Taoiseach Ushers in New Era for Engineering at NUI Galway
Friday, 15 July 2011
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, was in NUI Galway today to officially open NUI Galway’s new Engineering Building, the largest of its kind in Ireland.
The world-class teaching and research facility ushers in a new era for Engineering at the University, which has an excellent reputation in Engineering education. The building has been designed to be a teaching tool in itself, with exposed construction techniques and an array of ecological building methods.
From September, the four-storey architectural gem and its 400 rooms will accommodate some 1,100 students and 110 staff. The 14,250 sqm building will support an emerging generation of engineers, engaged in a new wave of technologies, embracing innovation and entrepreneurship.
According to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, who studied at the University in the mid-70s: “Engineering has a long and proud tradition at NUI Galway and this magnificent new building is a fine example of how the University is responding to the changing needs in today’s world. This new building begins a new era for engineering students here inGalwayand will have far reaching impacts at local, national and international level.
The work going on here will further develop NUI Galway’s reputation as a major international research centre in the field of engineering. I want to wish all the students, researchers, lecturers and other staff who will work here in the years to come every success in all their endeavours.”
The building was developed at a cost of approximately €40 million, funded through Government funds, University sources and the generous support of individual donors and companies by way of the Galway University Foundation. Situated on the banks of the River Corrib, the building was designed by award-winning architects RMJM from Scotland in partnership with Mayo-based Taylor Architects, to complement the curves ofGalway’s most famous river.
A Living Laboratory
Designed as a ‘living laboratory’ theEngineeringBuildingwill serve as an interactive teaching tool for students. Live data from numerous sensors will measure the behaviour of the structure and its energy consumption, and will be used as a teaching tool for structural engineering and building performance concepts. Students will also be able to view sections of the foundation and structure which have been deliberately made visible, so that basic concepts can be taught in a real life setting.
Also, services are exposed with pipes and ducting labelled in corridors and rooms as a ‘gross anatomy’ lesson of sorts for engineering students.
NUI Galway offers a degree in Energy Systems Engineering, and has a significant focus on research into environmental technologies. TheEngineeringBuildingitself contains a range of such ‘green’ technologies which will add to the hands-on learning experience for students. There is largescale rainwater harvesting, a biomass boiler, low-embodied energy materials such as zinc, grass roofs for water attenuation, heat exchangers and many other cutting-edge technologies.
The structure is among the first inIrelandto employ the use of voided slab systems. The innovation introduces ‘plastic bubbles’ into the concrete, reducing the weight and quantity of concrete used.
Areas of the building such as the plant room will be accessible to showcase to students the industrial biomass boiler and Combined Heat and Power Unit at work.
A Landmark Day
Speaking at the opening ceremony today, NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne said: “This is a landmark day in the University’s history. The opening of theEngineeringBuildingbrings to fruition the efforts of many individuals to bring the highest quality facilities for Engineering education and research to NUI Galway. This facility will be a national asset, providing the best resources forIreland’s engineers. Our engineering graduates and researchers will shapeIreland’s future by building our national competitiveness, driving innovation and research and supporting indigenous and multinational industry.”
Dean of theCollegeofEngineeringand Informatics at NUI Galway, Professor Gerry Lyons commented: “Completion of this world-class facility confirms NUI Galway’s position as one of the premier Engineering Schools in the country. This shows great confidence in the role of Engineering and Technology in the economic development of the West of Ireland and we look forward to contributing significantly to the future success of our region. We now have the physical environment to match our first-class range of degree programmes and leading-edge research.”
Further information about the Engineering Building is also available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/new-engineering-building/