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Northumbria University Architecture Building

Northumbria University Architecture Building

Key Facts


University of Northumbria


Sutherland Building, Northumberland Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne



Internal Floor Area



January 2019

A vertical accentuation of brick piers and chimneys

Project Info

Echoing the vertical composition and scale of its neighbours the proposal transforms a once indeterminate space by defining a new intimate urban courtyard. The articulated brick façade embeds it in its context while its canting form draws attention to the public entrance. Within a spine connects the Built Environment areas concentrated in the grand rooms to the new architecture studios where the urbane world outside it studied, reworked and re-imagined.


Throughout Stage 2 and 3, Page\Park engaged with Architecture and Built Environment staff to understand the faculty’s needs and aspiration for their new ABE department home.

These sessions gave us the opportunity to discuss and establish the key principles for the project to determine the best fit for the department within the current project constraints.

Studio Space
Studio Space
Heritage & Conservation

The existing building contributes significantly to the townscape character of Northumberland Road sitting within a cluster of Victorian buildings and acting as a gateway to the Northumbria University campus.

Whereas the east side of the block and internal courtyard have a somewhat haphazard composition and utilitarian character. The incorporation of a new extension for the architecture and built environment department offers the opportunity to restore the setting to a more civic character. The design proposals seek to frame key elements of the existing building and positively contribute to a re-ordered setting to the lanes that lead from Northumberland Road and College Street.

The Sutherland Building faces onto Northumberland Road, extending back in a series of elongated wings towards the access lane off College Street. Linking these legs of building is a high red brick wall that forms the boundary to the site.

The proposed ABE studio leg echoes this character and sits on a new interpretation of that boundary wall. To the east of this new leg, an internal circulation spine links from Northumberland Road through to a courtyard facing the lane.

The main form of the extension is kept to two-storeys to defer to the original building and allow the existing north and west wings to retain their dominant role in the composition.

Aerial View
Aerial View

In its new location the consolidated ABE department holds a prominent position on the campus, effectively the gateway to the University from the city centre.

The Built Environment areas are concentrated in the grand rooms on the ground floor in the north and west wings with the student hub exploiting the corner bay to become the shop window for the department.

The new Architecture studio setting is within the rawer and more ‘industrial’ courtyard. We see this setting as a balancing contrast to the sophistication of the civic architecture of the frontage building. It is the incubator of new ideas, the workshop of creativity, from which the urbane world outside is studied, reworked and re-imagined.

The new building is seen as a contemporary blend of the materiality of the original buildings and current organisational need. It has a number of components in its expressed external and internal brick pier and chimney character:

  • To the west an articulated brick wall with large window openings.
  • To the south lane a stepped enfilade of brick piers and garden wall elements with glazing and railings between, giving shading to the internal spaces and emphasising the vertical quality of the original architecture in the wall detailing, tower and chimney articulation.
  • To the internal lane a brick chimney and pier wall carrying the roof glazing connecting the different studios.


“Page\Park Architects have produced an intelligent and sensitive scheme, knitting together the existing, historic Sutherland Building, with innovative, light-filled, flexible and stimulating studio spaces that will ensure the very highest student experience for our students for years to come.”

Professor Ruth Dalton Head of Department for Architecture and Built Environment

“Within a few days of opening the students were using the space exactly as intended, producing high quality coursework in a stimulating environment.”

Mike Cookson Project Officer, Campus Planning & Development

Selected Awards


Structural Engineer: WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
M&E Engineer: Desco (Design & Consultancy) Ltd
Fire Engineer: WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
Acoustic Consultant: Apex Acoustics
Landscape Architect: Colour
Cost Consultant: Turner & Townsend Cost Management
CDM Co-ordinator: Turner & Townsend Cost Management
Contractor: Esh Build
Photographer: Page\Park & Simon Veit-Wilson
Principal Designer: Turner & Townsend