Architecture can establish the visual character of the built environment, but the landscape or setting upon which buildings are placed equally defines the look and feel of an area. The West Innovation District is situated on the edge of wide open agricultural areas with woodland, wetland, fencerows and minor water features. The West Innovation District provides an opportunity to build upon existing parkland to create an experience unlike other areas of Dublin.
Landscape of the West Innovation District
Design emphasis for the West Innovation District should take cues from the surrounding area and blend public space design with the private landscape. Design character in the West Innovation District should convey the more naturalized feel of the area’s two stream corridors to contrast with the contemporary nature of buildings. As part of the design intent to establish a contradiction or interplay between man and nature, the following design components should be considered with every project:
- Extending planting design from rights-of-way into private space with an emphasis on low-mow or links grasses to create a seamless, natural appearance.
- Using ribbons or swaths of naturalized plantings and grasses perpendicular to the right-of-way to create a progression of spaces as one travels along roads, multi-use paths or sidewalks.
- Using mass naturalized plantings to establish a framework for defining formal spaces in key locations around buildings, limiting maintenance needs.
- Using defined, formal spaces to highlight building entrances and programmed space in a way that sharply contrasts with the natural character.
- Focusing on native plant species and plantings in informal clumps and clusters to enhance the informal feel of the landscape instead of evenly spaced plantings.
- Planting informal fencerows and hedgerows where necessary to define spaces and shape or direct views.
- Use existing fencerows and riparian corridors as a way to extend natural features into the design of a site.
General Site Considerations
The West Innovation District is an area focused on the character of a natural landscape and design is intended to sharply contrast with other business neighborhoods in Dublin. The Bridge Street District, as an example, is expected to have very intense development patterns with urban character. Other areas will include traditional suburban design patterns with setbacks, buffering and a formal, maintained landscaping. The West Innovation District is intended to foster suburban-like development patterns with a character that will sharply contrast the Bridge Street District. The West Innovation District will be visually unique, given its location along the western edge of the city near open space and wetlands.
The context of the West Innovation District is a natural landscape with more traditional suburban approaches to site layout. Planning considerations for development projects should include the following general components to foster a cohesive technology-focused employment area:
- Industrial flex space and research manufacturing facilities should place office components in locations that can be prominently designed and visible from the public realm.
- Employee and service parking should be located to the side and rear of buildings to limit visual impacts.
- Service docks and loading areas, particularly those with large overhead doors should be placed to the side and rear (preferred) to limit visibility from public streets. Shared service areas screened by architectural components are also preferred.
- Limited visitor parking may be placed in front of buildings, but should be screened by areas of links or low-mow grasses and additional plantings to reduce visual impact and maintain focus on building architecture.
- Primary entrances should be oriented toward and/or visible from the public street to enhance identity and wayfinding.
- All facilities must provide bicycle racks to promote the area’s emphasis on bicycle access, walkability and alternative commuting.