Urban Sciences Building


  • Client Newcastle University
  • Architect Hawkins Brown
  • Consultant Wintech
  • Main Contractor Bowmer & Kirkland Ltd
  • Schuco FW60 + SG Curtain Walling, Incorporating Digitally Printed Artwork on Glass
  • Schuco AWS114 AOV’s Linked to BMS
  • Digitally Printed Glass Rainscreen
  • Perforated Anodised Aluminium Rainscreen
  • Etched & Anodised Aluminium Rainscreen
  • Glazed Balustrades
  • Aluminium Louvres
  • Bi-parting automatic Doors
  • Entrance Doors
  • Fire Rated Internal Screens
  • Limestone Rainscreen
  • Glazed Plant Screens

Case Study


Completed in 2017 at a cost of £58m, the 12,500 sq metre Urban Sciences Building (USB) is a flagship development by Newcastle University within the Science Central site on the western edge of the city centre. As well as being home to the world Top 100 School of Computing, the building also includes a wide range of facilities funded through the University’s role in UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities.

Given our close proximity to the project site, Dane involvement with the Scheme commenced well in advance of the actual construction works. We began meetings with the Clients’, Project Managers and Architect in 2014 and assisted by providing contractors proposals and budget costings for the various cladding and glazing applications on this most distinctive and striking building.

Dane subcontract works (value £6.4m) included all external facades as well as internal hardwood oak screens, commenced on site in September 2016 and were completed in August 2017.

The project required the use of building information modelling (BIM) to establish new criteria for the University’s management of residual risk in future construction projects. Consequently, Dane designs were produced in 3D and imported to the project model.

Key Aspects Of Design And Construction

The main entrance to the building is via the dramatic tapering façade on the south east elevation which accesses a vast internal atrium space. The glazed façade includes digitally printed artwork to the double glazed units, the design of which is a map of the University’s website at a single point in time capturing every link and data point that a user has to navigate when searching for information about Newcastle University.

The concept of incorporating computer code within the facades is continued through the digital printing of the glass rainscreen and terrace balustrades as well as through the perforation patterns of the anodised aluminium rainscreen panels.

Curtain walling is Schuco FW 60 + SG incorporating AWS 114 Tiptronic automatically activated vents and control panels linked to the Building Management System.

Dane works around the perimeter of the building at ground level included powder coated louvres, limestone rainscreen, manual Schuco ADS 65 HD doors, and automatic doors and the main entrance vestibule.

The geometry of the inner elevations and terraces presented a number of access and distribution challenges, meaning that façade works had to be carefully planned and sequenced in conjunction with interfacing trades in order that the main contract programme be maintained.