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Staff blog

BLOG: One Elmwood: a flexible container for university life, now and in the future

"This is a living building that we know will be a hive of activity."

artist impression of interior of Queen's One Elmwood building

A blog by Hawkins\Brown, in collaboration with RPP Architects.


The whole concept of One Elmwood was to create an open and accessible building for students, staff and the community. The building is designed as a simple, flexible container that will be a hub for life at the university. Its glass façade creates a welcoming entrance while establishing a visual connection between the street and the campus.

One Elmwood is a one off – it provides a go-to place where students can access a variety of services. What sets it apart is that it will create a home from home with facilities for students to cook, study, collaborate and access support. We have created lots of social spaces for larger groups and little nooks and crannies for quieter times. Our key feature is the social staircase: it also functions as theatre-style seating, which can be used for events such as poetry readings or lunchtime lectures - or just a place to sit and chat with friends.

We have included other features like outdoor terraces and a bar with a reclaimed sports floor, as well as a sprung dance floor to accommodate Clubs and Services and large windows designed to mirror the vertical lines of the Lanyon.

As architects, we have designed this building to meet the needs of students and staff but also for it to evolve as users’ needs change. This is a living building that we know will be a hive of activity – we can’t wait to see how the university community will adapt it in the future.


Find out more

Explore more about Queen's University Belfast's new One Elmwood Building on the One Elmwood Student Centre website.

Hawkins\Brown, with RPP Architects