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Dublin, Ireland, 16 August 2018, University College Dublin (UCD) today announced that NovaUCD, the University’s Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs, is to expand its capacity to house early-stage start-ups by over 50% with a €6.5 million development project.

The project to renovate and extend the facility’s east courtyard commenced recently and is expected to be completed within 12 months.

NovaUCD, based on UCD’s Belfield campus, officially opened in October 2003 and is currently home to over 25 start-up companies. These companies have either spun-out of UCD research programmes or have spun-in to locate at NovaUCD in order to collaborate with the University.

Since opening the hub has supported some 225 companies, which have raised over €200 million in equity funding, to develop and grow. As the home of UCD’s technology transfer team, NovaUCD has also registered some 750 invention disclosures, filed over 250 priority patent applications and licenced over 170 technologies to companies such as Amdocs, Amryt and Glanbia.

Tom Flanagan, UCD’s Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation said, “The NovaUCD facility has been running at full capacity for several years now. There is an ongoing and significant demand from ambitious entrepreneurs who want to locate their start-ups at NovaUCD to leverage our ecosystem of experienced mentors, founders, alumni, investors and sponsors who can help them grow their businesses globally. By joining the NovaUCD community these start-ups can also take advantage of access to our world-class researchers, facilities and talent across the UCD campus.”

“The development of the east courtyard will enable us to increase our capacity by over 50% and when completed NovaUCD will be able to accommodate up to 450 people.”

NovaUCD is located in a mid-18th century house, formerly known as Merville House. It currently comprises of a restored main building along with the restoration and extension of the west courtyard. The current expansion will see the renovation and extension of a second, or east, courtyard.

NovaUCD currently has 1,425m2 of licensable space in a total of 40 units, labs and co-working space. The newly developed courtyard will result in 800m2 of additional licensable space, and will include a total of 23 business units, labs and co-working space.

The internal courtyard area will be designed as a new meeting and social space for client companies.

Some of the best known start-ups supported by NovaUCD include spin-out companies, ChangingWorlds, BiancaMed, Equinome and Logentries and spin-in companies, EnBIO and Genomics Medicine Ireland.

Among the companies currently located at NovaUCD are; Carrick Therapeutics, OncoMark and THEYA Healthcare.

Six private sector sponsors; AIB, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers and Xilinx contributed 75% of the €10 million raised to develop the first two phases of NovaUCD, with the balance of funds provided by Enterprise Ireland and UCD.

The architects for this current project are Kavanagh Tuite Architects, who were architects for the original design of the NovaUCD facility.




Planning permission has been granted for the redevelopment 30 – 32 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2.

The building, which used to be owned by U2, is one of the last remaining original warehouse buildings on Dublin’s quays.

Originally used for the importation of tropical fruit into Ireland, the building, which is being developed by Irish property fund IPUT, will deliver over 70,000 sq. ft. of offices, and will include a new six storey office block at the rear of the building.

The design incorporates the addition of two floating, fully glazed office floors, which will provide panoramic views over the River Liffey.

“The Tropical Fruit Warehouse will be an exceptional building, a cutting-edge, efficient modern office space which also incorporates a thoughtful restoration of the historic warehouse buildings,” Niall Gaffney, IPUT chief executive, said.

“We are excited about the unique letting opportunity that the Tropical Fruit Warehouse represents which will further support the anticipated 20pc growth in our dividends over the next 3-5 years.”

In a statement today IPUT said that the original warehouse would be sensitively restored, and the development will also incorporate a “significant investment” for the general public, creating a pedestrian connection to Whitaker Square from the River Liffey activated by a café and an artist’s studio at street level.

The development has been designed by Henry J Lyons Architects, and construction is due to commence in the latter half of this year, with the building ready for market delivery in the latter half of 2020.



London mayor Sadiq Khan has approved the flight of a six-metre-high blimp, which depicts Donald Trump as a cartoon baby, over the Houses of Parliament during the American president’s visit to the UK this week.

The orange Trump Baby is due to fly for two hours over Parliament Square Gardens, next to the Houses of Parliament, on 13 July 2018, in protest of Trump’s visit.

Environmental campaigner Leo Murray, one of the designers behind the project, said the aim was to create a symbol of the public opposition to Trump’s visit.

