Landezine
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Landscape
Award
Canyon and hanging gardens -No 1. Ballsbridge Mixed Use Development Dublin

The residential, office and retail development located in the Ballsbridge district of Dublin City is
located on the site of a 1960s Veterinarian College of University College Dublin. The development
comprises of a triangular office and retail block to the east and a residential and retail block to the
western portion.

The concept of this project was considered as a series of hanging gardens overlooking an urban
canyon to a wider seascape at the elevated summit of the upper terrace. To this end the tree scape
both at ground and as the roof terraces rise in elevation seeks to soften the urban setting. At the
centre of the plan a courtyard garden ‘lung’ punctuates the urban block to conceal an intricate
concrete structure on podium.

 

A new urban street to bisects the masterplan between the two new developments terminating at
the end of the axis by two pocket squares. An ‘L’ shaped spur to the north of the site from this
pocket square forms a new animated pedestrian link to the embassy quarter of Dublin along
Pembroke Street where an expanded street frontage forms a secondary public realm populated by
seating, feature lighting and bicycle stands. Two specimen Quercus palustris trees augment the
existing leafy urban district. A raised planter with red maples, magnolias, witch hazel and ginkgo
bring spring and autumnal colour to offset the largescale development. This one hundred meters
long planter with integrated seating and lighting draws the line of view to a specimen Quercus
palustris,ten meters tall. Offset diagonally from this specimen oak a flush plinth with uplighting
where an art feature currently in the curation phase is located. The development is located on the
site of the former Hammersmith Ironworks, where Richard Turner produced his innovative
Curvilinear Range for a culturally significant glasshouse at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin.
This public art space will reference the former industrial legacy through a steel sculpture terminating
the view from Shelbourne road.

To the south east of the development the ‘New Pemborke Street’ is terminated by a public meeting
space with new Cafes and restaurants. This is located on a busy junction with Shelbourne Road
creating a nodal point within the existing urban fabric. Here an expansive street curtilage of six
meters is tree lined with Acer campestre defining the street edge where two feature Quercus
palustris offset the specimen tree which terminates the axis. Feature Escofet lighting in a corten
steel effect colour and polished concrete seating are reflected in the commanding glazed façades
behind.

The new streetscape flowing from the existing street network conceals the multi-storey basement
structure below. To create a flush tree lined street all trees have been planted within a cellular tree
pit system permits the extension of a carpet of granite paving. Bespoke tree grills and guards with
understated grey tones mimic the architectural building structures. Polished granite clad, underlit
benches were designed as an extruded piece of paving where the ground plane extends underneath.
Three tiered residential gardens punctuate the plan with a residential garden at the tenth storey,
fifth and first storey. These podium gardens can be viewed as ‘hanging’ gardens each with a
different vista. The fifth-floor garden lined with ornamental cherries, Prunus shirotae and box
pleached hornbeams Carpinus betulus set within a staggered pattern of clipped box hedging. Here a
floating plinth of white Portuguese granite belies the intensive green roof cellular system. This raised
garden with semi mature trees can be viewed from the public realm below animating the street
scape below.

A residential podium garden at first floor houses a striking visual garden reads as a two tier sunken
garden within the building block. The upper garden houses an ornamental lilly pond feature a
flowering tulip tree, ornamental Japanese maples, sweetgum and June berry trees. Monolithic
illuminated polished granite seating contrasts with the white Portuguese paving pattern extending
the stepping stone slabs pattern from water to garden.

The upper-pool then cascades to a lower sunken garden forming a lower pool where specimen
bamboo and Japanese maple create a reflective garden overlooked from the residential common
lounge and spa area. Behind the soft bamboo foliage, a cantilevered steel stairs links the upper
residential garden to the sunken garden.

A communal residential garden at the tenth-floor roof provides panoramic views of Dublin Bay and
the Aviva Stadium. A carefully graded sectional profile negates the need for raised planters. Here
wind tolerant trees, shrubs and herbaceous underplanting are interspersed around three Renson
canopies or pergolas, Escofet Chaise Longues, outdoor dining and seating elements. Soft bollard
lighting illuminates the garden area allowing the visitor to take advantage of the sea view and city
scape below and to the Dublin mountains to the south.

The landscape scheme seeks to integrate a large-scale development into its neighbouring context
through the creation of a new urban quarter with new pedestrian links. Retail and eateries spill onto
new public social spaces contrasted with quieter residential reflective garden terraces. Where once a
nineteenth century industrial foundry stood then an animal science centre a vibrant animated urban
streetscape has been now created.

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