The Catalyst

The Catalyst is an innovation hub housing two national research and development bodies – the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) and the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD). The award winning building is located on Newcastle Helix, a development which brings together industry leaders, businesses, and top researchers in an innovation community. It is an exemplar of sustainable urban development which combines prestigious commercial and residential space with first class research and education facilities in the heart of Newcastle.

Spread across six floors the building features flexible Grade A office space, along with a unique mixture of public areas, co-working spaces, a data visualisation suite, a 175 seat TED style theatre, workshop, exhibition space and cafe, as well as an impressive 20 seat boardroom with panoramic views across the Newcastle skyline. The initial target for the building was to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating but with a lot of hard work and innovative ideas, including siphonic drainage feeding into the rain garden, a green roof, a central air handling plant and photovoltaic panels, the building excelled the Excellent rating and was officially awarded a BREEAM Outstanding rating. A rating reserved for only the top 1% of new UK non-domestic buildings.

The building has scooped numerous awards, including national recognition at the Constructing Excellence National Awards as one of the most innovative and sustainable projects of 2020:

  • Winner of Lord Mayors Design Awards 2022 -Accessibility
  • Shortlisted Mixology North21 Awards- Project of the Year Workplace Interiors >70 sq ft.
  • Commendation for Structural Steel Design Awards 2021
  • Winner of the Constructing Excellence National Awards 2020 – Sustainability
  • Winner of the Constructing Excellence North East Awards 2020 – Building Project of the Year
  • Winner of the Constructing Excellence North East Awards 2020 – Integration & Collaborative Working
  • Winner of the Constructing Excellence North East Awards 2020 – Sustainability
  • Winner of the Insider Property Awards North East 2020 – Design Excellence
  • Winner of the ICE RSA Award – Large Project of the year

Focusing on health, The Catalyst is a place where exciting diagnostics, care and wellbeing products and services for older people are researched and developed. The new hub has space for research, co-design, co-location and collaboration between academics, business and the public. There are demonstration facilities to prototype and consumer-test products and services, along with exhibitions, event and meeting spaces to encourage wider interaction with consumers and build networks between key stakeholders.

Based on floor 3, the National Innovation Centre for Ageing, brings together world-leading scientists, businesses, the NHS and the public, to improve quality of life as we age.

Located on floor 2, the National Innovation Centre for Data, which is led by industry and benefiting from Newcastle University’s internationally-renowned research in computing science, brings together industry, the public sector and world-leading academics to develop the skills, ideas and resources needed to exploit the opportunities offered by the explosion in digital data. It focuses on realising the potential of big data to address specific challenges in areas including health, automotive and manufacturing.

The ground floor features an open plan reception area with exhibition areas, seminar areas, a lecture hall and back of house. The lecture theatre features visual lighting and cameras which allows seminars and lectures to be shown live. The first floor has a breakout area for all companies to spend some time networking, holding meetings, or just spending some time away from their desks. Floor 4 features offices available to rent, with offices of varying sizes, models, incorporating detailed mechanical and electrical services data, architectural and structural information.

The building information models we produce are used as shared knowledge resources to support decision-making about a building project from the earliest conceptual stages, through design, construction, installation and operation.

Images Courtesy of: Graeme Peacock (


The Catalyst


Newcastle upon Tyne



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