Nearly two million people signed a petition calling for the visit to be stopped, stating that it would “cause embarrassment to her majesty the queen”.

“For me, in the face of a humanitarian disaster like climate change or Donald Trump, it really is a case of having to laugh, or cry. So I choose laughter,” said Murray,” in a statement published by UK newspaper Metro.

The comical blimp sees Trump reimagined as a baby with “tiny hands and a malevolent, constipated expression on his face”, dressed in a nappy and clutching an iPhone.

It will be flown between 9:30 and 11:30am on 13 July 2018.

“Ridiculing tyrants and despots is a proud British tradition,” Murray said. “If this generation is going to have to fight fascism again, we may as well have a bit of a laugh while we are doing it.”

The creators funded the Trump Baby blimp with a crowdfunding campaign. After receiving numerous supporters and reaching its initial goal funding, the project has been extended, with the blimp set to make a world tour after its London debut.

“He needs to be run out of town, figuratively at least. But how? This is a man who lacks the capacity for moral shame. Liberal outrage just makes him smirk harder,” wrote Murray.

“To really get through to Trump, you have to get down on his level and talk to him in a language he understands: personal insults.”

According to Murray, initially officials weren’t keen on the creators’ application to fly the unflattering blimp, claiming that it was “art”. They said inflatables did not qualify as legitimate protest.

However, the Trump Baby makers argued, “there was nothing in the rules about not flying inflatables.” A petition to the major to let the blimp fly was signed by over 10,000 people, with the mayor subsequently granting permission for the flight.

“The mayor supports the right to peaceful protest and understands that this can take many different forms,” a spokesman for Khan told the Guardian.

The blimp will not stand alone, as campaign groups and trade unions have organised a host of protests to follow Trump across the UK during his visit.




Dublin City University (DCU) has opened an €11m expansion to its engineering building as part of its ongoing campus development.

The four-story extension to its Stokes Building will provide lecturing facilities for up to 1,400 engineering students, as well as additional research space.

DCU is currently ranked in the top-300 universities globally for engineering and technology and is among the world’s leading institutions for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

The new Stokes wing was funded by the European Investment Bank (EIB), which offers long-term loans to higher education for major infrastructural projects.

DCU is mid-way through a €230m five-year campus development project, partly funded by a 23-year €76m loan from the EIB.

Opening the wing, junior minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor said the level of development underway at DCU reflected the scale and ambition of DCU, which played a pivotal role, nationally and internationally in STEM education and research.

Irish Independent



RIAI award-winning architecture firm sees some of Ireland’s neglected towns and villages becoming ‘enviable places’ as urban regeneration takes hold NOJI Architects wins prestigious RIAI award

“We are on the cusp of something very exciting and positive,” according to John Monahan of NOJI Architects, the Sligo-based architecture and design studio which won the RIAI Future Award in the highly prestigious 2018 RIAI Architecture Awards.

John Monahan and Elizabeth Clyne of NOJI Architects with their RIAI Future Award from the 2018 RIAI Architecure Awards

John founded the company in Dublin eight years ago before moving back to Sligo in 2015 where he partnered with Elizabeth Clyne. The move resulted in the practice focusing on an interesting mix of residential and commercial projects with a growing emphasis on urban regeneration — such as The Building Block, the innovative co-working space in Sligo of which John is a co-founder alongside Denise Rushe.

The success of The Building Block led to other significant projects including designing urban spaces in Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo to rejuvenate the town centre, acting as a focal point for the town and as an amphitheatre for the Summer Music Festival.


According to Elizabeth: “You start to have a direct impact on towns making the most of themselves. These are dream projects where you have social influence. Towns and villages across Ireland have the opportunity to live up to their own potential through urban regeneration. We feel like we’re at the fulcrum of change.”

John cites inward investment, the lifestyle benefits of smaller towns, the impossibility of finding affordable accommodation in Dublin as well as a focus on urban regeneration as key factors that promise significant development for other parts of the country. “Urban design has really come into focus and this could see many of the towns and villages across Ireland that suffered due to the financial crisis reimagine their uses and become enviable pedestrian-friendly places where people want to go with their families.”

The RIAI Future Award recognises an emerging talent in architecture with up to 10 years’ experience. In giving the award to John and Elizabeth for their entry Design for a Changing Country – which discussed their active engagement with social, cultural and economic issues in Irish towns – the RIAI said their work stood out for its social dimension and diversity.

