The highly anticipated Catalyst building, designed by GSSArchitecture, has welcomed its first residents, Newcastle University’s teams from the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) and the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD), following completion in October 2019.
Also known as the National Innovation Centre, The Catalyst is one of the most complex and unique structures in the region. Spread across six floors, the 100,000 sq ft building provides flexible Grade A office space, supported by a unique mixture of public areas, co-working spaces, a data visualisation suite, a 175 seat TED style theatre, workshop, exhibition space and café as well as an impressive 20 seat board room with panoramic views across the Newcastle skyline.
As project architects and lead designers, GSSArchitecture was involved from inception to completion. This included successfully coordinated the complex stakeholder engagement programme with multiple, local and national organisations, to deliver a building that provides world class facilities and services under one roof.
The building design promotes a collaborative working ecosystem that is built on communication and interaction between the innovation centres and commercial industry experts. The primary focus of the new centre is to develop new products and services via data analytics as well helping to address the increasing ageing challenge in the UK.
The building itself is situated on the £350m Newcastle Helix development, a sustainable urban development which combines prestigious commercial and residential space with first class innovation, commercialisation, research, education and engagement facilities in the heart of the city.
Thanks to the eye-catching diagrid design, the building is instantly recognisable, and forms the centre piece to the Helix development site. This design is truly unique on the city skyline and it is hoped will help to break down barriers, change perceptions and be a world class facility, attracting the very best international talent to collaborate in the heart of Newcastle.
Simon Rennison-Rae, Associate at GSSArchitecture’s Newcastle Studio, said:
“The Catalyst building is a showcase for both of the University’s Innovation Centres and also for GSSArchitecture. The project was delivered ahead of schedule and under budget, which is a credit to the whole team. The Catalyst project has also been our own Catalyst for continued growth in the region and nationally and has helped to cement our relationships with clients, local authorities and other institutions. We look forward to seeing our friends at the two innovation centres starting to link with their partner organisations as they move into the building.
“The use of this building straddles so many sectors it is already proving to be an integral part of Newcastle’s offer as a global hub to facilitate innovation in the Digital and Health and Wellbeing arenas. Being part of this project has been a real privilege and we will take many of the concepts and lessons learnt to inform how we continue to grow from here.”
As home to Newcastle University’s teams from the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) as well as the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD), the building will bring together businesses, academics and members of the public to collaborate and support the research and development of new ageing and data products and services.
NICA works with research specialists, businesses, and the public to facilitate the commercialisation of key products, services and technologies that will help people live better, longer lives due to the needs and demands of an ageing population. NICA will share the new innovation centre with NICD, who work with partners in industry, the public sector and academics to exploit opportunities offered by the explosion in digital data.
GSSArchitecture are also currently working as architects and lead consultants on other exciting projects across the North East including offices, research buildings, student accommodation, masterplanning and projects in the Health Ageing and well-being sector.
The Catalyst will be opening to the public in spring 2020, although there are a number of events and exhibitions planned in the meantime, offering the chance for a sneak peek inside the building before its official opening.
Founded in 1879, GSSArchitecture is one of the leading national architectural and top consultant practices. We have eight partners and a total strength of around seventy, and with offices in Kettering, Harrogate, Gloucester, Milton Keynes and Newcastle we covering England, Scotland and Wales.