Work has started on a £34m learning and teaching centre for Newcastle University, based at Newcastle Science Central.
Building and civil engineering company Sir Robert McAlpine, has been appointed to create a sustainable learning and teaching environment that will enhance the student experience.
Designed by architects Sheppard Robson, the facility will provide a 722-seat auditorium and a 200-seat tiered lecture theatre for collaborative group teaching.
Professor Suzanne Cholerton, pro-vice-chancellor for learning and teaching at Newcastle University, said: “By developing exciting, new, purpose-built educational spaces, such as the Learning and Teaching Centre, we will secure our future as one of the UK’s leading universities. This project reflects our commitment to delivering the best possible experience for our students through our continued focus on providing learning opportunities of the highest standard, supported by our five-year, £500m programme of investment.
“In addition to providing modern learning facilities for up to 2,200 students across three floors, the centre will also provide exhibition space, café and expansive social learning spaces.”
The design includes the creation of a new public area, which will connect Science Square, with a softer landscaped Knowledge Square. Terracing will step down from this pocket park, with the landscaping scheme continuing to wrap around the building along Draymans Way.
Rupert Goddard, partner at Sheppard Robson, said: “With the start of construction, we are one step closer to delivering a project which – by deftly weaving together social spaces with flexible auditoria – will promote modern ways of learning and teaching.
“We wanted our design to communicate the pivotal role this facility will have to the campus and wider University, with a strident design that resonates both with the campus context and the city’s history of scientific innovation.”
Project manager Lee Wayper said: “It feels fantastic to have begun work on site and we look forward to building on the relationships we have established with Newcastle University and the project team as we work to realise the vision for this exciting project.
“This inspiring building with cutting edge learning and teaching facilities will continue the evolution of this part of the city.
We also look forward to strengthening our ties with the surrounding community to ensure they are kept fully updated on progress and reap the benefit of this flagship development.”