Estates Directorate

Conservation and the Built Heritage

The University is located within three Conservation Areas – Queen’s, Malone and Stranmillis - and is one of the largest owners of listed buildings in Northern Ireland. Queen’s has more than 250 buildings, built over a span of 150 years, over 100 of which are listed as being of special architectural or historical interest.

Over the past decade or so, more than £40 million has been spent on buildings within the Conservation Area. Much of this money has gone towards restoring and refurbishing historic buildings.

Some of the most visible projects include:

  • Refurbishment and restoration of University Square, a listed terrace of 30 Victorian houses - £6 million
  • Restoration of the School of Music building, including the Harty Room - £2 million
  • Refurbishment of the north and south wings of the Lanyon Building - £3.7 million
  • Restoration of the Great Hall - £2.5 million
  • Renovation of 18 houses in Mount Charles - £3.3 million
  • Environmental landscaping of exterior areas of the Lanyon Building - £0.5 milllion
  • Renovation of the former Geology building - £3 million.

The University’s work as a champion of the city’s heritage has won national recognition. The Great Hall project received a Royal Institute of British Architects award in 2002 and is now the centrepiece of the University, as well as one of the city’s most important civic spaces

The conservation of this unique and historical environment places a huge responsibility on the University. It also presents a challenge architecturally as Queen’s is expanding and  will sometimes need to build new accommodation. Queen’s is committed, however, to protecting the University’s heritage while also constructing exciting new buildings for the future.

The Built Heritage: Exhibition

Builders, Bricks and Mortarboards: the architecture of Queen’s University 1845-2005

With 98 listed buildings, Queen's is quite simply an architectural treasure trove. With this in mind, and to encourage the public to take a fresh look at the University's buildings, both old and new, and to appreciate the artistry and craftmanship that went into their creation, the Estates Directorate hosted a highly successful exhibition during early Autumn 2005 in the Naughton Gallery. 

The exhibition featured architectural plans and drawings, most of which were on public display for the first time. It was curated by Dawson Stelfox, one of Ireland’s leading conservation architects.The drawings chart the changing public face of the University through the history of architectural drawing over last 160 years – from pencil and wash to blueprints and computer-design, including a scale-model of the proposed new Library.

The exhibition also explored the idea of architecture as art, whereby architectural drawings must aim to represent both the beauty of the creation while still giving enough information for it to be constructed. It examined how the University sees itself through the commission and creation of its buildings and examined architectural style as an expression of power, politics and personalities.  

Architectural Heritage Trail

To coincide with the exhibition the University launched its architectural heritage trail in September 2005. This is a permanent fixture and provides the opportunity for staff and visitors to take a self-guided 30 minute tour around the original QUB campus at the Lanyon Building.

University's Coats of Arms

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