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
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