Elmpark Green offers the possibility of a new type of urban environment in Dublin. It is a large, functionally diverse ensemble of elements integrated harmoniously within its urban landscape.
The Urban Quarter took four years to complete at a cost of 310 million euros. It comprises of a hospital, hotel, offices, apartments, a leisure centre, restaurant and seven acres of public garden. Orientation of buildings along a north-south axis provides maximum constant daylight and open views of the nearby mountains and sea.
Through orientation of the buildings, employment of the facades and building fabric as replacements for mechanical ventilation has resulted in an overall energy footprint of just 20% of Electricity Supply Board estimates. Electricity is generated on-site and hot water supplied to apartments as a by-product.
The palette of materials used also plays a major role within the sustainable context of the project with timber and galvanized steel making a vital contribution. The elegant facade system is supported both internally and externally by a network of galvanized steel. The flowing landscape is broken by a series of pergolas that are also constructed using galvanized steel.
Fundamental design concepts were followed to maximise the sustainability credentials of the whole development:
- Minimizing energy consumption through design of the built environment by means of orientation, building height, width employing the buildings’ structure and facades as part of the ventilation strategy which harnesses the energy of the significant prevailing winds
- Electricity is generated on-site and hot water supplied to apartments as a by-product
- Residential buildings – design of individual apartments as through-apartments with west-facing areas and east-facing sleeping areas
- Landscape taken from the 3 major landscapes of Dublin: seaside, mountain, and park landscapes
- Buildings lifted off the ground. Ground plane and ‘finely-scaled’ programme elements added to the landscape to provide scale and activity
- Orientation of office buildings to minimize energy use
- Location and orientation of residential buildings to establish residential quarter within the site
The dynamic space that has been created at one level is huge in scale but at the same time still manages to communicate a perception of space that provides a feeling of comfort and ease. This no doubt helps to formulate clear patterns of movement across the site for pedestrians, bicycles and cars.
The public concourse acts as the heart of the scheme becoming a meeting place where general communal facilities can be located – cafes, bookshops and sheltered lightweight tensile-fabric canopies.
Images © Michael Moran
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