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Queen Mother Building, University of Dundee

Queen Mother Building, University of Dundee

Key Facts


University of Dundee


Smalls Wynd, Dundee, DD1 4HN




May 2006

No ordinary Computer Centre

Project Info

8 drum, three storey volumes with circulation and service central spine dividing plan in two with activity spaces on one side and three storey atrium with main teaching rooms on the other with bridge connections across at high level.

Early in the briefing process, the Client stated the desire to have a “non-geeky, non-nerdy building”, and that the new building should reflect the department, showing that Computer programming is creative as well as technical.

The building is a hybrid research and teaching facility. Designed around a series of research ‘towers’ or ‘caves’, the attempt is to break down, in a structured way, otherwise ubiquitous, sub-divided, open-planned volumes. Each tower can house upwards of 24 students down to 6-8 specialist research staff. Linked by the circulation spine and overlooking a 3-storey atria, the centre transforms the traditional view of how to flexibly accommodate a variety of teaching, learning and researching formats.

Conceived during a period of rising steel costs, the loadbearing circular forms of brick and concrete have provoked a new building disposition and a flamboyant addition to the campus on the edge of its future central green.

This project won the RICS Sustainability Award 2006. It is linked to the University’s CHP plant and therefore uses ‘free’ hot water for heating. It has a high thermal mass, insulated on the outside to produce the ‘tea cosy’ effect. This means the building is kept warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The orientation of the building was also important.

Smaller windows on the south sides of the pods to keep over heating and glare to a minimum. Large glazed screens on the north side of the pod maximise natural daylight. These windows also allow cross ventilation through each pod. The Client is very pleased with the way the building has changed the way the department is perceived and changed how the students and staff now work.

Selected Awards

RICS Scotland Sustainability Award 2006

Scottish Design Awards 2006 - Public Building Commendation

INCA (Supreme Award) 2006

Dundee Civic Trust Award 2006

Dundee Institute of Architects Award 2006 - Public Building Commendation

Green Gown Award 2006