Rendered overview of 'sheltered' campus

Client: Strategic Investment Board of Northern Ireland
Location: near Cookstown, Ulster
Size: 1,000,000sf
Program: Academics, Administration, Physical Training, Tactical Training, Amenities
Cost: $150,000,000 (approx)
Status: Cancelled in 2015 after completion of contract documents
Note: BREEAM Excellent, Net Zero Operation
Link to web content: Client website, Design Bureau

Key Roles: Anthony Fieldman, former Principal and lead project designer, Perkins+Will

Perkins+Will, Architect of Record

Images: Unless otherwise noted, copyright owned by Perkins+Will Architects, PC - used by permission






Desertcreat Joint Services Training College is a new integrated academic and practical training campus for the Police, Prison, and Fire & Rescue services of Northern Ireland. The project site comprises 127 hectare zone of agricultural drumlins and woodland in the geographic center of Ulster, while the Killymoon, an ecologically significant river, runs through the site from West to East.  

The site development strategy proposes a constructed and self-sustaining campus ecosystem to enhance the existing, with the overall intention of restoring the original Heritage landscape through strategies of habitat creation and management. To this end, we are planting and managing new stands of coppice willow to create bio-mass heat energy for the buildings; constructing a reed bed system for black / gray water filtration and water retention; capturing wind energy for on-site electricity generation; and creating substantial native wetlands and hedgerows to enhance biodiversity.

The “Sheltered Campus” concept for the main campus proposes a unifying roof structure in dialogue with the landscape, under which the academic campus buildings are assembled and protected.  The buildings beneath the roof amplify the landscape by literally reflecting it, dissolving the buildings and blurring the line between the man-made and the natural. Comprehensive strategies for natural ventilation, water retention and filtration, thermal mass cooling, locally sourced materials and daylight amplification have all literally shaped the architecture and helped to achieve the project’s aggressive net zero energy goals. 

Comprehensively, it is with the combined energy and land stewardship strategies that we are able to use the architecture to both amplify and mirror the site’s latent assets, using the Northern Irish landscape as a point of unity and focus for the people that will train there.

Rendered view of campus from rainwater harvesting retention pond

Rendered facade detail

Rendered view of main reception gallery

Rendered view of main 'street'

Net zero operations diagram. Image credit: Atelier Ten

Rendered view of Welcome Center