Located at the main entrance of Dublin City University, The Research Facility and School of Engineering occupies a plan area of approximately 4,000m², and houses approximately 11, 000m² of laboratories, classrooms, engineering workshops, clean rooms, bio-hazard and micro-fabrication laboratories, a chemical synthesis plant and a pilot plant monitoring area.
After an initial evaluation of various structural options it was decided that a reinforced concrete frame with a 7.5m grid and reinforced concrete flat slab floors would provide the most cost effective solution and would also enable the contractor to complete the structure and service fitout within a short construction period. Due to the hi-tech scientific and engineering requirements of the user groups, the structure was designed to incorporate a complicated array of mechanical, electrical data and gas supply services.
The concrete flat slabs are also used as a thermal mass for natural ventilation and heating/cooling of the building. Additional challenges were encountered in the design of
architectural features in the building such as:
a) Suspended steel wintergarden bridges and pod.
b) Atrium steel scissors stair.
c) Atrium lightweight bowstring truss/glass roof.
d) Link bridges to the existing science building.
All the above required close design co-operation with the architects to achieve a high quality aesthetic appearance. A provision for a future extension was incorporated within the structural detailing of the concrete frame.