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Student Hub University College Cork

This is a the restoration and extension of an existing historic building of National Importance in the centre of a live historic campus of University College Cork. The 11,200sqm site incorporates the existing stone cut Windle Medical Building and the area between this building and the prominent Kane Science Building. A new public space is created between the Windle Building and the protected structure of the University Quadrangle Buildings.

Student services are currently distributed across 25 different campus locations. The Students’ Union had a desire to centralise the activities of the Union within one building. The new building aims to achieve cross promotion of student services, and creating a hub for student activities, a sense of ownership and identity, that reduces mobility problems and facilitates an efficient enjoyable service for students.

Area:
4,000m2
Address:
University College Cork, College Road, Cork
GPS:
51°53'34.7"N 8°29'36.2"W
Competition:
Start Year:
End Year:

The site for the New Student Hub Building is located at the heart of the Old University Campus. It is bounded to the East by the protected structure of the Quadrangle Building dating from 1849. To the West there is the imposing façade of the Kane Science Building occupying the site of the old County Gaol. To the south is the Old College Bar dating from the 1940s. An open, sylvan landscape to the north extends views towards Sundays Well and the greater Lee Valley. The Windle Medical Building occupies a central position within this campus setting and is a Group 1 Category Building of Significance within the Conservation Plan for the University, and included on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.


We proposed demolition of a number of ad-hoc extensions to the Windle building, to reveal its original structure and materiality.

Since the building was unoccupied at the time of planning, it was deemed appropriate to carry out demolition and preparation of the historic structure as an enabling works package before the main works were tendered. Separating out the demolitions had the advantage of revealing more of the building fabric. Its condition could be assessed before the main works, eliminating cost uncertainty and programme risks. These works were carefully programmed with the University to be carried out during the summer period.

UCC’s campus has a particular landscape character of quadrangles, courtyards and squares. Campus policies recognised the importance of creating “active outdoor spaces” and “external rooms”. However the previous setting of the Windle Building was greatly compromised by its use largely for carparking having an adverse effect on the landscape character of the historic campus core.

A public space was proposed for the New Student Hub, providing a new setting for the Windle Building. This will be an active public space enabling a variety of student and learning led activities which compliment those activities envisaged for the Market Hall. The new public space includes a paved area, a grove of trees, a large covered outdoor gathering space and a new medical garden,as College archives revealed that the site had once been a medical garden for the campus.

We have developed a site specific sculptural concept for the architectural design, which uses the of the Windle building as its organising element. The curved wall of the stone base responds to the established campus movement patterns. A large canopy signals the entrance and provides a new covered external space for the University. A new stone “arm” encloses a welcoming Market Hall, an active space where all life happens. Bridges and balconies crisscross and flank the Market Hall, activating and animating this student led technology enabled adaptable space.

The delicate vertical “lantern” is tailored in height to the neighbouring Quadrangle buildings, and in form to respond to lines of sight along approaching vistas and from key campus locations and perspectives.This light filled lantern is raised above the Market Hall, a new University landmark, showcasing UCC at the forefront of innovation. The upper floors of the Lantern are clad in an elegant bronzecoloured glazing system relating to the darker slate clad roofs of the historic campus buildings. At night this metal-clad lantern glows like a beacon when glimpsed obliquely from corners and approaches.

The building is designed to maximize daylight and natural ventilation and is efficiently planned to avoid the corporate effect of a centralised atrium. The sense of contact with the outside world has profound proven consequences for the well-being of its inhabitants as well as practical advantages for the low-cost and energy efficiency of the building services systems.


The proposed building when finished will extend over 6 floors, housing a range of facilities including:

- Integrated Student Services

- Student Development and Employability Services

- Innovative Teaching and Learning Spaces

- Performance Spaces

- A new home for the Students’ Union.

The building is now approaching completion. Jed Niezgoda documented the progress of works on site:



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