Skip to main content
Start of main content

Queen’s University - Wellcome-Wolfson Institute of Experimental Medicine

Research and collaboration in one facility

  • 7 K+

    Square Metres

  • 5


  • 2


  • Belfast, Northern Ireland

    Belfast, Northern Ireland

Balancing collaboration spaces with private areas to support the needs of academic researchers

One of the greatest challenges of creating university research facilities for the 21st century is designing a layout that facilitates collaboration and interdisciplinary co-operation while providing for the needs of researchers to manage their own experiments and write up their work without distractions.

Collaboration in a research environment isn’t just about shared facilities and collaborative workspaces; it’s also about creating a layout that connects research teams to each other with a combination of open plan areas and visual connectivity between enclosed areas. At the WWEIM, that visual connection is delivered by the presence of two atria; a core atrium in the centre of the ‘collaboration zone’ and an additional atrium that has been used to extend the building to the full footprint of the site. 

Flexibility is also key, as is a creative approach to space planning, building fabric, and building services. Key to achieving future flexibility was the client request that the Revit models be developed with the future use of facilities management—a first for the university. During construction, the Revit models were continuously updated to reflect the actual construction, allowing the university’s staff to virtually navigate the building upon completion. Model objects, now embedded with data such as product number and installation date, negate the need for the University to maintain voluminous operations and maintenance manuals. This process has been a huge success for the University, who have adopted this facilities management model approach as their standard practice.

The resulting building has an airy, open-plan feel and a wealth of informal spaces where colleagues and students can discuss their work, with natural light and openness.

At a Glance

  • Queen’s University
  • Ostick + Williams
2016 RICS Awards, Northern Ireland, Project of the Year Award and Innovation through Design Award
2015 Construction Excellence for Northern Ireland, Construction Excellence Awards
Meet Our Team

Christina Cattelan, Senior Associate, Project Leader

A head teacher recently remarked, ‘I can’t believe it, this is wonderful, exactly what you presented to us all that time ago.’ Sometimes delight is derived from simply joining the dots.
Christina Cattelan Senior Associate, Project Leader Read More

Maciej Kajzer, Associate, Senior Architect

Before we colonise Mars, let’s concentrate on creating better cities here on our own planet. By designing smart sustainable buildings through innovation and collaboration, we are paving the way to a brighter future.

David Martin, Vice President, Design Director, Buildings

My passion is engaging with our clients, synthesizing their needs and opportunities into a convergence of form, function, and beauty.
David Martin Vice President, Design Director, Buildings Read More

Aaron Taylor, Senior Principal, Education Sector Lead

There is no greater complement as an architect than seeing students thriving in their surroundings, in spaces that have learning and enjoyment at their heart.
Aaron Taylor Senior Principal, Education Sector Lead Read More

Christina Cattelan

Senior Associate, Project Leader

Maciej Kajzer

Associate, Senior Architect

David Martin

Vice President, Design Director, Buildings

Aaron Taylor

Senior Principal, Education Sector Lead

We're better together

  • Become a client

    Partner with us today to change how tomorrow looks. You’re exactly what’s needed to help us make it happen in your community.

    Contact Us
  • Design your career

    Work with passionate people who are experts in their field. Our teams love what they do and are driven by how their work makes an impact on the communities they serve.

    Join the Team
End of main content
To top