Dublin City Council has announced details of a visionary new project for the city centre – the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter. The development will involve the construction of a new and innovative Dublin City Library on the site of Colaiste Mhuire onParnell Square. The new CityLibrary and the existing spectacular Hugh Lane Gallerywill be connected by a civic plaza, creating a new intercultural district for Dublin.
The project will fulfil the city’s ambitions for a ‘Civic Spine’ connecting the capital’s key historic places. It will be a new public landmark intended to inspire physical and economic renewal. Seed capital for the project is being provided by international real estate investment and services company, Kennedy Wilson on a philanthropic basis. The company, which has its main European office in Dublin, will also lead further required fund raising and provide expertise to assist in management of the development. Preliminary estimates for the full development cost are €60 million. Public consultation to explore how the cultural quarter can realise its potential for positive impact will commence shortly.
Dublin City Architect, Ali Grehan says: “The Parnell Square Cultural Quarter will be at the heart of the cultural life of the capital, connecting and consolidating the Civic Spine which is a cornerstone of city development policy. The Civic Spine is a route which includes the Grafton Street and Henry Street prime retail areas, important third level institutions and major cultural and tourism destinations. The Parnell Square Cultural Quarter will be a landmark destination which will complete the Spine at its northern end and will be the connector for extending this route north into the new Dublin Institute of Technology campus at Grangegorman. It will appeal to people of all ages with a particular emphasis on creative opportunities for young people. The development will be a fusion of contemporary and historic architecture unique to Dublin.”
The Parnell Square Cultural Quarter project will see the development of a new city library on the site of Colaiste Mhuire, the re-development of the former Colaiste Mhuire buildings to form the entrance to the new City library and the provision of public rooms for a variety of cultural uses – from music, media, craft and design. 20-21 Parnell Squarewill also form part of the cultural complex and a pedestrian plaza at the north end of Parnell Square will create a new public events space in front of the cultural buildings.
The public is being encouraged to participate in the consultation process around the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter. A series of public meetings and workshops are being planned to help develop a shared understanding of the expectations and needs of all stakeholders; from individuals, community groups, and public representatives to cultural promoters, educational institutions and businesses. These meetings will take place in tandem with the commissioning of the design and will inform the final design brief.