Queens Building

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The Queens Building

The Queens Building is a building on the DMU campus. Erected in 1993, it houses the Faculty of Technology. Its unique design means that the building has no need for heating as it controls the temperature through a series of vents situated in the roof.


The Queens Building was designed to provide teaching, laboratory and research facilities, while simultaneously acting as an object for study. The four-storey building by architects Short Ford Associates makes maximum use of daylighting and natural ventilation to greatly reduce its environmental impact and running costs. Sunlight enters the building through a combination of windows, rooflights and light shafts, creating an enjoyable space where lighting varies according to external conditions.

Due to the vents in the roof, the need for supplementary artificial lighting is much reduced and so CO2 emissions are noticeably reduced. The heat generated by people, computers and equipment is supplemented by electric radiators in the more severe winter months. In the summer the building is cooled by cross-ventilation where the section is narrow, but other solutions had to be found in deep-plan areas. In one such area, the mechanical laboratory, purpose-made ventilation openings are provided on the west side and on the east, honeycombed brickwork is used to allow air into the seven buttresses supporting the external wall and gantry crane track.

Roof vents in the laboratory open automatically to create a through draught. In the central area where there are deep-plan classrooms and lecture theatres, tall extract stacks terminating in metal and glass extend well above the roof level. The stacks open to extract stale warm air while fresh replacement air is allowed in through low-level louvres and windows. A modular approach was adopted for the services whereby the individual modules, such as a boiler plant, can be easily replaced as more efficient equipment becomes available. A small combined heat and power unit is the final element in this building's exciting environmental strategy.

In 1995, the Queens Building won The HVCA and The Independent on Sunday Green Building of the Year Award; it also won an RIBA Award in 1996.

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