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the Fitzgerald Chamber

The debating chamber is among the Student Centre’s distinguishing features. The need for a world class debating venue in UCD became ever more apparent as their teams achieved international success despite not having a dedicated facility in which to practice or host. The UCD Debating Chamber takes as its precedent the historic spaces which grew from the rich dialectic tradition at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. These spaces are defined by an insular atmosphere and very high standard of finish. In the Fitzgerald Chamber, iroko panels line the walls and ceiling, complemented by red

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velvet upholstery. A network of hidden staircases and leaning rails provide routes for the spectators and hecklers which have always formed part of competitive debating. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple in Chicago was another very important inspiration for the design. The small suburban church shares with the other precedents a perceptible introversion and use of precious materials, but exhibits a unique geometric rigour and understanding of the human experience of its inhabitation. These latter traits have been explored in the Fitzgerald Chamber through careful regulation of light

ingress, a clear distinction between interior and exterior and a haptic richness of the individual finishes. Technical performance and material characteristics have been considered carefully in terms of their versatility, specifically in the chamber’s acoustic isolation and low reverberation time, which also lend it musical performance. Tiered seating for opposing debating teams can retract automatically, creating a modest proscenium for private rehearsals and intimate performances.

Profile for Fitzgerald Kavanagh and Partners

A Day in the Life: UCD Student Centre by Fitzgerald Kavanagh and Partners  

A Day in the Life is a simple book about a complex building. The title comes from the body of research which prefaced the new Student Centre...

A Day in the Life: UCD Student Centre by Fitzgerald Kavanagh and Partners  

A Day in the Life is a simple book about a complex building. The title comes from the body of research which prefaced the new Student Centre...

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