TODD Architects completes redbrick business school for Queen’s Belfast

TODD Architects completes redbrick business school for Queen’s Belfast

TODD Architects completes redbrick business school for Queen’s BelfastQueen’s University’s £17.5 million business school sits within its south Belfast campus, in front of the Grade II-listed Riddel Hall and enclosed by woodland.
The new building, built on a former car park, has teaching and learning spaces for postgraduate students along with facilities for supporting the school’s executive education and leadership programmes, with informal study areas, academic offices and shared spaces.

The external palette of materials is restrained to sit within its context, combining red clay brick, bronze-framed aluminium and floor-to-ceiling glazed screens. Red cast stone delineates colonnades at the upper and lower entrances.

Inside the circulation spaces, exposed concrete soffits with floating ceiling rafts, board-marked concrete walls, timber wall sheeting and terrazzo flooring, create a robust aestheticOne of the key spaces is a top-lit, triple-height atrium with a feature stair providing access from the ground floor reception to the upper ground level, where informal study booths overlook a landscaped courtyard.

Primary teaching spaces are restricted to the lower ground floor with large volume lecture theatres set into the surrounding landscape to lessen their visual impact and massing.

A low-energy, ecologically sensitive design approach was adopted from the outset. One measure taken was a major geothermal heat system. Piles were driven to a depth of 125m in an adjoining field to extract heat from the sandstone substrate and provide low-level constant heat via underfloor heating, resulting in a 60 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.

The £17.5 million project extends to include the partial refurbishment of a listed property.

In 2016, Queen’s Business School merged with the William J Clinton Leadership Institute. It is located in the university's Riddel Hall campus on the Stranmillis Road and planned to expand its facilities in 2017 due to continued growth.

Architect’s view

Our appointment arose out of a design competition, promoted by the university. We presented a plan diagram based on how we envisaged people might move through the building and a conceptual architectural approach that proposed carefully knitting the built form into its landscaped setting, both of which are still very evident in the finished building.

Externally in respect of materiality, the building echoes the neighbouring, listed Riddel Hall in its use of red brick and cast stone. Internally we have sought to ensure a connectivity for users with surrounding mature woodland, with board-marked concrete and other natural finishes combining to create a calm, robust and understated aesthetic.

We promoted a low-energy, ecologically sensitive design approach from the outset, securing a BREEAM Excellent rating, with the building’s renewable energy sources including a major geothermal heat system beneath an adjoining lawn and roof mounted arrays of solar/photovoltaic panels.

Peter Minnis, project director, TODD Architects

Clients’ views

Queen’s University Belfast is moving towards net zero, and this building – which uses sustainable ground source heating – is an important part of the journey. The design of the building, which is sleek, contemporary, and future-focused, boasts the scenic quality of being nestled in the trees of the Stranmillis Conservation Area.

The building is helping us a) grow our international stature and esteem by hosting high-profile events; b) expanding our research-led dialogue with the business community by providing space for collaboration and dissemination activities; and c) offers a fantastic student experience via tailor-made areas for learning and study.

Professor MN Ravishankar, dean and head, Queen’s Business School

The new Queen’s Business School is the latest building in Queen’s University’s capital investment programme to support world-class education and research and provide an exceptional learning environment and experience for its students. TODD Architects have exceeded expectations in terms of the University’s estate, with this truly iconic building.

To address the significant growth in our student numbers and the unprecedented demand for our graduates, the University with full support from local government and employers, approved a capital investment in excess of £26m in a new Business School Building. Designed by TODD Architects, the building provides state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities for more than 3,000 students and 130 academic staff and will play a key role in the future growth and development of Northern Ireland’s business and finance sectors.

Through collaboration and a commitment to excellence, TODD Architects has ensured that this facility will enable the Business School to continue its growth, by attracting the best staff and students from Northern Ireland and around the world, and to produce graduates who will make a positive impact on society.

We are delighted with our new landmark building that will take Queen’s Business School into the next phase of its development and serving future generations to come.

Sonia O’Hare, school manager, Queen’s Business School


Project data

Start on site September 2020
Completion May 2023
Gross internal floor area 6,000m² (including 250m² basement)
Form of contract JCT Standard Building Contract with Quantities 2016 Edition
Construction cost £17.5 million
Architect TODD Architects
Client Queen’s University Belfast
Structural engineer WSP
M&E consultant AH Design
Landscape architect McIlwaine
Acoustic consultant FR Mark & Associates
Project manager WSP
Principal designer WSP
Building control BCC/Local authority
Main contractor Felix O’Hare
CAD software used Revit

Environmental performance data

Percentage of floor area with daylight factor >2% 52%
Percentage of floor area with daylight factor >5% 8.8%
On-site energy generation 67,600 kWh against estimated consumption or 12%
Annual mains water consumption 1.7 m³/person/yr against a 2.5 baseline
Airtightness at 50Pa 2.51 m³/(h.m²)
Heating and hot water load 21.96 kWh/m2/yr
Overall area-weighted U-value 0.32 W/m2K
Design life 50 years
Annual CO2 emissions 10.9 kgCO2eq/m2

Freestyle. Acoura
Download Case Study
Back to top ^