In July 2018 Dermot Foley Landscape Architects were commissioned by Dublin City Council to bring Peace Park from concept to construction stage. The brief was to revive an existing space and to reinvent it as a memorial. The city centre park, at the junction of two major roads and within the historic medieval walls of Dublin, had been closed for many years prior to this restoration. Elements of a previous design were damaged and the space suffered from anti-social behaviour. Peace Park was identified for refurbishment as part of Dublin City Council’s ‘Liberties Greening Strategy’.
The design intent was to create a space of intimacy in a very busy city-centre location, using materials that would calm the experience while at the same time draw the person toward the richness of the material nature of the space. More practical considerations included an opening up of the space, allowing improved visibility into the park and increased passive surveillance. The finished project manages to balance these two contradictory requirements.
Exploiting but subtly manipulating the existing sunken levels of the space allowed us to achieve a ‘separateness’ from the more frantic street level. The project is detailed to a high level, with the geometry orbiting a central circular plinth. The circle evokes the opening in the Menin Gate in Ypres. Soil from the four provinces of Ireland along with soil from Flanders, Belgium, was placed in separate containers within the circular plinth, by local school children.
Shot blasted Leinster granite slabs operate as a device for the lawn to infill and as a route through the lawn. The same granite is employed in the circle plinth, and on the steps at the entrance, bringing cohesion through materiality.
Rough-hewn Irish limestone is employed as small setts between the granite slabs. The same natural stone, with a honed finish, forms solid retaining benches, adhering to the gentle topography and addressing both the centre of the space and the borrowed landscape.
Selected areas of herbaceous ground cover planting, chosen for fragrance and colour, fill pockets throughout the site. The canopy layer, Viburnum farreri and Prunus yedoensis provide seasonal foliage, floral display and fragrance.
The design team worked closely with the client and contractor to complete this new public open space in an extremely short timeframe of only three months.
Name of the project: Peace Park
Project category: Public Project
Role of the entrant in the project: Landscape Architect
Other designers involved in the design of landscape: IN2 Engineering Design Partnership, DBFL Consulting Engineers
Project location (For publicly accessible projects please include exact address. For Private gardens place write Country or State): 13 Christchurch Place, Nicholas Street, Wood Quay, Dublin 8
Design year: 2018
Year Built: 2019