Brainy design

Environmental consultancy SLR Consulting has won an award for its design work at Northumbria University’s new campus.

The design for the new plaza, based on the way the human brain analyses information, achieved the main award in the Landscape Institute’s 1-5 Hectare Design category at a ceremony in London.

SLR’s design team, led by James Brewer and Mike Goodall, were tasked with creating a space that would provide an impressive gateway for the new campus and a vibrant multi-use event space located between two of the university’s new buildings.

Principal James Brewer, who is based in SLR’s Newcastle office said: “We considered the adjacent Law and Business School and the School of Design and how these disciplines are taught, developed and differ. Law and Business are perceived as requiring a logical and analytical thought process, while the School of Design may be regarded as drawing on more creative, often flamboyant thinking. We sought a design that would represent the fusion of both styles of thought and information processing, translating this in the exterior design to offer a flexible space for leisure, learning and display.

“In a combination of fluid and more linear forms, the central courtyard has large granite podia representing the nerve cells in the brain, with slate “dendrites” depicting the flow of information between the two schools. The podia serve to enhance the functionality of the main event space, whether for hosting large summer events or for provision of ‘chill out’ zones when students spill out from the adjacent café.” Tel 0191 262 1966

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