The North East Futures University Technical College (UTC) is a school for 14 to 19 year olds specialising in health science and digital technologies accommodating up to 600 students.
Delivered by a private developer for the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), the building is part of the second phase of the Stephenson Quarter development in central Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The site is located immediately south of the city’s Central Station in an area that was home, in the mid nineteenth century, to pioneering railway locomotive businesses including that of Robert Stephenson & Co.
The building comprises a 5 storey new build teaching block integrated with the refurbishment of the Grade II listed Hawthorn Engineering works (HEW) – one of the surviving pieces of industrial heritage on the site. The conservation and active reuse of the former HEW is central to the design of the UTC building and integral to the masterplan of the wider site.
A storey high retaining wall, itself a listed structure, runs east / west across the Stephenson Quarter site. The building sits back from this structure at level 0 and 1 and as a result the principal building entrance is across a bridge of hot-riveted ironwork reclaimed from elsewhere on the site.
The organisation of the building sees teaching spaces stacked on the eastern side of the new block with larger spaces such as dining and the school hall occupying the refurbished historic building. This allows the original volume of the industrial space to remain legible, while bringing character and texture to these communal spaces at the heart of the school. The reuse of the listed building fabric provides a unique environment in which to be educated, with an explicit connection to the legacy of innovation and entrepreneurship Victorian steam pioneers such as Stephenson and Hawthorn left on the site.
Two complimentary tones of grey buff bricks are the principal material for the new build block deliberately contrasting with the Victorian red brick of the listed building.
Provision of external amenity space works with the building’s urban context, areas around the building at level 0 provide play and breakout space while a 4G sports pitch occupies roof level.