One Elmwood- the Gown’s Review

By the Gown Contributors

Our writers give their insightfully varied verdict on the new Student’s Union Building with our Photographer, Alex Edwards, providing the pics of every nook and cranny

The new Student’s Union at Queen’s

First Impressions:

Jacqueline Bonner: “I felt the stairs went onto to infinity, very grandiose! The ceiling was huge, and it was a very bright atmosphere.”

Nancy Eaton: “What a great open space. As a recent graduate from QUB a big bright SU is just what is needed for the student community!”

Rory Morrow: “Woh, this is massive! Felt very big and slick as though someone had simply switched an Upgrade button on! Is all the empty space necessarily a good thing, though?”

Alex Edwards: “The glass. Sitting in the foyer studying we’ll be able to enjoy some of the rare sunshine the comes, even when it’s blustery!”

Aarushi Ganguli: “The layout of the area allows for greater numbers of students to enjoy the space and it’s very sleek and modern, which I like. Unlike the old SU, there are a lot of places to sit and eat and chat to friends. All the space allows for different events to be held without being interrupted or too much noise drowning out the event. Overall, I like being in the SU, just not for studying!”

Oisin Loughran: “My overriding first impression was that it’s definitely a massive improvement on what there was before.”

Garrett Byrne: “I was never in the old Union and therefore have no reference for comparison I imagine it is markedly different though. Regardless, I like what I sense, a congenial student atmosphere and provision of all the necessary facilities.”

One of the stunning Second Floor sketches! This one is especially relevant to us as student journalists as it displays QUB’s student media services, Queen’s Radio, QR, and the Gown Newspaper

Best Part:

JB: “Feels made to be used. Within the first week of it opening, people were already studying and relaxing in all of the most difficult to find corners!”

NE: “The Mandela Hall is back open! It is a truly iconic Belfast music venue, so although I haven’t seen it myself, I can’t wait to see what the new space is like!”

RM: “Just how student-y it feels for such a fresh building. The varied seating (often, it’s even not enough!), the all-too-tempting pool tables and the stunning Second Floor Sketches stand out! Especially the student media sketch (pictured above)!”

AE: “It’s another cool place to hang out and there will hopefully be a room here for project meetings, even when the McClay is full.”

AG: “The best part for me would most likely be the seats on the stairs because there is space where I have spent time sitting and talking to my friends for hours on end! The aesthetic of the surroundings is also very nice. As well, a number of events I have been to in the SU are always varied and enjoyable!”

OL: “Mandela Hall! Looks to be a good spot for events. Went to the recent Queen’s Comedy Club night and it was some craic!”

GB: “The practicality of it, that anything you need during the student day, you could pop in for!”

From the top! A view down from One Elmwood’s third floor, a lot of steep stairs indeed!

Could Be Better

JB: “Directions to where each particular room is- for club or soc committee members, simply finding the rooms they are supposed to be meeting in can make them five or ten minutes late! Also not taking cash is a big pet peeve for me.”

NE: “There are rather a lot of stairs! I walked up and had to come back down and was well and truly out of breath. Although perhaps that is a me problem!”

RM: “Didn’t think I’d be typing this but the Speakeasy/Union Bar/whatever the kids are calling it now. Could be my eldering years but the music is far too loud and the cosy, crammed intimacy of yesteryear feels disregarded! If you want to go in for just a chill pint, prepare for it to be served with earache!”

AE: “There’s an incredible view out over Belfast from the upstairs. The trees and towers of Belfast peek out from behind buildings. That said, I think a bit of student access to the front balcony would be pretty epic, allowing us to enjoy an even wider field of view.”

Tis a good view but could it be elevated to breath-taking?

AG: “Hands down, the only part that I think could improve is the new Speakeasy (Union Bar). The music is too loud for it to be enjoyable and in my opinion, I would much rather go to Parlour for a drink for more of a chill vibe.”

OL: “The fact that it’s completely cashless throughout- even in the bar- is annoying. I wish they called the new bar something different as the Speakeasy felt like the name of a bar whereas the Union bar feels a bit basic”

GB: “My lone criticism would be the execution of the architecture. The predominant ‘minimalist’ design so prevalent in western architecture makes it hard for desingers to strive for originality. Buildings as a result lack individual vibrancy. Ample space between facilities is well and good but this can detract from the interpersonal aspect of student life. Albeit student Unions neither have the capital nor historical geography to resemble the Louvre!”

Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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