Verde sends out a strong, positive message about the city’s long-term aspirations SimpsonHaugh partner Matthew Ayers

Ventilation and heating

With student accommodation, Ayers explains how the biggest challenge is keeping the interior warm, while losing excess heat. “With lots of small, cellular, extremely well-insulated rooms heat gets trapped inside, so we control this using a combination of solar control coatings on the glass, blinds and mechanical extraction with opening windows if required.” While most plant is at ground level, the roof plant and communal areas include air conditioning utilising heat recovery units. However, it was not economically viable to install photovoltaic cells.

Although no official BREEAM rating’s been awarded as yet, the team’s been careful to specify materials that are natural, recyclable and A-plus rated in the BRE Green Guide where possible.

Positive message PROJECT DETAILS

Client: Downing Architect: SimpsonHaugh Main contractor: George Downing Construction Civil engineer: Alan Johnston Partnership

Ceramic tile (installer): Dane Architectural

Ceramic tile (manufacturer): Terreal Landscaping: Landscape Projects Interior architecture/design: KKA interiors Structural engineer: Alan Johnston Partnership

bathrooms, around which the sophisti- cated rooms are built onsite by specialist KKA interiors. While living space within the building is finished in calm tones, bolder hues are found in the spacious, light-filled common areas. The shape of the ‘V’ building naturally dictates that the core is placed at the crux of the ‘V’, with a ground floor reception and circulation area and clusters of four rooms with shared facilities coming off at each level, and some studios installed at the narrow ends. On the ground floor the prow is fitted out as a communal area with a gym, cinema viewing area, games rooms, and general social space. In the other building the core sits in the elbow of the ‘L’, with combined studio units and kitchens radiating out each floor, and additional six-room clusters with shared facilities on the outer ends of the ‘L’.

The building opened in September 2016 at the start of the current academic year and, judging by the number of rooms let, appears to be a popular choice. For Ayers, SimpsonHaugh’s strong, 10-year relation- ship with Downing is an important element of the building’s success. “As a private developer Downing knows the market well. They commission their own buildings built by their in-house construction company, so speedy progress and flexibility is the order of the day once a project gets the go-ahead. “They recognise today’s students expect quality and sophistication and they tend to hold on to their own buildings, so they want something that’s going to last. That, plus their firm support and strong faith in what we do gives us the opportunity to design high-quality, adventurous buildings.” He concludes: “Until recently, Newcastle

hadn’t seen much development since the 1960s. Now, there’s a massive post-indus- trial regeneration under way and as a part of that, Verde sends out a strong, positive message about the city’s long-term aspirations.” 



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