Lacaton & Vassal

Development of a neighborhood . Dublin

Lacaton & Vassal

This theoretical project was studied on the occasion of a competition for developing a new neighborhood in Dublin.
The site, an industrial wasteland of 10 hectares [25 acres], next to the harbor.
The brief, 60% housing (2,000 apartments), 40% offices, public facilities, a shopping center.

For the last several years, the city of Dublin has been undergoing a dazzling expansion with the development of new neighborhoods west of the city center.
The site already offers certain qualities:
First, there is the sea, nearby, and then, low-density residential areas to the west and south that leave the views unobstructed.
Next, in the area, outdoor public spaces, parks, sports fields, beaches, natural green spaces in sufficient quantity.
We don’t think there is any need to add to them.
What mostly has to be done is to increase density.
Creating very beautiful and generous housing units, as the new regulations of the city of Dublin encourages, by recommending larger living spaces.
Creating indoor public spaces rather than outdoor, i.e., places that encourage an active and interesting public life, protected from the elements,
Improving accessibility and links to the city by developing public transportation and parking capacity on the site.
Creating the superimposition of functions, activities and the habitat.

The lot is 300 m x 300 m.
Depollution of the soil, to a depth of 2 m [6.5 ft.] will be done to create a parking garage in the basement, halfway underground.
The lot is divided into separate private and public units over the entire surface.
The structural grid established by the developer for the parking area, 7.8 m x 7.8 m [25.6 ft. x 25.6 ft.], is used as a guide for the whole project.
Above the garage, the public space is limited to the streets needed to serve the neighborhood.
There are three east-west streets and one north-south street, connected to the main road.
They are 15 m [49 ft.] wide and are two-way with wide planted sidewalks and parking on one side.
The only outdoor public space the project creates is the streets.
The streets determine the islands, 140 m x 70 m [460 ft. x 230 ft.], an area of 9,800 m2 [105,480 sq. ft.].
Starting with the public space, and above the basement parking garage, three layers are superimposed:
- the ground floor, an indoor public space, from 0 to 10 m [0 to 33 ft.] or an outdoor public space, the streets,
- glass façades from 10 m to 17 m [33 ft. to 56 ft.], which light either the indoor public space or the spaces of this level
- apartments, offices, a hotel, starting at 17 m [56 ft.].
The public space is on the same level as the buildings’ ground floors, which is very important for these spaces’ activity. The street level is raised to avoid the foundation walls required for the half-underground parking garage, which needs ramps, staircases and so on for accessibility.

The streets distribute, directly and at the same level, all the accesses, lobbies of private buildings, stores, public areas, parking.
On the ground floor: retail stores and supermarkets, public, educational, cultural and sports facilities, public gardens in greenhouses, private entrances to the apartments and offices, habitation services.
The ground floor is 9 m [30 ft.] high, which permits a large number of functions and a combination of functions.
It can be left as is or one or two intermediate floors can be added.
Volumes of 12 m [39 ft.] under glass are also possible.
On the first floor: apartments, studios, offices, habitation services (childcare centers, crèches, laundry rooms, rooms for associations) are installed under the wide atriums.
On the second and higher floors: offices and especially diverse types of housing units: through apartments, duplexes, lofts, apartments with double exposures.
The ground floor structure, on a 7.8 m x 7.8 m [25.6 ft. x 25.6 ft.] grid, is in industrial-type concrete, capable of providing a maximum surface, volume and density to house all the facilities.
The ceiling is 9 m [30 ft.] high.
A platform 10 m [33 ft.] above ground level constitutes the roof and the reference level of the residential, hotel or office buildings, with varied architecture.
The indoor public spaces:
public facilities, shopping mall, sports facilities, art gallery, botanic garden in a greenhouse, covered public garden.

The apartments:
through apartments, duplexes, lofts, apartments with double exposures, all with generous floor space, winter gardens and balconies.
The bioclimatic concept is based on “gentle” and unsophisticated technologies and functions on the combinations and complementary dimensions of a “traditional” space delimited by glass façades with an enveloping volume, the winter garden, which forms a “buffer” in front of these façades, able to reduce high temperatures and temperature swings.
The winter garden makes it possible to shift where an activity is carried out according to the seasons.
A space that extends the main rooms, it makes it possible to become acclimatized to changes in temperature by shifting where an activity is carried out: living outdoors in the summer, half outside in the in-between seasons, withdrawing into easy-to-heat rooms in the winter.

Location : Irish Glass Bottle, Dublin
Design years : Competition, non prize winner 2007
Client : Becbay Ltd, Dublin
Architects :
Anne Lacaton & Jean-Philippe Vassal
with, Lucinda Groueff, Nicolas Guérin, David Duchein, Julien Sage-Thomas, Natalina Viera Da Costa, Tatiana Jarpa, Nayean Kwak, Kaori Ikemiyagi, collaborators
Program : Dwellings, public amenities, retail space, offices, covered sports facilities, public garden in greenhouses, parking places
Area : 397 000 sqm

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