Downing unveils final phase of landmark £250m scheme

Downing has unveiled an eye-catching £46m development opposite St James’ Park stadium, in the heart of Newcastle city centre.

Called Verde and featuring a striking green exterior, the complex is the final phase of the landmark £250 million Downing Plaza development, which is the largest scheme to be granted planning application in the city for a generation and also boasts a 183-room hotel, along with extensive retail space.

Verde has been designed by award-winning architects SimpsonHaugh and Partners and comprises 543 beds comprising 431 clusters and 112 studios.

The complex gets its eye-catching colour from a glazed green terracotta tile facade and the front of the main 11-storey building rises to a focal point at the northern gateway to the Science Central site.  Sharp angles help define views and create changes in reflected light. Overall, the materials of the building have been chosen for their sense of identity, strong visual appearance and weathering capability.

Residents benefit from state-of-the-art leisure facilities including a cinema room, games room and fully equipped gym, in addition to complimentary WI-FI and contents insurance.

A substantial landscaped courtyard has also been created for the use and benefit of the students. The courtyard elevations utilise light reflective silver aluminium panels with two different finishes and are stacked over two floors resulting in a checkerboard pattern.

Its location offers easy access to Newcastle University, Northumbria University, Newcastle College and Science Central and students also can make use of secure on-site bicycle storage.

As with all of Downing’s student accommodation the complex has an on-site management team offering 24/7 support.

Downing and SimpsonHaugh and Partners have been instrumental in the development and rejuvenation of much of Newcastle’s student offering; both in terms of accommodation and academic buildings.

The companies have collaborated on a number of award-winning projects in the city, including the 120,000 sq. ft. Newcastle University Business School and most recently The View; a 444 bedroom student accommodation development which was voted Best New Building at Newcastle’s Lord Mayor’s Design Awards last year.

“We’re delighted to complete the final stage of the Plaza Development. A striking addition to the scheme, Verde is a prime example of the kind of well-designed student accommodation that Downing is renowned for delivering.

“As with all of our academic residential schemes, the building itself is only half of the story. We have reached agreement with Newcastle University to let all of the 431 cluster rooms to its first-year students, who will benefit from the security and peace of mind offered by the holistic approach to accommodation of our on-call management team and the experience we have in catering to the needs of students living away from home for the first time.”

Ann Lodge

Chief Executive at Downing

“Verde is deliberately striking in colour and form, creating a new landmark in this area of Newcastle city centre and forming a distinctive gateway between the University and Science Central.

“Newcastle is a vibrant student city which is benefiting hugely from investment in science and education. We are pleased to play a part in this through our work with Downing on Verde as well as at The View, Newcastle University Business School and previous phases of Downing Plaza.”

Matthew Ayres

SimpsonHaugh and Partners