The new DIT Grangegorman Campus reimagines Dublin’s north inner city.
Dublin Institute of Technology’s formidable new Grangegorman Campus will soon accommodate as many as 20,000 students. Thanks to meticulous planning and a comprehensive vision of what the whole area will become, this dramatic swelling of Grangegorman’s population is being anticipated with something resembling excitement.
DIT, now a constituent college of the multi-campus university TU Dublin, has a long history in the city, dating back some 125 years. But the Grangegorman site has played an important role in Dubliners’ lives for even longer, particularly when it came to state institutions. It has played home to a workhouse, prison and psychiatric facility, and as such was walled-off from the local community, and the world at large.
For the new DIT campus, the site has been radically reimagined and fully reintegrated; initial responses have been massively positive. Indeed the Grangegorman Development Agency received the Royal Planning Institute’s President’s Award for its work on the project, with the RPI commending the project as being ‘an exemplar of quality master planning and attention to detail’. Coming in for particular praise was the fact that the planning will directly serve different socio-economic groups, with good public transport connections and high quality heritage conservation.
The first students arrived back in 2014 when their programmes were transferred from previous DIT locations at Mountjoy Square, Portland Row and Temple Bar. In September 2020 programmes currently operating in the Cathal Brugha Street Campus, the Kevin Street Campus and part of the Rathmines Campus will be transferred to two new structures known as the Central and East Quads. At this stage, the number of students and staff on the Grangegorman campus will rise to around 10k+ . What’s most apparent already is the diverse and multicultural nature of the student body, in tune with the surrounding area’s constantly evolving pan-global community.
The successful assimilation of this particular population explosion into what is (or at least was) a relatively quiet corner of north inner city Dublin is at the heart of what the Grangegorman Development Agency hopes to achieve. It’s in the process of creating a new go-to destination, the Grangegorman Urban Quarter, an area anchored in education but focussed on health and community, with TU Dublin, the HSE plus local residents and business owners actively directing its future. If nearby Stoneybatter can be reborn as the chicest corner of the city, while retaining its unique flavour, then Grangegorman is more than ready to make the leap.
One good example of the project’s dedication to inclusivity and connectivity is the new pedestrian walkway for students, linking up the campus and the nearby Prussia Street Shopping Centre. The campus is open to the public and the playground inside the gate at Fingal Place is now a favourite destination for local children.
Although this is still a work in progress, what’s already in place is an exciting indication of things to come. The Phoenix Care Centre, a state of the art mental health facility, was the first building to open on the campus in 2013. The Greenway Hub, home to DIT Hothouse, which supports startups, and to the Environmental Sustainability and Health Institute, is up and running, as is an Educate Together primary school and a new HSE Primary Care Centre. Watch this space.
Claire is a Dublin-based journalist who contributes to a wide range of publications including The Irish Independent and Image magazine. She occasionally reviews restaurants, and loves a good crime novel.
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