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The Lifestyle Academy, Newcastle, United Kingdom 
Monday 09 Jun 2008
 
RIBA for RMJM 
 
ChrisGascoigne 
 
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RMJM’s Lifestyle Academy in Newcastle, UK wins RIBA award 

The Lifestyle Academy, part of Newcastle College, is a centre for excellence where students of beauty, sport, tourism and hospitality can immerse themselves in their vocation thanks to state-of-the-art, real life working environments. Architects RMJM have designed four buildings for the college’s Rye Hill camps since 2003 and the first development, the Performance Academy, also received a RIBA award in 2005.

The £16 million Lifestyle Academy was completed in September 2006, and is an excellent learning facility for students and an outstanding training resource for employers and businesses throughout the region. Open to the local community and boasting its very own commercial gym, a luxurious spa, 60-seat restaurant with panoramic views and a hairdressing salon all staffed by students, the Lifestyle Academy offers visitors the highest quality service at low prices.

Architect Adrian Boot, a director at RMJM explains:“The location of the building is highly visible from across the city and this presented us with the opportunity to make the building prominent and showcase its inner workings through the use of panoramic windows. Much of the Academy’s operations are related to interacting with the general public and visibility was considered crucial.

"We are thrilled to have won a second RIBA award for our work with Newcastle College. Our projects have helped provide the college with a strong identity that reflects its local, national and international ambitions and have contributed to the on-going regeneration of the Tyneside region.”

The building is clearly distinguished into three forms. A monolithic black box with an abstract, pierced facade; a silver box with giant windows allowing the outside world to catch a glimpse of the inner workings of the school; and a concrete plinth on which the building sits. The black facade is pierced with an array of slot windows which draw attention to the building and generate curiosity.

The skin is a carefully developed and economical fiber cement cladding system with the window locations carefully considered in relation to daylight, heat gain and the spaces they serve. The structure has a concrete frame and exposed BubbleDeck® concrete slabs. The use of this system, which includes a precast slab that integrates standard reinforcement and encloses recycled hollow plastic spheres in place of concrete, significantly reduces mass. The slabs are factory finished offering greater quality control and an improved soft finish. This element offered significant advantages with the on site construction period significantly reduced. They are quickly constructed on site and require up to 50% less concrete than standard slabs. Not only does this present programmed advantages but also savings on foundation design and size.

RMJM also won a RIBA Award 2008 for Information Commons at the University of Sheffield. Related articles

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