The new Student Centre project, was a major competition-winning project undertaken by Dixon Jones jointly with BDP’s Belfast office for Queen’s University Belfast in 2001, to replace the existing student union building.
The new building, was planned as two blocks defining a central covered space, forming a focus for the University as a whole and permitting the formation of new routes through the University campus. The 20,000m2 building was designed to centralise student services and bring vitality to the wider area, to contribute to the regeneration of Belfast as a whole.
The proposal is located at a major crossroads of pedestrian movement on the campus, with university buildings in the east-west direction and the city to the north (the crossroads idea being incorporated into the design). The student centre expresses and encourages the process of social integration. It was intended for use not only by students and staff but also by the surrounding community. To this end, the single unifying rectangular roof structure encloses a series of social spaces.
The building form is both a destination and a route. The linear internal space at the core of the building is four storeys high, providing the internal equivalent of a small city square – a place where everyone can meet, socialise and feel part of the university community.
After extensive briefing and planning discussions completed for this scheme for Queen’s the project was put on hold indefinitely in response to international events.