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Newcastle University


The new Learning and Teaching Centre at Newcastle University will provide a 722 seat, high quality auditorium, and a 200 seat tiered lecture theatre for collaborative teaching groups. Sir Robert McAlpine, a leading building and engineering company, has been appointed by Newcastle Science Central to create an inspirational and sustainable centre for students. Designed by architects Sheppard Robson the new purpose built centre is part of a five year programme of investment by the university.

The exterior design of the auditorium is using a cladding system that takes inspiration from the Newcastle-born mathematician Louis Fry Richardson. Fry Richardson’s work pioneered modern methods of weather forecasting.

The centre will also have an exhibition space and a café, and it will sit within the Newcastle Science Central development. This large-scale development spans 24 acres of mixed-use city centre development land. It will be designed to be a new urban quarter in the centre of Newcastle and it will feature a number of sustainable developments to attract scientific and technology companies. The goal is to create a community that encompasses education, business, research and development and residential homes.

As part of the Learning and Teaching Centre, Billington Structures have delivered more than 250 tonnes of structural steel to the university on behalf of Sir Robert McAlpine. The two buildings have a pedestrianised street between them, and the lecture theatre also has interactive spaces for more informal working and offices for administration. The University’s mission is to provide a range of collaborative learning and social spaces for its students.

The project will also connect Science Square with a landscaped area known as Knowledge Square. Terracing will step down from this park and integral to the design is a discrete sustainable urban drainage system, which will slow down and hold back rainwater run-off from the site.

End Client


Main Contractor

Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd




Sheppard Robson