The pair believe that good design is the answer to our towns and villages suffering after the recession, saying that it is time to rethink the basic functions of our buildings and uses of our urban environments.

NOJI has received commendations from the RIAI for individual residential projects twice before but the Future Award takes all of their work into account and winning one of the main categories at the RIAI awards is a rare achievement for a firm based outside Ireland’s major cities.

“It’s the highest accolade in Ireland and one that springboards NOJI Architects onto a coveted list of practices,” John says.



One of Zaha Hadid’s final projects, a luxury-hotel in Macau, has finally opened its doors and it’s certainly an eyecatching piece. It was one of the last projects that Pritzker-Prize-winning architect, worked on before her death in 2016.

The sculptural, jaw-dropping, 40-story hotel bears all the hallmarks of the late architects’ signature style, with futuristic curves and a skeletal steel structure. It also boasts the world’s first high-rise exoskeleton — a curvaceous lattice-like covering that gives the building its cawl-like binding punctuated by three giant holes that puncture the twisting geometric facade.

Morpheus Hotel is the latest addition to Macau’s City of Dreams, an integrated resort that includes a casino, two theaters, a shopping district, 20 restaurants and four hotels on the Cotai Strip.

The striking 150,000-square-metre structure cost £84 million to build and serves as the new flagship hotel for the resort, featuring 770 guest rooms, suites and sky villas, civic spaces, meeting and events facilities, gaming rooms, a spa, rooftop pool, lobby atrium and three world-class restaurants from chefs such as Alain Ducasse and Pierre Hermé.

Taking inspiration from the ancient Chinese tradition of jade carving, the facade of the building has been carved with voids, thus creating a net-like exterior which lets natural light pour through.

Sleek and sinuous, and with design defined by flowing curves, the world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton has a structural geometric grid that negates the need for supporting internal walls or columns that would otherwise clutter the hotel’s interior.

The result is uninterrupted internal space. The building’s clever structure also maximizes the number of hotel rooms with views, guaranteeing an equal room distribution on either side of the building, with corner suites offering views of both the internal atrium and the city beyond.

Morpheus’ building is formed of two circulation cores that connect at the base via a podium, separate, then merge again at rooftop level.

The exoskeleton essentially wraps around a pair of towers and a stunning, cathedral-like central atrium that soars to a height of 35 meters, while its ground level is connected to the City of Dreams resort’s surrounding three-story podium.

The atrium runs the height of the hotel between these two towers, with the hotel’s restaurant lounges and bars located on bridges running through this central void.

In the rooms, just about everything you might want to open or close or turn off or on is controlled by iPad. Tap away on the screen and the cur­tains will swish closed and block out the floor-to-ceiling panoramic view.

Hadid has certainly delivered on this latest project, a fitting epitaph for its late designer.




Glasgow School of Art has been destroyed beyond repair, say experts, with the costs of rebuilding estimated at more than £100 million.

The historic building, designed by Scottish architect Charle Rennie Mackintosh, suffered extensive damage from the fire that started on Friday, 15 June 2018.

Glasgow-based architect Alan Dunlop, who visited the site over the weekend, said the destruction caused to the building is “irreparable”.

“Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art is gone,” he told Dezeen.

“It is certainly possible to rebuild but you cannot replicate 110 years of history,” he said. “The students, artists and architects who have worked there, and whose presence permeated the building – that’s what has been lost in the fire.”

“We should resist the calls to rebuild”

Dunlop, who was a student at the Glasgow School of Art and is a visiting professor at Robert Gordon University, Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, claimed the damage is far worse than the school sustained during the previous fire in 2014, which destroyed large sections of the interior.

A reconstruction project following the first fire, costing an estimated £35 million, was expected to complete this year. But Dunlop believes that the same cannot be repeated.

“It has been destroyed by fire, four years after an initial assault,” he said.

“We should resist the calls to rebuild it as before, ‘stone by stone’. That would not be restoration, it would be replication – a process I believe Mackintosh himself would resist, as he was an innovator, not a copyist.”

Damage “much worse” than after previous fire

More than 120 firefighters were called to Glasgow School of Art just before midnight on Friday to tackle the blaze, which spread from the building’s ground floor all the way up to the roof. Firefighters were able to get the fire under control after several hours.

