[First look + plans] Atkins has completed this £30m sports and research facility for Northumbria University in Newcastle
The Northumbria University Sport Central building includes a 3,000 seat arena, a 25 metre swimming pool, a climbing wall and an indoor running track alongside sports research laboratories.
The Atkins project has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating by featuring techniques like rain water harvesting to top up the swimming pool.
Anodised aluminium cladding was used on external facades to provide ‘visual interest’ while semi-translucent cladding panels are featured at higher levels to allow natural light into the building.
Four white rectangular pods have been built on the western façade. Three of these pods contain meeting and teaching facilities and the fourth serves as the main entrance.
On the southern façade, a thin vertical slot of structural glass allows passers-by to see the multi-storey climbing wall inside the building.
Inside, the arena uses movable seats which mean it can be tailored to specific events. When not in use the space can be converted into three separate sports halls.
The Newcastle Eagles basketball team have already moved to the arena. The facility played host to a European Basketball Qualifier match which saw Great Britain triumph over Macedonia.