The Lynn Building, Queens University

This project is the refurbishment of the iconic two storey grade B listed Lynn Building at Queens University. It is arguably the best example of Ruskinian Victorian Gothic in Belfast and is a building of high importance and profile on the University’s Main site.

The building has been vacant since 2009 when the library collection moved to the new McClay Library. The project includes extensive repair and remedial work to stabilise and prolong the life of the building and address various health & safety risks.

The building now houses the new postgraduate centre offering teaching, group study, social space and support accommodation. The ground floor offers reception and administrative support space, training facilities, meeting rooms, and social spaces. The building’s first floor features a central open-plan, double height, vaulted space with masonry gothic arches and aisles to each side. This is a really impressive internal space with a Postgraduate Study Room in one area, a large social / breakout / circulation space, with smaller rooms coming directly off the aisles.

The clever services strategy integrated M&E provision with the building. The first floor is mainly serviced from the floor below or from low level to offer the University future flexibility on layout.

Externally, the glazed link which used to connect the first floor of the Lynn Building to the first floor of the former Library Tower has been removed, restoring the building to its original stand-alone status. An ‘invisible’ mend using reclaimed bricks makes the location of the old bridge impossible to spot. Structural work included removing a section of the floor slab (an insert from the 1950s) to create a double height space.

The external steps at the existing main entrance were removed to provide level access from the north-south pedestrian walkway running from University Square to the Quad. The project also includes restoration of the exterior brick and stonework, as well as re-roofing.

Key Features:

• The site was very restricted with very little storage and welfare space. We stacked site accommodation and carefully scheduled deliveries ‘just in time”
• Deliveries of building material left site with a back load of demolition waste to reduce transport impact and we reused as much of the original building material as possible including the roof slates
• The remainder of the Lanyon campus was operational throughout construction. We sequenced noisy work around exam times, graduations and other university events
• Pneumatic grinders were used to avoid water cutting mixing with electricity and we adjusted working practices to wet cutting to avoid silica dust. We used an electric forklift truck internally which generated no exhaust fumes
• Several contractors were working on adjacent sites; we collaborated and planned our crane location and traffic management plan in consultation with them
• Client changes were accommodated during construction within the original programme: to achieve this we introduced a second site manager and increased working hours on site

Woodvale Lynn Building Queens from Woodvale Construction on Vimeo.

Key Project Information
Architect Consarc Design Group
Value £2.99m
Duration 52 weeks
Extra Information
Location Queen's University Belfast
Sectors Education
Woodvale demonstrated initiative, particularly when dealing with problems that arose from integrating new elements into the original historic fabric, and were very proactive in putting forward solutions to complex technical problems. As the client project manager, I was inspired by Woodvale's exceptional drive and enthusiasm, this view was also shared by other members of the design and project management team
Andrew Corbett, Estates Manager, Queen's University Belfast