Aerial photographs released shortly after the fire reveal the extensive damage – the roof appears to have been completely destroyed, and many of the floors are burnt out.

Billy Hare, professor in construction management at Glasgow Caledonian University, estimated the cost of rebuilding at more than £100 million.

“The damage to the school of art appeared to be overwhelming, much worse than the last fire from which recovered materials were painstakingly analysed and used in the refurbishment of the building,” he told The Scotsman.

“This sort of project will cost a great deal more than the estimated £35 million after the last fire in May 2014.”

Hare expressed doubts over whether it would be possible to recover the school at all.

“It is sadly questionable what, if anything, will be left that could be salvaged, restored or recreated after this fire,” he told the paper.

“It remains to be seen if it will be possible to retain a facade from the current building. If not, damaged buildings have been taken down almost stone by stone in the past and rebuilt with a new, internal frame.”

Cause of fire unknown

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has confirmed that no casualties were reported.

Martin Hill, the fire officer in charge of the incident, said that thermal-imaging cameras were used to help them assess priorities during a “tactical firefighting operation”.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage, but investigations are underway.




One of Ireland’s oldest racetracks has been given a major boost and more investment pending.

Waterford and Tramore Racecourse’s new €300,000 entrance building has been opened to the public – a development which was 40% funded by Ireland’s horse racing governing body, Horse Racing Ireland.

The development is part of a €1 million upgrade of the seaside track.

Upon opening the new entrance building Horse Racing Ireland CEO Brian Kavanagh said:

“HRI is very happy to support the investment at Tramore through the Racecourse Capital Development scheme.

“I would like to congratulate the team at Tramore for their continuous efforts to deliver customer-facing improvements and industry essential works, enhancing the raceday experience for everyone.”

All 26 racecourses in Ireland were eligible to apply for funding under the scheme with HRI and it is estimated the entire Racecourse Capital Development Fund will support in the region of 1,300 jobs during the course of its completion.

Improvement works include a new main entrance, with automatic turnstiles to facilitate online bookings, two new offices and a state-of-the-art new meeting area.

Racecourse General Manager Sue Phelan said: “We are absolutely delighted with the finished result.”

Along with an upgrade of the middle stand, replacing the commentary and photo finish areas, and a completely new parade ring, the next phase of the €1m works sees major investment in the stable yard.

Tramore celebrated 100 years of racing in 2012 and the racecourse was the very first race meeting of the millennium in Britain or Ireland.

RTE News



Pepita Sierra, better known on social media as @pepitamola, has become the new brand ambassador for market-leading Sintered Stone brand Neolith®.

The three year old’s life has already won over 200,000 followers through an Instagram account on which her mother, Fabiola, narrates the day-to-day of a little girl with Down’s syndrome. Every day she shares her daughter’s zest for life, and the joy and happiness she brings to her family, friend and many fans.

Pepita truly inspires and her story’s honesty and authenticity made her a natural choice when Neolith were looking for the perfect person to front its 2018 marketing campaign.

@pepitamola’s Instagram, with its insightful and heart-warming snapshots of everyday family life, fired the brand’s imagination, influencing the ultimate decision to bring the surface and the social star together.

Working with Pepita, Neolith wants to showcase how its remarkable slabs combine beauty and performance in different residential settings, where both the ordinary and extraordinary happen daily.

By celebrating these moments Neolith also wants to contribute to the awareness and social integration of people with the extra chromosome, T21.

Furthermore, Neolith will donate a part of its 2018 profits to the Pepitamola Foundation whose main objective is to fight for the acceptance and integration of people with different and extraordinary abilities like Pepita.

In the international territories where this campaign will be launching, part of the annual profit in each respective country will also be donated to Down´s syndrome charities.

Commenting on the significance of the appointment to the brand, Neolith’s Mar Esteve Cortes says: “We want to start including people in the residential spaces we use for advertising campaigns, to make them more welcoming and audience-friendly. And in doing so, we wanted to work with real families, the kind of people who bring life to the everyday spaces in which Neolith is specified.”

She continues: “We want people who inspire kindness as well as admiration, who will move our audiences because of their authenticity and originality. Pepita symbolizes everything we believe in and, what’s more, she’s extraordinarily enchanting!”




