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17 Jul 2014

FaulknerBrowns creates Core of Science Central

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Gold-clad office block by FaulknerBrowns will be the first building opened on a 24-acre site in Newcastle that is being billed as "one of the most innovative and inspiring city centre developments in a generation".

FaulknerBrowns' distinctive office block will be the first building to open on Science Central, a 24-acre site being co-developed by Newcastle University and the local council that formerly housed the Newcastle Brown brewery.

The Core holds a prominent position, acting as a gateway to the site, for which up to 40 university and commercial buildings are planned. The south-facing main facade, which overlooks the city, is wrapped in gold-anodised aluminium cladding with contrasting green fins that provide shading.

"The Core will be at the heart of one of the most innovative and inspiring city centre developments in a generation," said Paul Fallon, who is managing the building. "[It] has been designed to serve as a crossing point between research expertise and commercialisation."

The seven-storey building includes around 2,750sq m of serviced office space for high-growth technology and science-based businesses at the front. The ground and first floors contain areas for events and business networking. The stairway, lifts and services are positioned at the back of the building, which is wrapped in large fibrous cement panels, each spanning a full storey.

Andrew Kane, partner at FaulknerBrowns told onoffice that the interior of the building was designed to allow the various businesses to operate as a community, to "stimulate and help the economy".

"We looked at examples of good design across Europe, and wanted to create transparency, rather than shutting the businesses off from each other," he said. "There are places to sit in the corridors and communal areas where people can work together – the 'clustering effect' really helps [business] growth."

The north façade also features a 27m-high green wall covered in a mixture of ivies, seagrass, thyme, primulas, euphorbia and nesting boxes, which aims to boost biodiversity on the site. Kane explained that a major advantage of the green wall is allowing the building to be easily expanded at a later date.

Other sustainable features include photovoltaic panels on the roof and glazed window panels, as well as a planted sedum roof, rainwater harvesting and a series of adjoining public squares.

"FaulknerBrowns has designed the building with the view to achieving a high sustainability BREEAM Excellent standard, which we are delighted to say it was recently awarded," said Fiona Standfield, director of Science City.

"The wider Science Central site has also received a CEEQUAL Excellent award for sustainability from the Institute of Civil Engineers, so our aspirations to create a development with sustainability at its heart are beginning to bear fruit."

The building is set to open on 3 November 2014, following 12 months of construction, and over half has already been pre-let to tenants.

The development plans to create 1,900 jobs over the next 15 to 20 years. Newcastle University has announced plans to invest £50m on Science Central, which has also received funding from the European Union Regional Development Fund 2007-2013 and the Regional Growth Fund.


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