Institute for Sustainability

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USB scoops awards for design, innovation and sustainability

Newcastle University's Urban Sciences Building (USB) has won and was shortlisted for multiple regional and national awards.

Multi-award winning

The Urban Sciences Building (USB) won the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Award for Design through Innovation, and was shortlisted for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Awards for the North East Regional Award. RICS called the USB ‘a truly inspirational and futuristic building’.

In addition to these prestigious awards for architecture and design, the USB was a runner-up for the Guardian University Awards in its ‘Buildings that Inspire’ category. The Guardian praised the USB for its 'cutting-edge interdisciplinary sustainability research', 'integrated research labs involving multiple industrial collaborations' and as a unique home for the School of Computing that is providing world-class teaching and tackling global challenges.

World-leading research in urban infrastructure and sustainability

Since its completion in Autumn 2017, the USB has been the centre of a range of national and world-leading projects in urban infrastructure, energy, water, internet-of-things, digital urban sensing and computing. Never before has a building integrated so many exciting features for research, teaching and sustainability.

  • The USB contains over 4,000 digital urban sensors and is a virtual power plant that provides services to the country’s energy network.
  • Its National Green Infrastructure Facility is a ‘living lab’ for solutions to water challenges in cities, including sustainable drainage that is protecting Newcastle city centre from extreme flooding.
  • The Urban Observatory – the UK’s largest urban digital sensing network – is based in the USB, monitors multiple aspects of the building’s environmental performance and the city as a whole.

These exemplary features amongst others make the USB the ideal testbed for rolling out the future of urban buildings and infrastructure.

More to come

The awards have all highlighted how Newcastle University is re-defining the role of academic institutions in providing excellent research and teaching aligned with sustainable development and stimulating economic growth. 

The USB also picked up noteworthy local awards such as the Lord Mayor’s Design Awards for sustainability, the Constructing Excellence Awards and Offsite Awards for best use of MEP technology. The USB will go on to compete for the national RIBA awards, and visitors to Newcastle will find it worth looking out for during the Great Exhibition of the North this summer.

The USB is located on the Newcastle Helix quarter in Newcastle that brings together academia, communities, businesses, industry and the public sector in the biggest urban development site outside London. By 2020 it will have been joined by the National Innovation Centre for Ageing, the National Innovation Centre for Data and a new teaching and conference hub, The Frederick Douglass Centre.

published on: 25 April 2018