University College Cork Western Gateway

The Western Gateway Building is a physical expression of the ambitions of the National University of Ireland, Cork, as an internationally competitive, research-led University. This highly flexible, exceptionally sustainable education and research facility is regarded by our client as a flagship asset in their efforts to attract and retain the best international talent.

University College Cork

Cork, Ireland

In Use



This major building represents a break from the trend of standalone buildings for individual disciplines, instead accommodating a range of academic departments under one roof, including Computer Science, Microelectronics, Pharmacology, Physiology, Cancer Research, and a Graduate Business Innovation Centre. These access shared facilities such as wet and dry laboratories, multi-media studios (including a virtual reality lab), classrooms, lecture theatres, cafes and associated staff facilities. This approach affords opportunities to share facilities including dry and wet laboratories, multi-media studios (including a virtual reality lab), classrooms and lecture theatres.

At the heart of this large, 5-storey over basement building is a naturally lit 100 metre long atrium, from which all vertical and horizontal circulation springs, ensuring clear way-finding and facilitating cross pollination between various departments.

A primary requirement of the brief was for an energy efficient, sustainable and cost effective facility. The building incorporates a range of energy efficiency systems including exposed thermal mass, heat pumps for heating and cooling, mixed mode ventilation (displacement, stack and natural) and night time cooling. Discrete integration of building services was fundamental to the project as no suspended ceilings are provided.

A 1MV groundwater heat serves both heating and cooling needs. In heating mode, it uses solar heated groundwater and heat recovered from computer servers. In cooling mode, the ground sink provides free cooling for water cooled chillers.

Post occupancy data recorded energy consumption of 137.4 kWh/m2/year - 46% less than the average university building and even more impressive given the energy intensive uses within this building.