Education Minister Richard Bruton will today announce plans for 26 primary and 16 post-primary schools, most of which will be in Dublin and its extended commuter belt.

Half the new primary schools will open in September 2019, predominantly in Dublin, but also in Cork, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath and Leixlip and Maynooth in Co Kildare.

Four of the post-primary schools will open in 2019 – in Dublin, Galway city, Laytown, Co Meath and Co Wicklow.

While today’s announcement is concerned with meeting the demand for more schools, deciding what patron body will run them is a separate process.

Parents of pre-school children in the areas involved will be asked for their preference and their views will be key to deciding who is awarded patronage.

Mr Bruton said an online system was being developed to make it easier and more efficient for parents to register their preferred patron and also their preference as to whether the new school should operate through Irish or English.

It is open to any patron to apply to run a new school and, with denominational schools already dominating the landscape, demand in recent years has been overwhelmingly from multi-denominational bodies.






It was announced today that a new large Grade A office development comprising over 26,000 square metres of net lettable floor area in two distinct office blocks has commenced construction in Dublin’s prime Merrion Square area.

The Project will involve the retention and refurbishment of a number of protected Georgian structures and the construction of the two new seven storey office blocks designed by internationally acclaimed Grafton Architects, and O’Mahony Pike Architects.

The redevelopment of ESB’s site on Fitzwilliam Street Lower, which is effectively an entire city block, was given the green light by An Bord Pleanala in late 2015. PJ Hegarty’s were appointed as the main contractors in 2017 and have now cleared the site with excavations begun on basement construction. It is expected that over 500 jobs will be created during the construction which is due to be completed in spring 2020.

ESB will occupy one block for its new Head Office, “Fitzwilliam 27”, which will be approximately 13,500sq m and will house over 1300 staff. The adjacent block, “Fitzwilliam 28”, of approximately 12,500 sq m of prime Grade A sustainable space is to be offered to the market. Property Advisors, Savills and Bannon, have been appointed to secure a suitable tenant, or tenants, and will quote a rent of €619 psm (€57.50 per sq. ft.) based on a single tenancy.

Savills say opportunities for business development and talent acquisition are enhanced by the central location of Fitzwilliam 28. Dublin 2 enjoys the benefit of greater accessibility due to its pivotal position on the city’s transport grid which offers numerous public transport options via road, tram and rail.

Speaking this week, Chairman of Savills Ireland, Roland O’Connell and Lucy Connolly of Bannon commented, “There is simply no similar office development of this scale and flexibility available in the heart of the Georgian core and traditional CBD, close to all amenities and facilities, and certainly not with the sense of place and historic relevance this scheme exudes. With the understandable development constraints inherent in this area of architectural beauty and heritage it is unlikely we will see another new office scheme of this scale developed in this location again.”

Business World



At the recent BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition 2018, Eoin Sheridan, a 2nd year student from Gallen Community School, Co Offaly, won the BT Special Award for Research and Innovation in the Built Environment, presented by the Irish Architecture Foundation.

He also won second place in the Junior Individual Technology category with the same project, A solar thermal collector efficiency measurement device and analysis. Eoin designed a device which could measure the efficacy of domestic solar panels and an app that would enable users to monitor the performance of their solar panels from their phone.

As Eoin told the IAF: “I wanted to investigate the efficacy of the solar panels on our own home in Offaly. After testing with this device I am pleased to report they are as good as they were when they were installed fourteen years ago. I feel solar panels are not used as much as they should be and I hope my device will give people the confidence to use them more.”

It was notable that quite a number of high achieving projects at the BTYSTE took a look at the built environment through research or the invention of new tools and apparatuses. 1st year Cavan student Aimee Reilly established the positive effects of an awareness campaign on safe and correct use of the roundabouts in her local town, winning third place in the Junior Individual Social & Behavioural Sciences category, while Michael Lough of Scoil Mhuire gan Smal, Roscommon, came third in the Intermediate Individual Social & Behavioural Sciences category for his research into attitudes to public green space in rural Irish towns, focussing on use of parks in Longford Town.

Danielle Greasley and Jenny Seery spent a number of years measuring CO2 levels in the classrooms of their school, Athlone Community College, and established the effects high CO2 levels have on memory and retention among students, winning second place in the Intermediate Group Chemical, Physical & Mathematical Sciences category.

January/February Issue Plan Magazine