The Catalyst

As a chosen design partner for The Catalyst innovation Hub in Newcastle, CDUK played an important role in the design and manufacture of the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing and the National Innovation Centre for Data’s new home
Client: Newcastle University Innovation Centre
Location: Newcastle, United Kingdom
Architect/Designer: GSS Architecture and Design North
Fabricator: West End Cabinet and Joinery
Products used: Corian® Clam Shell, Corian® Carbon Concrete
Photography: Jill Tate

The Catalyst is a leading innovation hub in Newcastle and it is home to the UK’s National Innovation Centre for the Ageing (NICA) and the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD).

Designed by GSS Architecture and Design North to foster research and discovery, the award-winning building creates a harmonious ecosystem between the innovation centres and the commercial organisations that share the space. The Catalyst’s specialist facilities and flexible workspace provide a hub where ideas can develop and businesses grow simultaneously.

The Catalyst’s design team aimed to create a functional building for research and business, which also reflected and encouraged the innovation taking place within the hub. Faced with this challenge, GSS Architecture and Design North turned to CDUK, in conjunction with contractor Bowmer & Kirkland and fabricator West End Cabinet and Joinery, to supply materials for selected surfaces in the space.

CDUK supplied Corian® Solid Surface for a variety of applications, from the Corian® Clam Shell reception and bar area to the Corian® Mink washrooms and hygiene rooms. Selected for its longevity, easy maintenance, and hygiene properties, Corian® Solid Surface complements both the overall design and functional needs of a research hub.

CDUK played an important role during the specification, design and manufacture of The Catalyst’s specialist facilities. The Catalyst’s viewing room features a Corian® Carbon Concrete moveable island for testing, which enables NICA researchers to carry out their groundbreaking dementia product testing. The hub is accessible to people living with sight loss and dementia, through the use of contrasting colours on desks and floors.

The use of Corian® throughout The Catalyst reflects the need of a practical but inviting design. The result is a space which encourages engagement between local and national businesses, as well as collaborative research, which earned three awards at the 2020 Constructing Excellence National Awards, including Building Project of the Year, the Sustainability Award, and the Award for Integration and collaborative working.

Andy Noble, Managing Director, CDUK, commented: “Enabling customers to bring to life bespoke designs that demand the highest level of performance is at the core of the CDUK mission. The contribution from CDUK to The Catalyst is testament to the material potential of Corian® Solid Surface and the expert advice and technical knowledge of our team. We are delighted to have helped realise the design of this groundbreaking and critical research facility.”

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