Queen’s University building project wins national recognition

The 1960s buildings were refurbished in a scheme which judges praised for “successfully linking new and old to create a stimulating teaching and learning environment”.

Local companies involved in the project included quantity surveyors Hood McGowan Kirk, building contractors Felix O’Hare & Co and Todd Architects.

The redevelopment included partial demolition, restructuring and extension of the multi-storey tower to be used by the School of Law and School of Music and Sonic Arts.

The tower was linked with the Peter Froggatt Centre to form a student hub for informal study while comprehensive refurbishment of lecture theatres and classroom in the centre also took place.

The work on the tower and the integration of new and old presented particular challenges requiring an innovative approach. Design and construction teams ensured effective co-ordination between structure, services and fabric.

Judges were also impressed by the approach to sustainability and low energy design.

In May the project was crowned the regional winner in the Design Through Innovation category of the RICS Awards, Northern Ireland, and in London it was competing with top projects from across the UK.

RICS judges said: “Creativity and design excellence have transformed two unattractive 1960s buildings which are now integrated into the Queen’s University campus, with a new pedestrian link and entrance courtyard.

“Triple height spaces with bridge links assist internal circulation and connectivity, with atria and voids providing a continuous air path and natural daylight contributing to a low energy design solution.

“The constraints of low floor to ceiling heights have been overcome and the materials and detailing of the facades are sympathetic to the setting of neighbouring Victorian buildings.

“The scheme successfully links new and old to create a stimulating teaching and learning environment.”

The Queen’s project came runner up to the overall Design Through Innovation Category winner at the national awards, the British Airways i360 in Brighton, which is the world’s tallest moving observation tower, designed by the creators of the London Eye.

The 2018 RICS Awards, Northern Ireland are now open to enter. The deadline to nominate a project is 26 January 2018. Visit www.rics.org/awards to apply or contact Susan Mason at RICS on 028 9032 2877 or e-mail smason@rics.org