RTPI Award for the Urban Sciences Building

The Urban Sciences Building (USB) was crowned the overall winner at the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Awards for Planning Excellence 2018.

The stunning building forms part of the Newcastle Helix site, a £350 million urban regeneration project being developed by Newcastle University, Newcastle City Council, and Legal & General Capital and is one of the largest developments in the city.

The USB is the first of three University buildings to be developed on the site and is home to the University’s world-leading School of Computing, the National Centre for Energy Systems Integration and the Urban Observatory. The building accommodates over 1,000 staff and students. The USB and its surrounding city area is a living laboratory underpinning research to make urban centres more sustainable, study the impacts of buildings on the environment and even the challenge the definition of sustainability.

The striking design, innovative approach to sustainability and collaboration throughout made this project quite unique. The project was entered into the awards in a joint submission by Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University, with judges praising the collaboration of the two organisations in making the building a reality.

Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for employment, Cllr Ged Bell, said: “While the wider Helix site continues to develop, the remarkable Urban Sciences Building has been open for a year now and has set the benchmark for innovation in sustainability.

“This unique building provides students at Newcastle University with a platform to carry out revolutionary research which could shape future generations.

“The Helix site demonstrates the forward-thinking partnership between ourselves, the University and Legal and General, bringing major investment and job opportunities to Newcastle.”

Iain Garfield, Acting Director of Estates, Newcastle University, said: “We have been working closely with Newcastle City Council Planning Department over a number of years and have a joint understand of the importance of ensuring that estate developments enhance the cityscape and provide excellent working environments that we can all be proud.

“Sustainability is at the heart of our development strategy and working with the planners on issues such as flood water management is a key part of our successes. I am proud that this close working relationship and in particular our work on the Urban Sciences Building has been recognised by the RTPI Planning Excellence Award.”

Chair of RTPI North East, Ian Cansfield said: "Partnership working was key to the Urban Science Building project, demonstrating best practice in planning. Led by Newcastle Council's planning officer, a multi-disciplinary team provided joined up responses to urban and landscape design, flood mitigation, and transport, to ensure quality design and place-making."

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