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The Habistrata – a concept for future living in Duplin

The Summary
In the week that sees the launch of The National Planning Framework while the Housing Crisis continues unabated, a debate and long term vision for the future expansion of Dublin is long overdue. The following concept is a novel approach to high rise development (without reliance on apartment living) which proposes waterfront vertical suburbs in Dublin’s Docklands and a new city link to Dollymount Strand. Bright Design Architects have spent the last three months driving this idea as part of the Evolo International Skyscraper Concept Competition.

The Key Stats

• 112 floors / 805m (top of crane);
• 1260 housing units over 84 floors;
• 195,000m2 non-residential / civic uses over 15 double floors;
• 38,000 m2 of elevated parks;
• Public funicular (simultaneous up / down) serving main floors.
• Construction Period – 7-10 years (on-gong renovation thereafter)

The Detail + Concept
Like most cities Dublin continues to spread evermore outwards. It now needs to expand upwards. Living, working, recreation and services need co- location on prime city centre brownfield lands at densities not seen before. The aversion to apartment living and high rise development needs a tailored Irish solution to a global problem and one that is sustainable. The goal for many in Dublin remains house ownership and the ability to adapt or extend this property over time to suit changing circumstances. Equally important is the front and rear garden and a setting that promotes a sense of neighbourhood and community. These are aspects of planned suburbs that have always existed in Ireland from the expansion of suburbs of Georgian Dublin to the 20th century housing developments built in response to population growth.

The Habistrata proposes a model for living in Dublin which looks towards the 22nd century. A vertical framework infrastructure is provided by the state, conceived of as a long term building project, which is ever changing and ever developing. The expansion of these vertical suburbs along the north docks of Dublin will create a south facing network of waterfront living, cultural activities and recreation. Key to this master plan concept is a new bridge link connecting the city to the 5km long Dollymount Strand.
The state, as developer, can choose to sell plots to the private market (freehold or leasehold), provide social housing or generate income from the private rental sector depending on market and societal demand. This combined revenue in conjunction with traditional municipal taxes serve to part fund the infrastructure.

Within this vertical framework, plots are provided of a fixed dimension and height – similar to a standard 3 bed suburban semi-detached plot. Depending on need, multiple plots can be purchased side by side or above each other or both. The plot is then developed according to means with the ability to extend or alter the property over time.

All housing units are own door and allow for a front and rear garden – sized to suit preference and orientation. A dedicated construction core and crane allow for lifelong renovations. The result is a neighbourhood created by and shaped by its residents which will change over the decades to reflect changing needs and trends. This is similar to the transformation that traditional suburbs have and continue to undergo with extensions and infill development.

Each floor contains between 15 and 20 units giving it the size of a typical cul- de-sac where all neighbours can potentially all know one another. The means of vertical and horizontal circulation encourages circulation within ‘streets’ without the windowless corridors associated with apartment living. Areas of each floor are left un-built to provide small scale neighbourhood corner parks and playgrounds. Larger areas of open space link several local neighbourhoods together to create a wider sense of place. Vertical circulation through the linked green spaces is encouraged with longer journeys undertaken on a scheduled communal funicular service – one going up as the other comes down.

Interspersed between each of the residential zones is a non-residential or civic use. This can vary from shops to recreation, nursing home to healthcare and office to schools. The larger floor plates provide the core structure and supporting key areas of open space above. They also serve as way-finding devices and landmarks. The attraction throughout is the access to citywide panoramic views and uninterrupted sunrise and sunset.

The sheer height is in recognition of the ever increasing value and scarcity of land. This is an iconic gesture towards a cyclic housing shortage problem which needs a dramatic shift in public consensus to deliver. It has to be accepted by the citizens and created by the citizens to succeed and be sustainable on a long term and inter-generational basis.

Permission to re-produce high resolution images once credited:
Copyright 2018 of Bright Design Architects / 3D Design Bureau / Barrow Coakley Photography