Architecture Studios

A vertical accentuation of brick piers and chimneys enclosing flexible practical learning spaces

In 2019, the Department of Architecture and Built Environment (ABE) at the University of Northumbria underwent a transformative project that included a new extension and the refurbishment of existing studio spaces. This endeavor revitalized the department, providing state-of-the-art facilities designed to inspire creativity and collaboration.

Externally, the new extension features a primarily brick construction, echoing the vertical composition and scale of its neighbouring structures. The interior spaces are designed in a palette of brick and timber linings, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. These versatile areas cater to various needs, accommodating studio work, crits, and exhibitions.


Throughout Stages 2 and 3, Page\Park actively engaged with Architecture and Built Environment staff to understand the department’s needs and aspirations for their new ABE home. This collaborative process helped establish key principles and determine the best approach within the project constraints.

The project aimed to restore the setting of the department, situated in the cluster of Victorian buildings on Northumberland Road, to a more civic character. The design proposals sought to frame key elements of the existing building and positively contribute to the re-ordered setting of the lanes leading from Northumberland Road and College Street.

The Sutherland Building, which faces Northumberland Road, extends back in elongated wings toward the access lane off College Street. Linking these sections is a high red brick wall that forms the site’s boundary. The proposed ABE studio leg echoes this character and sits on a new interpretation of that boundary wall. An internal circulation spine connects from Northumberland Road through to a courtyard facing the lane.


The two-storey extension was designed to defer to the original building, allowing the existing north and west wings to retain their dominant role in the composition. The consolidated ABE department now holds a prominent position on the campus, serving as the gateway to the University from the city centre.

The grand rooms on the ground floor of the north and west wings house the Built Environment areas, while the student hub occupies the corner bay, becoming the showcase for the department. The new Architecture studio setting is located within a raw and “industrial” courtyard, providing a contrasting environment to the sophistication of the frontage building. It serves as an incubator of new ideas and a workshop for creativity, where students study, rework, and reimagine the urban world outside.

The new building seamlessly blends the materiality of the original structures with the department’s current organizational needs. Its external and internal brick pier and chimney character feature various components, including an articulated brick wall with large window openings to the west. Along the south lane, a stepped enfilade of brick piers and garden wall elements, interspersed with glazing and railings, offers shading to the internal spaces and emphasizes the vertical qualities of the original architecture.

The completion of the Department of Architecture and Built Environment extension marks a significant milestone for the University of Northumbria. With its contemporary facilities, it provides an inspiring and collaborative environment where students and faculty can thrive, fostering creativity, innovation, and architectural excellence.

Project Info

University of Northumbria
Sutherland Building, Northumberland Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Internal Floor Area
January 2019
Structural Engineer
WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
M&E Engineer
Desco (Design & Consultancy) Ltd
Fire Engineer
WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
Acoustic Consultant
Apex Acoustics
Landscape Architect
Cost Consultant
Turner & Townsend Cost Management
CDM Co-ordinator
Turner & Townsend Cost Management
Esh Build
Page\Park & Simon Veit-Wilson
Principal Designer
Turner & Townsend