Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

John Hume Building, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland

Exemplary design categories: cost efficiency, energy efficiency

How the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
The objective of this project was to design a facility for more than 2000 staff and students which is fully naturally vented and which makes maximum use of passive ventilation, heating and lighting, thus resulting in lower running costs for the University than and substantially reduced CO2 emissions. It is the culmination of a EUR 100 million building programme on the campus, including student apartments, a Biosciences and Electronic Engineering Building, sports and student recreation facilities

John Hume Building is the centrepiece of the master plan for the campus. It provides a new four-storey central teaching facility for a number of faculties including the Department of Psychology and acts as the main research base of the university. From the outset, the design team set themselves the challenge of designing a building which would be fully naturally vented and make as much use of passive ventilation, heating and lighting as possible, resulting in lower running costs for the university and substantially reduced CO2 emissions.

The building is organised around a linear atrium, with the main teaching spaces comprising three auditoria at ground floor. The atrium is raversed with a route linking the two main entrances and provides easy access to students arriving from both ends of the campus. Student facilities including a bookshop, bank, restaurant and other services are located at ground floor, accessed from the main concourse. The Psychology Department occupies the third floor, with laboratories to one side and offices on the other. The fourth floor provides studios for post-doctoral research and other resource areas for visiting lecturers and research staff.

The main lecture theatres are naturally ventilated with assisted mechanical extract, controlled to switch on as CO2 and temperature levels rise. Low velocity extract ducts from the two smaller lecture theatres are expressed as coloured tubes rising through the main atrium. In a similar way the natural ventilation and heating within the theatres are dramatically expressed by slatted timber panelling, profiled ceilings and slots below the tiered seating designed to allow the passage of air. The atrium plays a central role in the natural ventilation strategy. Its height makes it possible to draw air from the adjacent spaces and to exhaust it at high level. Air from the tutorial rooms and lecture theatres at first floor is vented directly through the rooms to the atrium via continuous louvered grilles and custom-designed plenum boxes to provide vital acoustic and fire separation and is exhausted naturally at roof level.

Involvement of users and the local community in the planning and design process:
The design process was a fully collaborative one with regular and in-depth consultation at all stages between the Design team, client and most importantly representatives of the psychology Dept (the end users) in terms of briefing, room layouts and service requirements for the various spaces.

Activity Areas: Auditoria (one with 450 seats and two others with 225 seats each, all equipped for broadcast and teleconferencing), tutorial rooms, lecture theatres, labs, offices, research studios for post-doc research, conference suite, library & resource areas for visiting lecturers and research staff,shops, a bank, restaurant and counselling services.

Project costs: EUR 12,600,000.00

Source: 3rd CELE Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities (2006)

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User perspectives (1)

"We set the project team the challenge to design a flagship building for the campus, with spaces of great visual, architectural and functional quality, able to withstand high occupancy and heavy use. We joined the team in developing a building which would be primarily dependent on natural light and ventilation, and which would produce low CO2 emissions in line with our obligations to the Kyoto agreement. We believe all these goals have been achieved extremely successfully and we are now monitoring the building and preparing to measure the actual energy usage in the coming academic year."
Finbarr Horrigan, Buildings Officer, NUI Maynooth

Images (8)

Drawings (8)

Ground floor presentation (Registration required)
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Credit: Coady Partnership Architects
First floor presentation (Registration required)
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Credit: Coady Partnership Architects
Second floor presentation (Registration required)
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Credit: Coady Partnership Architects
Third floor presentation (Registration required)
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Credit: Coady Partnership Architects
Roof presentation (Registration required)
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Credit: Coady Partnership Architects
Section (Registration required)
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Credit: Coady Partnership Architects
Section 2 (Registration required)
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Credit: Coady Partnership Architects
Site plan (Registration required)
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Credit: Coady Partnership Architects