UCD €48m plan hit after leaning towers of Belfield 'folly' dig

An artist’s impression of the €48m plans at UCD to expand the campus at the college

Sean McCarthaigh

Plans by University College Dublin for a major expansion of its Belfield campus, including a €48m landmark building at its main entrance on the N11, are on hold after a local objected.

An appeal has been lodged against Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council's granting of planning permission for the first phase of UCD's Future Campus project.

If approved, the €180m development will provide 2.25 hectares of new state-of-the-art, teaching, learning and research facilities.

The planning application by UCD under appeal only seeks approval for landscaping, the demolition of several small buildings and the construction of a new arrival plaza as well as a reconfiguration of the internal road network on the campus.

But the appeal to An Bord Pleanala will effectively put the entire project on hold for at least four months.

The others, for which planning permission has also been granted, relate to an iconic new UCD Centre for Creativity as well as another large building - the Centre for Future Learning.


The design features angled 49m-tall hexagonal towers and was inspired by the Giant's Causeway in Co Antrim.

But the appellant, Daniel Brennan, claims UCD's plan for the campus should be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment. Describing the UCD Centre for Creativity as "a form of modern folly", Mr Brennan claimed the upper floors of the leaning towers appeared to have "minimal practical use".

"This totally unnecessary tilt greatly adds to cost and to the environmental impact through much greater use of steel and concrete, releasing much more carbon into the atmosphere than vertical towers or no towers," said Mr Brennan.

He also criticised plans to cut down 177 trees and the threat to four species of bat.

A student society has also expresssed concerns about the university's proposal to consolidate its architecture, planning and civil engineering departments from eight buildings into two buildings. A decision on the appeal is due by November 11.