Broadstone Park

  • Location: Phibsborough
  • Architect: Murray O'Laoire Architects
  • Completed: 2006

This student housing scheme is located on a landmark site at the top of Constitution Hill, adjacent to the proposed new DIT Grangegorman campus and bounded by the protected structures of the King’s Inns, Broadstone Station and Hendron’s Garage. The site offered a considerable variety of context: the unique brick terraces, raised footpaths and black stone retaining walls of Phibsborough Road, contrasted with the secret raised landscape of Royal Canal Park on the opposing boundary, were all influential on the design.

The tension between one of the city’s main arterial routes and the tranquility of the Royal Canal Park formed the basis for a dynamic site section, while the site’s triangular footprint and its prominent focal point at the top of Constitution Hill set a unique challenge. The historical context of the site as the former location of the John Foster aqueduct, which linked the basin at Broadstone Station to the Royal Canal, also inspired ideas of bridges and floating planes.

The project accommodates 103 student bed spaces in 21 apartments, which are located within two existing houses on Royal Canal Terrace and in the new four/five-storey structure. The triangular shape of the site and its significant level differences were exploited to provide a central circulation chasm that links the student residences to the communal facilities as well as to Phibsbor ough Road and Broadstone Park. The slope of the site has been expressed through the basalt stone plinth,  which adapts and transforms into a seat, entrance portal, retaining wall, screen and, finally, into a sculptural vertical element on the corner of Constitution Hill.

The main building consists of two residential fingers, pinched together at one end. The brick was chosen specifically to blend in with the existing Georgian terraces, while the black Basalt stone reflects the solid stone retaining walls to Broadstone Station and Phibsborough Road.

The student lounge is located on the ground floor and sits within the section of the park which is four metres higher than the entrance from Phibsborough Road. The main staircase takes you up to the first floor,  where you can walk out to Broadstone Park from a rear terrace that acts as the “knuckle” of the scheme, connecting the smaller residential building on Royal Canal Terrace to the main block via a sixty person seminar room. The space moves up to the glazed roof, which naturally lights the space beneath. The fourth floor has an extensive roof terrace, which is accessible by students through a communal reading room. The reading room acts both a place to study and as a city observatory through its panoramic views from the top of Constitution Hill.

Posted by Reflecting City Team on Wednesday, September 17, 2008
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