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O'Hare & McGovern

School of Biological Sciences

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Project Info

  • Project Category:
    Current Projects
  • Project Name:
    School of Biological Sciences
  • Client:
    Queen’s University
  • Location:
    29 St Ives Gardens, Belfast, BT9 5DN, NI.
  • Architect:
    Kennedy Fitzgerald

Project Overview

This project aims to co-locate and consolidate the School of Biological Sciences. The School is located, mainly, in the Medical Biology Centre; while its major research centre - the Institute of Global Food Security (IGFS) – is in the David Keir Building and in the Northern Ireland Technology Centre.  

The IGFS is a world leader in national and global efforts to provide the world’s growing population with a sustainable safe and secure supply of high quality food. Supporting its effective operation and growth is of major importance to the University and is also a key asset to the wider Northern Ireland economy.

The new building will be constructed on the site of the former Science Library.

The site essentially connects three separate ‘character areas’, each of which is at a different level.  St Ives Gardens/Sandymount, the highest part of the site, is some 4m above Chlorine Gardens which, in turn, is some 4m higher than Lennoxvale. Addressing these level changes has significantly influenced the layout and overall design – for example, a significant area of the new building is underground. Further the change in external ground levels, combined with central light wells, is being used to provide light to all floors and to create an airy building whose facades relate to and respect the scale of neighbouring properties.

The building has a gross internal area of approximately 11,000m² over four floors and a basement. It is designed around a central atrium or glazed ‘street’ that acts as the social hub and heart of the School and allows daylight to penetrate deep into the building.  A second more private atrium provides a less public focus for research work, whilst echoing the open, airy and light filled environment of the ‘main street’.  The undergraduate facilities and labs occupy the bottom floor of the building, with postgraduate and research space located in the upper levels.

A new plaza is being created at the main entrance, located off Chlorine Gardens, allowing level access to the School.  An enhanced pedestrian route between Chlorine Gardens and Lennoxvale will provide both a landscaped pathway for pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists as well as attractive public realm space.

In keeping with the University’s commitment to sustainability, the building has been designed to minimize its impact on the environment and to achieve the target of Building Research Establishment Environmental Method (BREEAM) Excellent. 

Key Features

  • Co-locate and consolidate the School of Biological Sciences
  • New Build
  • Demolitions
  • Piling
  • Site connects three separate ‘character areas’, each of which is at a different level
  • Underground lecture rooms/offices & other facilities
  • Central light wells
  • 11,000m² over four floors & a basement
  • Designed around a central atrium or glazed ‘street’ that acts as the social hub
  • A pedestrian route between Chlorine Gardens & Lennoxvale will provide both a landscaped pathway for pedestrians, wheelchair users & cyclists

LOCATION