The new science centre in University College Dublin (UCD) provides a vision for science in the 21st century by linking education, research and innovation to develop life enhancing products, services, policies and solutions to global problems.
The project includes a new laboratory space, and also the refurbishment of existing buildings in the science district, to include state of the art learning space, cutting edge research laboratories, specialised research institutes and a Discover Science space to engage the general public.
Sustainability was key when designing the new building, resulting in it becoming the first BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rated scientific building in the educational sector in Ireland.
A lasting collaborative bond
Arup's involvement in the UCD science district dates back to 1960 when the original buildings were designed. 50 years later in 2010, Arup was again appointed to provide structural, infrastructural and specialist vibration consultancy to design a major upgrade to the facility.
The development provides a modern, safe and bright science facility enabling the highest quality of teaching and training and will attract the highest level students, graduates and staff in the fields of science and engineering.
This 9,160m2 space comprises of a new 3,805m2 science research and laboratory wing and the full refurbishment of approximately 5,355m2 of an existing building to facilitate the administration and teaching block.
The existing and new buildings have been fully integrated by incorporating a new atrium with a feature spiral staircase and collaborative space pods that jut out of the walls.
Operative during the refurbishment
One of our key contributions was to redevelop the centre while keeping the existing teaching and research facilities operational during the construction process. Throughout the development, Arup worked in close proximity to highly sensitive research equipment such as NMRs (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) and AFM (Atomic Force Microscopy).
Arup also carried out a building strategy, including the installation of sensitive vibration monitoring equipment, and the mitigation and minimisation of the disruption to the day-to-day life of the adjacent active laboratory spaces during construction.
A comprehensive refurbishment
The first phase, completed in February 2011, involved the refurbishment and extension of the existing science chemistry block which houses cutting edge nanotechnology laboratories, teaching, offices and support space along with generic lab space.
The second phase was completed in September 2013 and it included the refurbishment of the existing lecture theatre block which is linked by a large atrium space to 20,000m2 of new build laboratory space.