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O'Hare & McGovern

Computer Science Building Queen's University

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Project Info

  • Project Category:
    Further Education
  • Project Name:
    Computer Science Building Queen's University
  • Client:
    Department for Employment & Learning & Queen’s University
  • Location:
    18 Malone Road, Belfast, BT9 5BN, N.I.
  • Architect:
    Kennedy Fitzgerald

Project Overview

From a concrete clad exterior to a colourful landmark building that is as functional as it is eye-catching, the new Computer Science Building for Queen's University Belfast. 

The former concrete-clad building – known as the Bernard Crossland Building – was built in 1970 and was indicative of that period’s architecture. However, the refurbishment couldn’t be further away from that style.

O’Hare & McGovern faced a number of practical challenges in recreating this building, specifically with the space constraints around the site. The project included stripping back existing circa 1970 concrete clad building to the concrete frame followed by the demolition of south block and east portions, including a link bridge to the David Keir Building.

Multi-coloured glass fins adorn the exterior of the building to produce a façade that is as impressive in the sunlight as it is when lit up at night. The extensive use of glazing is evident in the front elevation and brings a fresh look to the building, with these impressive aesthetics continuing inside. Natural light, including the use of light tunnels, is a central feature of the building and is as far removed as possible from the dark and dreary rooms associated with the IT sector.

The expansion and refurbishment has doubled the size of the building, with increased numbers of computing resources, considerably more project space and additional seating/social areas for students.

This has created a high-quality, transparent building that establishes a discrete identity for Computer Science, integrating both teaching and research; and delivering a stimulating environment for staff and students.

Key Features

  • BCB doubled in size due to expansion 
  • Major refurbishment works
  • Linked extension to existing accommodation
  • Removal of first floor link from BCB building to David Keir building
  • Live, restricted site
  • 4 storey 3,000m² building
  • Glazed front elevation
  • Facilities include: computer labs, project spaces, breakout rooms, a 3 floor student hub, academic/clerical offices & postgraduate spaces
  • Designed to minimize impact on environment
  • New pedestrian access


  • With the number of Computer Science students attending Queen’s having almost doubled in the past two years to 1,350, this major investment in infrastructure and teaching represents a major boost for our economy and higher education sector; Our economy needs a constant supply of high quality graduates with computer science and software engineering skills if we are to be globally competitive Employment & Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry
  • This state-of-the-art facility will contribute to the vision of the ICT Industry in Northern Ireland to be a world class centre of ICT excellence. Queen’s Vice Chancellor Professor, Patrick Johnston