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New world-class Architecture Studios open at Northumbria University

4th February 2019

Students and staff from Northumbria’s flagship Architecture programmes have started to move in to their new, purpose-built studios this week.

Located at Northumbria’s City Campus in the heart of Newcastle, this ambitious and innovative extension of the University’s historic Grade II listed Sutherland Building has been designed by renowned architects Page/Park.

Winners of more than 150 national and international awards, Page\Park liaised closely with Northumbria’s Architecture team to ensure the building’s design was specifically tailored to how students and staff work – creating a world-class home for an outstanding programme.

The intelligent and sympathetic design knits together the existing, historic Sutherland Building, with innovative, light-filled, and flexible studio spaces that will ensure the very highest student experience for Northumbria’s outstanding students for many years to come.

Damon Kent, Northumbria’s Director of Campus Services, has overseen the development and delivery of this transformative and ambitious undertaking - blending the grandeur of the listed Sutherland Building with contemporary and innovative new teaching studios.

He said: “The project is the last major delivery of the Estate Plan 2013-18 and it is fantastically fitting to see the establishment of ‘A New Home for Architecture’.

“Sitting within one of the University's most iconic and historically significant buildings, our Architecture students now have access to a modern, vibrant and collaborative learning environment that will enhance the reputation of our Architecture programmes. 

“I would like to thank everyone involved in delivering the project, both inside and outside the University for their hard work. The building is testament to their dedication to provide world-class facilities for our students.”   

Dr Simon Robson, Head of Department for Architecture & the Built Environment, at Northumbria, said the combination of world-leading academic programmes in world-class space puts the University in an enviable position in the sector.

“The University takes great pride in its flagship architecture and interior architecture programmes,” he said. “We are now excited to match the excellence of our architecture degrees, students and staff with world leading teaching spaces.

“The new accommodation integrates the grandeur of the listed Sutherland Building with modern teaching studios. This Page \ Park scheme will place Northumbria’s Department of Architecture and Built Environment at the vanguard of architectural education in the UK.”

Packed with innovative design features

  • Architecture students will benefit from almost 4 square metres of studio space per student – double the previous provision – and one of the highest levels of personal studio space in the UK. This will ensure world class facilities to enhance the student experience.
  • Every student will have their own desk, drawing board, power supply, USB point and cutting mat. They will keep their own studio space all the way through their degree.
  • The studios have been purpose-built specifically for Northumbria’s Architecture programmes, with a design tailored for how the University’s students and staff work.
  • Page\Park are specialists in the creative re-use and restoration of buildings. This historic building conversion has been designed with light, sight and greenery in mind. It is an environmentally-minded extension with outdoor space and courtyards.
  • The studios combine digital and traditional methods of communicating work. New touch screens mean students and staff can draw directly on screen and email content to each other.
  • The building has a carbon-neutral design with an under-reliance on mechanics. It is naturally ventilated and has entirely recycled flooring and chairs, a green roof and a green wall with bird boxes and bat boxes to encourage wildlife.
  • It has highly-efficient underfloor heating and is well insulated. There is a rain garden pond which creates a water feature and enables sustainable surface water drainage. This maximises the extension’s connection to nature.
  • Page\Park see the building as part of the teaching tools of the department. They have incorporated lots of architectural ideas and differences in features throughout the building that can be used in teaching. The design enables architecture students to learn about structure, ventilation, acoustics and fitting out. It is a learning laboratory.
  • The studios are fitted with integrated, moveable display panels that can be aligned in different formations around the room for use in teaching and exhibitions.

You can view a gallery of images from inside Northumbria’s new Architecture Studios by clicking here.

Caption:Paul Ring (right) pictured with Architecture students during the building of the new studiosPaul Ring, Head of Architecture subjects and Interior Architecture programme leader, has been closely involved with the project.

“We’re delighted to be moving our Architecture and Interior Architecture students into their new studios by Page\Park Architects,” he said.

“Within the auspicious surrounds of Sutherland Building, the extension knits into the existing building with an informed sensibility for the heritage of Sutherland and our ambitions for a future proof studio environment.

“Not only do the new studios and review spaces double our space per student to around 4m2, it’s the quality of that space that makes these new studios such a success. Page\Park have thought hard about how we teach, how our students learn and our focus upon studio based creative practice. The building is flexible, responsive and acts as a learning laboratory by revealing its structural and material fabric through a beautiful adaptation and extension. Our students will learn in and from this new space whilst their aesthetic sensibilities will be lifted by the quality of Page\Park’s design.” 

Page\Park is a progressive employee-owned architecture practice committed to making a positive contribution to our built environment. Established in 1981, Page\Park has built a reputation for inventive contemporary architecture that stems from an understanding of history, people and place. Its accolades include winning the Carbon Trust Award in Scotland twice, and being shortlisted for the RIAS Andrew Doolan Award for Architecture four times, winning once in 2006 for the Maggie's Centre Highlands and receiving a Special Commendation in 2010 for the McManus Galleries.

Marianne Partyka, at Page\Park Architects, said: “Page\Park were excited to work with Northumbria University on the alterations and extension to the Category II Listed Sutherland Building.

“The aim of the project has been to create a new collegiate home for the department encouraging interaction, peer learning and a sense of community. The department have been strong advocates of the importance of studio culture at the heart of their teaching approach and the project is testament to their determination to nurture that culture and we hope this new home allows it to flourish.”

Recognised by external examiners as being among the best programmes in the UK, Architecture at Northumbria has an international reputation for excellence. Northumbria is ranked 15th in the UK in the Guardian University League Tables 2019, with the department of Architecture and Built Environment rated in the top 200 in the 20 QS World University Rankings.

You can find out more about studying Architecture at Northumbria by signing up to one of upcoming NU Experience Days or by clicking here.

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