Sheppard Robson has been commissioned to design a £29m Learning and Teaching Centre for Newcastle University, as part of the Science Central development.
On the ground floor plan, an internal street mediates between the more formal, focused spaces of the auditorium and the social, interactive spaces in the “Learning Arc”. The latter includes an exhibition space and café for more informal working, addressing the University’s mission to provide a range of collaborative learning and social spaces. Directly above this are three storeys of learning facilities, including office accommodation for the University’s Business School.
The exterior of the ‘Learning Arc’ has a strong vertical expression formed of alternating perforated panels – which allows for natural ventilation – and more solid elements of back-painted glass. This forms a rhythm to the façade which follows the structure of the building’s concrete frame. The top level is lighter in form and is expressed in expanded aluminum mesh.
The building’s sweeping curve has been designed to visually connect two public spaces that are adjacent to the project and sit within the Science Central masterplan. This curve is formed of a ‘Learning Arc’ that is positioned around the triangular form of a flexible auditorium with the capacity to hold 750 people.
The scheme includes the creation of a significant area of new public realm, which will connect Science Square with a softer landscaped Knowledge Square.
Photo credits: Sheppard Robson