Helix Innovation Quarter

Newcastle, UK

Helix Innovation Quarter
Title:Helix Innovation Quarter, Newcastle, UK
Markets:Life Sciences, Healthcare and Innovation, Education
Client:Newcastle University and Newcastle City
Services:Landscape architecture
Region:United Kingdom
Team:Sheppard Robson
Photography:Giles Rocholl
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The Helix is a ground-breaking innovation district that brings together industry-leading scientists, research, and technology firms to transform the quality of life for families, communities, and cities worldwide. A joint venture between Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University, Helix is the largest development of its kind in the UK, regenerating 24 acres of former industrial land into a new mixed-use community innovation hub, providing a variety of research and development, educational, business and residential uses in the heart of Newcastle.

Gillespies delivered the public realm around two of the main academic buildings - the Frederick Douglas Centre, a state of the art conferencing and teaching facility, and the Catalyst, home to the national innovation centre for ageing and national innovation centre for data.

The stunning landscape design encourages collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and ideas within the community. The design celebrates the substantial level changes whilst maintaining a fully accessible and inclusive environment for everyone and creates a coherent and fully integrated piece of the wider public realm masterplan and design coding.

Sustainability was at the heart of the masterplanning and design process. Vast swathes of flowering perennials form part of the wider campus green infrastructure, and a network of swales, rain gardens and overland flood routes showcases a holistic water and flood management strategy. Gillespies also worked closely with the University research teams to develop the public realm as a live testbed and ‘outdoor living lab’ for exploring the pioneering research on carbon capture within soil mediums, which will provide an ongoing evidence base and environmental research tool for reducing the carbon footprint of construction projects for the future and combating climate change.