Featured Project

Computer Sciences, Bernard Crossland Building, Queen’s University, Belfast

Take a closer look at the inspirational transformation of the Bernard Crossland Building at Queen’s University…


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From a concrte clad exterior to a colourful landmark building that is as functional as it is eye-catching, the new Computer Science building goes online.

O’Hare & McGovern has completely transformed the new Computer Sciences Building at Queen’s University to create striking yet functional facility.

The former concrete-clad building – known as the Bernard Crossland Building – was built in 1970 and was indicative of that period’s architecture. However, the refurbishment couldn’t be further away from that style.

Multi-coloured glass fins adorn the exterior of the building to produce a façade that is as impressive in the sunlight as it is when lit up at night. The extensive use of glazing is evident in the front elevation and brings a fresh look to the building, with these impressive aesthetics continuing inside. Natural light, including the use of light tunnels, is a central feature of the building and is as far removed as possible from the dark and dreary rooms associated with the IT sector.

O’Hare & McGovern faced a number of practical challenges in recreating this building, specifically with the space constraints around the site.

The project included stripping back existing circa 1970 concrete clad building to the concrete frame followed by the demolition of south block and east portions, including a link bridge to the David Keir Building.

The main contractor then erected a new steel framed extension and in-situ concrete basement and associated elements along with the redecoration of terraces located at 14-16 Malone Road, including the reconfiguration of the rear annexes.

The expansion and refurbishment has doubled the size of the building, with increased numbers of computing resources, considerably more project space and additional seating/social areas for students.

This has created a high-quality, transparent building that establishes a discrete identity for Computer Science, integrating both teaching and research; and delivering a stimulating environment for staff and students.

Jason Glasgow, Contracts Manager for O’Hare & McGovern, said, “One of the biggest challenges we faced was the fact that this wasn’t really a refurbishment or a new build, but a mixture of both. We had to practically strip the building back to its frame, add on the extension and then rebuild.

“We were faced with a tight deadline and faced space constraints around the building in what is a very busy part of the city. We had to work closely with Queen’s University on practical issues like delivery and these had to be precisely co-ordinated. We also had to take into consideration noise, dust and vibration issues. We even had to ensure that the trees at the front of the building were protected and retained.

“Logistically, all this was a challenge but we are delighted with the final result. This is a modern, landmark building that delivers on the planned objective of creating a hi-tech, flexible learning environment that encourages collaboration and innovation.”

While the main building is an ultra-modern facility that even includes inspiration rooms that woudn’t be out of place at Apple or Google, the project also included the refurbishment of 14 and 16 Malone Road, which are linked to the new building.

O’Hare & McGovern had to take more of a heritage approach to this section of the project, with features such as staircases, fireplaces and flooring all retained.

Overall, and in keeping with Queen’s University’s, commitment to sustainability, the building was designed and constructed to minimise its impact on the environment and achieved the target of Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) ‘Very Good’ rating.

Damien Toner, Queen’s Director of Estates, said, “The refurbished Computer Science building is the latest in Queen’s £700million 20-year capital investment programme to support world-class education and research and provide an exceptional experience for its students.

“The building provides state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities for more than 1,000 students and 60 academic staff and will play a key role in the future growth and development of Northern Ireland’s IT sector.

“To ensure the local IT industry can remain competitive at home and internationally, it needs access to a highly skilled workforce who have been educated in a way that is directly relevant to the needs of industry. This facility will ensure Queen’s continues to attract the best staff and students from Northern Ireland and around the world, and produce graduates who will make a positive impact on society. Alongside other flagship projects – including the newly opened £20million School of Law, the £39million School of Biological Sciences which is due for completion in 2018, and two ongoing schemes to provide 1,200 student bedrooms at two prime sites in Belfast city centre – this development reaffirms Queen’s commitment to supporting the Northern Ireland construction sector.”



O’Hare & McGovern, Carnbane House, Shepherds Way, Carnbane Industrial Estate, Newry, BT35 6EE
T: 028 3026 4662 – E: carnbanehouse@ohmg.com

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