Taoiseach Enda Kenny has opened a new state-of-the-art engineering building at the National University of Ireland Galway, the largest of its kind in the country. Designed by RMJM, in partnership with Mayo firm Taylor Architects, the four-storey complex has 400 rooms and its 14,250 sqm of space will accommodate some 1,100 students and 110 staff.
Described by RMJM as ‘a teaching tool in itself’, the 14,250 sq m block displays its construction techniques externally and has been completed using a range of ecological building methods. Services pipes and ducting are exposed and labeled, enabling students to undertake active learning outside their classes, with live data streamed from a variety of sensors which monitor the energy consumption of the structure throughout the day.
Sections of the building’s foundations and structural engineering have been unveiled so that tutors may use them as reference points during lessons. Similarly a range of green treatments are on show for educational gain, such as large-scale rainwater harvesting systems, a biomass boiler, low-embodied energy materials such as zinc, grass roofing, and heat exchangers. This teaching and research facility is the largest of its kind in Ireland with 400 rooms to accommodate 1,100 students and 110 staff who will study a plethora of innovative engineering concepts and cutting edge technologies.
The zinc-clad development respects its riverside setting and a number of measures have been taken to minimize the building’s carbon footprint. These include natural ventilation to much of the accommodation, a bio-diverse green roof over the central courtyard, the harvesting of rainwater for use within the building and a biomass boiler for energy generation.
The project stands as a “gateway” project to the north campus of NUI Galway and as such reinterprets the original 1845 Quad building. An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, who studied at the University in the mid-70s said: “This magnificent new building is a fine example of how the University is responding to the changing needs in today’s world. This new building begins a new era for engineering students here in Galway and will have far reaching impacts at local, national and international level.”