts to slow traffic along Simmonscourt Road, and generates an intensification of pedestrian activity at the crossing, creating significant new public open space.

Urban design proposals for the new office development and square have been developed as a hub to unify the main Anglesea and Simmonscourt sites. A bold linear paving pattern extends the geometry of the Main Arena and Hornbeam lined equestrian Rings, within the Anglesea site, across the square to connect with the Simmonscourt site. A series of one metre wide bands of light grey granite slabs tie the Simmonscourt Site axis across the square, connecting the previously segregated sites together in a new urban form.

Design proposals for the public square are conceptually based on the abstract beauty and linear qualities of the Irish agricultural landscape, as a reference to the Society’s agricultural heritage. Paving has been arranged across the square in linear strips of light and dark grey granite to symbolize a ploughed field. Free standing seating walls echo field stone walls to direct pedestrian movement, provide enclosure and a meeting point to encourage social interaction.

Tall sculptural lighting masts reflect a procession of electricity pylons across the landscape to reinforce the fieldstone wall enclosure and connection across Simmonscourt Road. Squat indirect lights have been positioned along the Simmonscourt paving alignment to announce the office entrance plaza.

Mass plantings of ornamental grass convey the character of wheat fields and separate internal office space from the public square.
Skateboarding is deterred by a stepped coping detail to the walls.

An access road of golden gravel lined by fastigiate Hornbeam trees, define the development’s south-east boundary, to establish a relationship with the adjacent equestrian sand arenas.

The unifying effect of the square, its lighting masts, walls and paving layout will be revealed following completion of Phase 2 on the ‘Main Arena’ side of Simmonscourt Road.

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