Launch of Trinity Estates Strategy

Innovation Academy, Foster Place

Wednesday 21st November 2018, 3.30pm

Good afternoon,

And welcome everyone.

Welcome to all Trinity staff who have made the effort to be here, and welcome to our visitors from Dublin City Council, the Heritage Council, architectural firms, and Turnberry Consultants.

This is the first Estates Strategy that Trinity has ever launched, so it’s a big deal for the college, and also for Dublin city, because of course Trinity is central to the city – and that’s geographically, culturally, socially and economically ‘central’.

This year Trinity was ranked by Times Higher Education one of the ten most beautiful campuses in Europe, and the Book of Kells has long been a UNESCO treasure. In that sense the campus is a heritage place which we, the current generation of staff and students, are ‘looking after’, so to speak, for future generations.

But Trinity is more than a heritage and visitor attraction. It’s Ireland’s leading centre of research, scholarship and education; it’s a model for sustainability; it’s a centre for innovation, having launched more spin-outs than any other Irish university; it’s a cultural centre for drama, art, and exhibitions. And it’s a huge employer in the city centre.

One cannot imagine Dublin without Trinity and that’s been the case for hundreds of years. So it’s vital that Trinity works with neighbouring communities and with Dublin City Council and the Heritage Council to ensure the best for the city.

In short, the Trinity Estates Strategy doesn’t only concern the college community. Therefore, we’re delighted to be welcoming our partners here today, and also I think it’s appropriate that we’re launching this Strategy in Foster Place because Trinity now extends around the city – up Pearse Street to Grand Canal Dock and also to Nassau Street, Fenian Street, Burgh Quay and here to Foster Place.

The Bursar, Professor Veronica Campbell, will be presenting to you shortly the main features of the Estates Strategy and Paul Roberts will be talking about international trends in university campuses, and including a historic overview of the development of Trinity’s campus from 1592. I don’t want to reprise what they will say. Let me just make a few observations.

Le Corbusier once described the complex world of a University as “a city in itself”, with many diverse requirements which must be balanced.

The Estates Strategy presents a suite of projects and programmes that aim to achieve such balance, serving the needs of education, research and community.

What we launch today is an integrated proposal to allow the campus to continue to evolve and support its mission by:

  1. improving the efficiency and quality of learning spaces;
  2. introducing adaptive re-use of buildings to meet future requirements;
  3. sensitively upgrading heritage buildings;
  4. supporting growth areas and;
  5. positioning the campus for the future.

This multifaceted focus means that the Estates Strategy incorporates exciting new capital development projects like the Trinity Business School and student residences at Printing House Square, which will be delivered next year, and the E3 Learning Foundry, the Trinity St James Cancer Institute and new projects for the Library, which will be delivered over the next few years.

The Estates Strategy isn’t just about these flagship projects; it’s about making the best possible use of our existing spaces, and that’s a sustainability issue, as well as an efficiency issue. It’s less glamorous, you might say, then putting up new state-of-the-art buildings but it’s just as important.

It’s the nature of universities that they tend to under-use spaces and facilities. This has to do with the multitude of activities that go on, and the way that disciplines are managed in self-contained schools and departments, which are each run differently.

So this Estates Strategy is very timely and we look forward to Veronica highlighting its main features. I want to take this opportunity to thank her for her really outstanding work, and Turnberry Consultants, who are not only experts on estates matters but also bring valuable insights on international trends on campus developments.

And I want to thank the many members of our College Community who participated in the consultation. I know that your support and insights have been invaluable. Trinity belongs to all of us who work and study and research here, so I thank you for taking the time to think about how we can make our beautiful campus and our off-campus developments work better for everyone.

As we enter the 2020s, it’s an exciting time for the university. We look forward to stunning new buildings opening, and we look forward to a radically improved use of space so that we can continue to deliver our mission in its entirety.

Thank you.


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