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Matthew Building, DJCAD  

Multi-floor refurbishment of the University of Dundee's Matthew Building, including flagship lecture theatres, architecture & design studio spaces and workshops.

Project – Refurbishment of Matthew Building

Client – University of Dundee

Contract Value - Multiple projects


At JPA we have worked on a great number of project for the University of Dundee, spanning several decades. The Matthew building is a special one to us however, as it was designed by the founder of James Paul Associates, Professor James Paul.


James Paul was also the head of the architecture school at the University of Dundee from his 30’s until his retirement in 1994. Indeed all of those who have been Partners at James Paul, James, Angus Roddy and Sam have close ties with the building having either taught or been taught in it.

As such it was with great pleasure to be appointed by the University of Dundee to undertake a series of comprehensive refurbishments to the Matthew Building – including the department of architecture facilities. The Matthew building had had little or no refurbishment works since it’s completion in the late 1960’s, which meant full refurbishment of such a large building would be a large task.

The projects we have undertaken so far include, the refurbishment of architecture studio spaces, bringing the circulation areas and floors generally up to modern Building Standards, replacement workshop facilities, refurbishment of library and leisure spaces, a vibrant new café space and a new flagship lecture theatre suite for the University.

Although a number of these projects are still either in the planning stage or currently under construction, we have now completed a number of new flagship lecture theatres. Designed by Partner Sam Wilson, he was particularly pleased to be penning the replacement theatres as their function was to provide learning spaces for architecture students – which he himself had been in the same rooms a decade or so ago.

The DOJCAD flagship lecture theatre was to be LT 5018, and was to include state of the art IT/media systems in order for it to be shared with the film and gaming design departments at the university. The finished theatre takes the form of a 106-seat multi-disciplinary learning space with full cinema capability. However, with this function the project also had to achieve very high levels of acoustic absorption, both ambient and task lighting for the flexible working space at the rear of the theatre and moveable furniture/screen connectivity for seminar groups.

In order to cope with the demands of the brief a bespoke sloping ceiling was designed with flush access panels and integrated full length LED lighting. Aesthetically pleasing and considered materials were chosen to fit with the linear theme and were specified with high durability to cope with high traffic. The Russwood natural cladding system also adds a visual warmth to offset all the technology, whilst having acoustic properties that assist the cinema function. State of the art seating was provided by Ferco, who we worked hand in hand with to develop the seating for proposals. Each student has a fold down tablet for writing or to support devices and various charging options have been integrated into the design. Ferco have now used this, and the neighbouring LT5013 project as a case study for exemplar auditorium design and is used in their literature globally.   

Also above are photographs of the recently completed LT5013 which again aims to provide a bright, flexible and dynamic working environment. We are currently working on the next theatres due for completion next year.

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