£58 million Urban Sciences Building unveiled

Monday 02 Feb 2015

Hub to be heart of £250 million flagship Science Central project

Initial plans for Newcastle University’s proposed £58 million Urban Sciences Building have just been unveiled at a public consultation in Newcastle, in the north-east of England.

Newcastle University has been developing the proposals with Hawkins\\Brown, Buro Happold and bd Landscape Architects. A spokesperson from the university tells us: “The public consultation was a great success. People were very interested to learn what was planned for the centre of their city and most impressed by the artist’s impressions of the building.”

Newcastle University will now submit a planning application in the next few weeks.
If successful, the new development will house the University’s School of Computing Science, a public performance space, a ‘decision theatre’ for the visualisation and interpretation of urban data, and a rooftop wild-flower meadow. The University claims the new complex will be ‘at the forefront of urban innovation’.

The School of Computing Science will be at the heart of Science Central - Newcastle’s £250 million flagship project bringing together academia, the public sector, communities, business and industry to create a global centre for urban innovation in the heart of the city.

Bringing together a range of research disciplines under the banner of ‘digitally-enabled urban sustainability’, the aim is to create a ‘living laboratory’ where everything from the infrastructure and environment to even the building itself are used to develop and design sustainable solutions for the future.

Teaching is also central to the designs, and the plans include a state-of-the-art lecture theatre and a flexible learning environment to encourage collaboration and engagement.

Led by Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council through the Science City partnership, the development will include a low carbon energy centre, a unique £2 million grid connected energy storage test bed, and smart grid network that will allow the development of new technologies for maximising efficiency, availability and sustainability of energy across the UK power grid.

Originally the Elswick Colliery, then later the production centre for Newcastle Brown Ale, the 24-acre site has been Newcastle’s industrial heart for 200 years. It will now be the site where emerging urban technologies will be tried and tested.

Subject to planning permission, work is due to begin on the Urban Sciences Building later this year with a planned completion date of September 2017.

By Gail Taylor

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