North Bull Island Discovery Centre: 360 Degrees.

North Bull Island discovery center project

A fascinating proposal for a Discovery Centre in Dublin’s Bull Island. Architect Maxime Laroussi explains to us the design process behind this creative building concept.

Project Box

Maxime Laroussi founder of Urban Agency
Maxime Laroussi explains the design process behind Urban Agency Architects proposal for Bull Island Masterplan and Discovery Centre.

*The public tender for the design of the Discovery Centre was subsequently awarded to Howley Hayes Architects 

Bull Island Nature REserve

Bull Island is National Bird Sanctuary, a biosphere reserve, a National Nature Reserve, a Special Protection Area under the EU Birds Directive and a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive, while also being the subject of a Special Amenity Area Order.

The proximity of the site to the city creates significant pressure on its ecology. An ‘Ecology Axis’ runs from Raheny and St Annes Park across the causeway to the sea, and an ‘Axis of Recreational Activity’ is centered on the North Bull Wall, with the areas in between reserved for the protection of the flora and fauna particular to this special landscape.

Check out the urban agency website to see more of their work!

Location 360

Location 360 drawing

The specific location of the  Discovery Centre will facilitate the management infrastructure for the wetlands and the island. Providing for parking will also reduce  vehicular access deeper onto the island.

Location 360 map

Planning the Bull island discovery Centre

Planning the discovery center
Volume diagram

With the unique nature of the site and the delicate context of flora and fauna, it is essential that the building has a minimum footprint. Increasing the height of the building reduces the footprint, minimising ecological impact. 

Volume diagram tower direction

The height of the building also takes advantage of the full range of views of the landscape and wildlife in the immediate area and beyond, so that he visitor can learn through the 360 degree panorama.

360 degree panorama

360 degree learning

Entry Level

Views at entry level are dominated by the mudflats, the tidal plains and the sand dunes.

entry level
ground level

Level 1

On the first floor slightly wider views emerge, the grass landscape, the manicured lawns of the golf course and the wetlands to either side of the causeway road.

first floor bull island project
level 1 views from the bull island discovery center

level 2

On the second floor we are eight metres high and we can see the Irish sea and the water sports activities, swimmers and kite surfers.  On the opposite side we see the maritime traffic in Dublin Harbour and Port as well as the village of Clontarf.

Second floor of the bull island discovery center
second floor view from the bull island discovery center

level 3

At twelve metres high, the third level enables vast views as far as Howth Head and Dun Laoghaire, and we can gaze down at a whole panaramic view of St Anne’s Park. 

third level of the bull island discovery center
view from the third level bull island discovery center


On the rooftop at sixteen metres above the earth, the entire of Dublin Bay is visible in one vast 360-degree panorama, with the Discovery Centre at the centre. The visitors can move between a series of cascading viewing decks and gardens inside and outside the building.

Urban Agency bull island
bull island discovery center weather section
Spiral staircase
Urban Agency Bull island Distant view

Many interesting articles coming soon to the Architecture & Design section!

Barbara EganNorth Bull Island Discovery Centre: 360 Degrees.