This building is University College Cork’s (UCC) inter-disciplinary Environment Research Institute(ERI) whose focus is on translation of fundamental knowledge in Environment, Engineering andManagement into practical solutions for the protection and sustainability of natural resources.The ERI is the first naturally ventilated laboratory building in Ireland. Funding by the HEAwas supported by Sustainable Energy Ireland. The low energy building optimises solar power,cross ventilation, daylight and draws heat from a local aquifer. The building is the subject of anongoing environmental performance study and achieved a very excellent BREEAM rating.The ERI is a bespoke building bringing together different faculties of research in UCC. Thebuilding is designed for minimal impact on the environment; the floor slabs have embedded 10pipework for cooling in the summer months, and heating in the winter, using groundwater at 11constant temperature of 15 degrees Celsius. This is heated in winter using solar cells on the roofcombined with a heat recovery system from the laboratory equipment, avoiding the need for aboiler. The building is fully naturally ventilated through it’s alignment to the prevailing wind,and the fabric of the building has embodies sensor technology to provide research data on thebuilding’s performance.The building embodies the fragility of its location, the flood plain of the River Lee. It iscomposed of robust parts which anchor themselves to this specific place, absorbing the floodwaters within the concrete structure, and fragile elements of timber and glass that respond to thehuman occupation of the building, breathing in rhythm with the external environment, and thechanging laboratory experiments which are conducted within it.