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IRISH NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL GARDENS BRIDGE

Design Competition

Client: The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and the Office of Public Works (OPW)

Dates: December 2018 – February 2019

Category: Public Space / Bridge

In collaboration with Felix Xylander Swannell Architects, Daniel Coyne and Noel Moran.

 

The formal nature of Lutyens’ National War Memorial Gardens sits in strong contrast to Phoenix Park to the north. The first is a carefully orchestrated landscape of remembrance and contemplation, currently slightly disconnected from the city, the latter is Europe’s largest recreational urban park enjoyed on a regular basis by Dublin’s inhabitants. The requirement for a new entrance and pedestrian and cyclist bridge at the Chapelizod Road site not only provides the opportunity of connecting the two and embedding the War Memorial Gardens within everyday life, it also allows for the transformation of this small and hemmed-in site to become an important junction within the city. The proposal is conceived as an extension of Lutyens’s original plan to include and connect the whole valley section and not only provides a spanning element across the water but also a significant piece of architecture that addresses the Chapelizod Road, accentuates it as another moment in the landscape and hints towards a future proposal to link up with the park above.

 
 
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The grand axis of the existing gardens is continued across the river. However, a new section is articulated that mirrors the existing slope up from the domed temple to the main plateau of the gardens and aims towards a point on the escarpment just above the stone retaining wall on Chapelizod Road. Thus the new bridge rises gently and almost imperceptibly as it leaves the circular temple plaza on newly made up ground on the southern bank, lifting the visitor across the Liffey and towards the lower slopes of Phoenix Park. Over the length of the bridge this 1 in 60 incline gives enough height by the time it meets the road to invert the timber spanning structure to form a new entrance and temple/barn roof. The ramp down from the bridge to the road echoes the steps up to the plateau on the southern side while Lutyens’s Stone of Remembrance is recalled in a new memorial stone set beneath the barn roof. The framing of the existing garden elements by the new structure extends the original design all the way to the road and a future proposal for a belvedere accessed up a new staircase from Chapelizod Road corresponds directly with the steps around the Great Cross on the other side of the valley.

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