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University of Ulster decision may herald retreat from suburbs

By Lindsay Fergus

University of Ulster is the first in the UK to reverse a trend from the late 1960s of locating universities in the suburbs.

Its decision to move to the centre of the city will be followed by other universities, claimed the architect leading the project.

Sam Tyler said: “University of Ulster is the first of the plate glass universities saying ‘this is the vibrant place for us to be’.

“It’s quite groundbreaking. I think a lot of other universities will come and see how the University of Ulster did it.”

Mr Tyler, from Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, also believes the new Belfast city campus will act as a magnet.

“The quality of the architecture and the quality of the facilities will be a draw to students and academics alike,” he said.

“We also believe it will help regenerate that section of north Belfast and improve the city to create a better environment while attracting people to the city.”

Phase one, at York Street and Dunbar Link, will house the schools of built environment and art and design.

The second phase, the main building, will be home to a 4,000 sq m library over three floors, catering facilities, gallery, retail units, computing and engineering, life and health sciences, Ulster Business School, arts and supporting departments.

Facilities it will boast include 5,500 sq m of 150 classrooms, ranging from small seminar rooms to large flat floor lecture theatres, for more than 100 students. There will be two state-of-the art tiered lecture theatres, one catering for 250 people and the other 350.

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