The Lumen, Newcastle Helix


Client: Legal & General

Location: Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Construction Value: £26.5m

The Helix is a new £350m urban quarter in the centre of Newcastle. At 24 acres, it is the largest development of its kind in the UK and will attract leading scientific and technology organisations to a mixed new community encompassing a variety of R&D, educational, business and residential uses. It will be an exemplar of sustainable urban development and features an overarching SuDS strategy.

In partnership with Ryder Architecture, OOBE has been involved on multiple sites within The Helix development. An intensive design journey has married the ambitions of stakeholders, including those of Newcastle City Council’s Planning department.  Due to the close proximity of The Lumen and The Spark, a continuous landscape design flows between the two buildings.

Nature-based landscape design for this BREEAM Excellent rated development

The main feature is a public square, where the community can take time to relax on benches and enjoy nature. Flora and fauna have been introduced via a series of rain gardens. This nature-based solution is part of the Helix SuDS and futureproofs the site to climate changes. Native trees and low-maintenance moisture-loving plants provides seasonal interest and attracts wildlife to the former brownfield site. The sloped nature of the site incorporates terraced seating and provides the perfect place to meet and share ideas, encouraging the buildings collaborative ethos to extend into the fresh air.

The design for The Lumen and The Spark has been developed as two individual schemes but within an overarching masterplan. This is to tie in with adjacent schemes and provides a common identity and ethos, and to connect with the wider city centre setting. Flexibility has been a key driver in the high-quality landscape design to cater for a variety of events throughout the year, commercial uses, student life and the nearby community.

“The Lumen has been a particularly rewarding project as it forms an integral part of the landmark Newcastle Helix community. We have collaborated with OOBE on many projects over the years.  Through our combined design expertise, we have delivered a state-of-the-art building and public realm that successfully combined the industrial heritage of the former Scottish and Newcastle Brewery site with the collaborative vision for those using The Lumen.”

Jonathan Seebacher, Architectural Director, Ryder Architecture

“Our ethos is to provide the highest quality construction consultancy services in the industry. This has been successfully achieved on The Lumen. It has been a pleasure to work with OOBE, who share our approach and have delivered a high-quality and sustainable landscape design for this BREEAM Excellent rated building.”

Steve Jones, Associate Director, Potter Raper

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