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School of Biological Sciences, QUB

 

QUB School of Biological Sciences – Winner of Construction Excellence Award, Education Infrastructure, 2019

Iconic addition to the Queen’s University estate, this building includes lecture theatre, laboratories, teaching spaces, seminar/meeting rooms, offices, entrance/breakout atrium, staff/student kitchen, stores, toilets, etc.

It is stepped to reflect a significant drop in the topography while maximising capacity on a constricted site by incorporating multi-level basements. The design addresses the complexity of subterranean services and the concerns of local residents in relation to acoustics and the stability of adjacent residences. It uses glass extensively to admit available sunlight for an airy impression. Design facilitates the free movement of pedestrians both around and through the campus building.

Before construction could take place enabling works were required to remove asbestos and demolished material from the brownfield site. Mature trees were fenced off for conservation and Japanese knotweed was remediated.

The project is located on a busy urban street and backs onto Malone Conservation Area. A site management plan was negotiated with Roads Service and local stakeholders for safe, restricted access. With a number of Listed buildings nearby, T&B liaised closely with Heritage Department, etc.

Using secant piling, retaining structures were established to give a 7m cut at the top of the site. To ensure continuity for local residents, businesses and other university estate, underground services were redistributed away from the building’s footprint in liaison with statutory bodies. A well was sunk for a natural water supply to ground-source pump technology which recovers heat from waste water. T&B advised on its optimal location and design around foundations.

Attenuated stormwater drainage was installed to control the water discharge into an already over-laden combined drainage system.

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