Building with a sign saying Trinity Business School and the Irish translation, as well as a wall covered in plants.; Building with a sign saying Trinity Business School and the Irish translation, as well as a wall covered in plants.;

Trinity Business School, Dublin

Engineering a new sustainable business school on Ireland’s oldest university campus

Creating a new business school for Ireland’s oldest university, Trinity College Dublin, was always going to be a challenging project: how do you engineer the refurbishment of existing historical buildings and the new build of a 11,714m², near-zero energy building within a constrained, complex site?

Located near Dublin’s financial district, Trinity Business School looks to connect students and faculty members with the city’s thriving business community. With a simple and sustainable design, the new six-storey main building includes an innovation and entrepreneurial hub, a 600-seat auditorium, restaurants, smart classrooms and a broad range of flexible teaching spaces.

Arup was appointed to provide civil, structural, façade and geotechnical engineering. Optimising the building’s energy performance and enhancing user-comfort was prioritised in this project: from maximising natural daylight and ventilation with a large central atrium, to reducing overheating and glare issues with an innovative double-skin façade.

Project Summary


11,714 new academic facility

2,441refurbished Georgian structures

70living green wall enhances sustainability and wellness

Façade design optimises building’s energy performance

Trinity Business School has prioritised energy efficiency, with a resilient design that has helped it achieve a Nearly Zero Energy Building performance. Designed to minimise maintenance requirements, the façade plays an important role in the building’s overall energy strategy. The façade was designed to overcome challenges such as direct proximity to a busy four-lane street, elevated railway lines and a large glazed south-facing atrium.

Our façade designers maximised the amount of natural light and air entering the building, while controlling solar heat gain and other factors such as external noise and dust.

Feature-planted brise soleil on Trinity Business School facade. Feature-planted brise soleil on Trinity Business School facade.

The double-skin façade incorporates manual opening and closing mechanisms, providing flexibility to eliminate glare, control the amount of shading and achieve optimal temperatures for user comfort.

Planted horizontal brise-soleil screens deflect sunlight, helping to reduce heat gain in the atrium and enhance user wellness.

Innovative design on an active university campus

Although sensitive to its surroundings, the new building is located on a challenging site, neighbouring modern structures, Georgian buildings, national rail infrastructure and the college rugby pitch. The site is also bounded by a busy network of pedestrian routes and campus servicing arteries.

3D point cloud surveys and the use of Building Information Models played important roles in developing a clear vision for the operation of the campus during the demolition, construction and operational phases.

As is often the case for expanding university campuses, there was limited space available for the new building, so it was important for our design to maximise the value of the site. Extensive structural design and sensitivity analysis, as well as collaboration with Irish Rail engineers and sophisticated soil structure interaction modelling, enabled the design of a double-height basement beside a 200-year-old railway viaduct. This unlocked valuable real estate for a 600-seat auditorium between basement and first-floor levels, providing an open, multi-functional space at the heart of the business school.

Sensitive refurbishment of protected structures

The renovation and integration of six protected structures on Pearse Street formed a key part of this project. Breathing new life into the protected buildings, these Georgian houses were restored to create student accommodation and restaurant space which will help to reanimate Pearse Street.

Our team followed conservation guidance best practice to preserve the buildings’ heritage, both with respect to sensitive renovation and robust protection of the building structure during the execution of major construction works in the adjacent new build. Where possible, existing steelwork was remediated and the historical stair wells were reinstated, as well as reinstating natural slate to the traditional cut roofs.

Reinforcement works included underpinning the buildings on new foundations. Renovating the protected structures in line with modern accessibility and safety requirements and delivering universal access to multiple levels enabled us to bring these buildings back into use and give them a new lease of life.

The Business School project gave us the opportunity to carve out a site and add a substantial building on a campus which has been at the forefront of education in Ireland for over 400 years. As multidisciplinary designers, we embraced this chance to create a class-leading university building for future generations. ” Picture of Adrian Ryan, Associate at Arup Adrian Ryan Associate Director, Structures