Hypostyle Architects Glasgow Edinburgh

Extension and Alterations to the John Anderson Building, University of Strathclyde

CLIENT : University of Strathclyde

CONTRACTOR(s) : Balfour Beatty

Clark Contracts

Morris & Spottiswood


Architect : Hypostyle Architects

Str Eng : Structural Partnership

Services Eng : DMP Consulting

Quantity Surv. : Armours


Contract Type : Traditional

Contract Value : £8.1 M carried out under 3 separate contracts one of which included 5 Sectional Completion elements.

Contract Start :  September 2012

Completion : December 2014

Services provided: Full architectural services as CA and DT leader.


The project comprised of the following: internal lab fit out/refurbishment works, the creation of labs and offices, the creation of a stand alone facility for a specialist Dust Extract Enclosure on the main street, internal sanitary facilities fit out to satisfy DDA requirements, extensive backlog maintenance M&E elements, complete re-roofing refurbishment of the main building, a specialist multi-storey extension and associated landscaping works to accommodate a multi-storey extension for the Department of Applied Physics, Main Switchboard Replacement, and Heat Exchangers and AHU Replacement works.

Design of Multi-storey Extension Works


The principal aim of this project is to consolidate the Department of Physics accommodation within the John Anderson Building and to accommodate a multi-storey extension. The vision supported by the Campus Development Plan (CDP) is by defining a vibrant dynamic and re-focused campus in the heart of Glasgow surrounded by other exciting developments. As such, the extension to the John Anderson Building is in keeping with this strategy as part of the academic quarter. 


In addition, strong architectural elements have also been derived from the main building such as the ground level ‘plinth.’ The extension reinforces the plinth in terms of scale and street perception without compromising the existing building. The materials have been chosen to take cognisance of future plans to re-clad the entire building and interface with the main building in its own right. The design maintains the building line to the Richmond Street front maintaining the sense of continuity and terminating in a corner feature.  Access to the extension is from Richmond Street and in order to identify the building within the Science Quarter, feature light fittings create a science effect of ‘photons of light’ against the black basalt finish.

Unique Features

An important building element was the research and development of the 1m thick reinforced concrete sliding doors to the laser bunkers for radiation protection. There are 3 no. 2.1m high doors that each weigh 7 tonnes and a simple guide holds them in place. The doors operate on a cushion of air that brings them to dead stop with no travel inertia.  Due to the nature of the proposed activities within it the main bunker is accessed through one chicane with the second entrance consisting of a set of double doors. It was determined that lead doors alone were insufficient to deal with the radiation levels, therefore, the pneumatically operated bunker doors with air skates have also been developed to operate with a Controlled Radiation Area Keypad Interlock system.

To deal with stringent vibration criteria within microns, the bunker walls are built on a specialist rubber matting system to absorb and inhibit any external vibration. The floors are also floating concrete floors anchored to the main bunker walls above the rubber line. The sensitive nature of the laser labs such as the main SCAPA lab on the first floor resulted in a design of the floor structure to be de-coupled from the rest of the building to avoid vibration from foot traffic.

Energy Efficiency

Major building elements (floor slabs, external walls, roof and windows) should achieve an overall 'A' rating as detailed in the Green Guide to Specification 'A' (BRE 1998).  The emphasis of the energy strategy is on sustainability as a consideration of long-term costs and benefits. As such, ventilation systems will be designed to minimise heat loss and maximise air quality (in terms of humidity, normal comfort, sound, condensation etc.).  Daylighting has been maximised although orientation is dictated by the site axis and fenestration design with artificial lighting minimised.