The Urban Sciences Building is an inspiring new place for world-leading interdisciplinary research and innovation.
More than a lab
The Urban Sciences Building (USB) is home to the University’s School of Computing and research focused on the urban environment. It’s a place where ingenuity, sustainability research and social innovation come together to develop and test new technologies that advance urban sciences.
The ambition for the USB was that it had to be more than just a lab, more than just a classroom – it had to embody sustainability research. Working closely with the University, we’ve designed a real ‘living’ laboratory – a place that drives real innovation and fosters meaningful collaboration. Here, pioneering scientists work hand-in-hand with industry partners and the local community to create and innovate 'smart' digital technologies. The work being done at the USB is already making a difference to the way we live, both in the UK and beyond.
“The most impressive aspect of Hawkins\Brown’s involvement was their willingness to engage with the subject matter of my school, and the degree to which they sought to understand the dynamics of our academic community.”
Professor John Fitzgerald Project Champion, Professor of Computer Science & Head of the School of Computing, Newcastle University
The USB is located on Science Central, a new hub for science, business, living and leisure at the heart of Newcastle. The building welcomes the public and academics alike and has been designed to stand out as a beacon of technical innovation and civic pride. Externally, it’s striking with a high-tech glass façade system that enhances its desire to engage with the city. Science Square, a generous new piece of public realm, draws people into the ground floor where the public, technology and data come together in the forum space, café and ‘showcase labs’.
There’s over 12,800sqm of teaching, research and laboratory spaces focused around the warm-toned timber-clad stair. Shooting off from the stair and around the lower levels are plenty of ‘creative collision’ spaces designed to promote engagement – after all, collaboration is the key to discovery.
Designed for the future
As occupants move up through the building the character changes, becoming quieter and more focused as research needs shift. Alongside the labs are the Urban Observatory and Decision Theatre. These spaces are used to process huge amounts of data collected by sensors positioned throughout the USB and across Newcastle. And because we don’t know what the future holds, we’ve also designed a ‘maker space’ for yet to be developed research projects.