King’s Buildings Nucleus

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The University of Edinburgh




Sheppard Robson

A shared learning, teaching and social hub at the heart of the King’s Buildings Campus.

The Nucleus building has transformed the student and staff experience at the King’s Buildings Campus. The building was envisaged as being an environment where students could gather to study in several different ways.

More than 400 student study places have been created in a mix of formal and informal environments to offer students flexibility in how they learn. Seven lecture theatres, named after species of trees, of varying sizes to suit a range of learning requirements. A new specialist teaching laboratory is a key addition for the School of Chemistry.

The design approach was key in supporting students to undertake new innovative styles of learning and to aid them in their journey through University.

The Nucleus lies at the heart of the King’s Buildings Campus next to the main library. A masterplan was published which responded to several issues regarding the function and utilisation of the campus.

There were not enough places for individual or collective study on the Campus, so Nucleus was created to offer a flexible learning environment. A range of different-sized lecture theatres were created in different configurations to allow flexibility in the style of teaching whether it’s a large-scale lecture to 400 people on Maths or a collaborative lecture theatre that allows group working.

Nucleus was also designed to be the main catering hub at the Campus. A large café is located on the ground floor as well as a campus shop. In the study spaces upstairs, there are eating stations so that students can prepare their own meals.

Teaching &
Social Hub

The project was completed on-time and within budget. The building was opened in late 2022 for general access and it opened fully for teaching in January 2023.
Students have benefitted from a new modern flexible learning environment where they can not only attend lectures but enjoy comfortable and adaptable surroundings to study on their own.

The University plan to use the space in creative ways and encourage external parties to make uses of the space for events.


students engaged with


Percentage of local spend within 40 miles


Percentage of local labour within 40 miles


Apprentices and Trainees involved in the project

The reaction from students and staff to the new Nucleus building is brilliant. We’ve been overwhelmed on social media, from comments that are coming to us from everybody we speak to about how superb this is and how excited people now are to come up to the Campus at King’s Buildings.

Professor Iain Gordon
Vice Principal and Head of the College of Science and Engineering at The University of Edinburgh

Take a look at the Nucleus

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