BOTANY SQUARE, TCD
BOTANY SQUARE, TCD
Botany Square, Trinity College Dublin, marks the first major landscape scheme implemented on campus in the last 150 years. Much of the recent expansion of TCD has been concentrated along the Westland Row/Pearse St., and this new Square creates a nodal point along an east/west pedestrian route through the campus, linking Front Square through to the Science Gallery. TCD wanted to provide a fifth square as part of a necklace of historic quadrangles – Front Square, Library Square, New Square, Fellows’ Square, and now Botany Square.
The historic buildings of the Botany and Physics Departments, and the contemporary SNIAMS structure form arms to enclose Botany Square to the north, south and east, to which it forms a kind of outdoor breathing space, addressing College Park and the rugby pitch to the west.
Botany Square integrates various layers of landscape appropriate to the sensitive nature of the site, its enclosing architecture and context. Emphasis was placed on the creation of a unique sense of place, respecting the historic college setting. The new square provides a focal point, offering opportunity to sit on benches, lie on grass, as well as a node on a new east-west pedestrian route, improving permeability and linkages through the college.
The layout is informed by the window-wall patterns and orthogonal arrangement of the surrounding buildings, and folds these down onto the floor of the square. The grid generates a structured design which sits comfortably as a contemporary patch in the college fabric.
Plinth-like granite benches pop up out of the floor of the square to guide pedestrian movement, to create seating areas for quick chats and informal learning, oriented around a patchwork of grass lawns, bands of perennial plantings and broadleaf trees to create a sense of privacy and connect with nature. Butterflies, bees, birds and hoverflies are drawn into the garden by plant species, selected to provide a pollen and nectar source from spring through to winter.