Designing the National Horizons Centre 

While only 4,000m2, the £11m National Horizon Centre is a big catalyst for UK bioscience growthLocated at Teesside Universty’s new Darlington Campus, it empowers scientists and students with technical and leadership skills to apply new digital technologies in advanced manufacturing.  

Tetra Tech designed a BREEAM Excellent-certified building that minimizes environmental impact while tackling the bioscience sector’s rapid growth challenges. 

Images courtesy of Wates Group 

Understanding the client’s needs

Heavy dialogue with the University was paramount to fully appreciating its aspirations. They sought an attractive centre catering to students, scientists, and university stakeholders alike, with learning and research environments boasting both flexible use and visual cohesion between laboratories and adjacent facilities.  

Before clearing concept design, numerous complexities needed addressingOriginally sat alongside the East Coast Main Line near a park regeneration scheme, the centre was landlocked by highways and local facilities, isolated from the University’s sister campus property. Adding to that challenge was an overpowering vibrational impact on the adjacent nursey and sports centre. 

A zero-carbon solution

Our approach ultimately embraced the NHC’s neighbours on all sidesThe new chamfered square form and positioning of the building at an angle to the highway offers glimpses of multiple frontagesshowcasing the NHC as a landmark building befitting its prime location. 

But form only tells half the tale. Sustainability in function reigned supreme over our work on all aspects of the centre, from site remediation and remodelling external spaces to installing acoustic absorption panels and repositioning vibration-sensitive equipment to reduce acoustic impact and improve aesthetics.  

Remarkably, our team delivered these services without disrupting live use of the adjacent buildings; segregating construction works and coordinating site access and delivery with the University played a big factor here. 

To achieve a BREEAM Excellent-certified facilityour Mechanical & Electrical team continually optimised energy consumption, introducing features like external and energysaving LED light fittings site-wide, plus lighting controls and variable volume ventilation systems. 

The University praised our team’s persistence in constructively challenging the proposals of scientists and other designers to drive added value and innovation to the overall project.  

A stunning landmark centre

The praise our team received exemplifies their strict compliance with the client’s brief and values. Chris Robinson, Assistant Director Major Projects at Teesside University, thanked our team for their “contribution and efforts in the successful delivery of the project, on time and budget.”

Lee Brooks, Director, Infrastructure & Built Environment, Tetra Tech, said: “It’s a stunning landmark centre that ultimately offers enormous value in supporting employment, innovation, and business growth in the Tees Valley and wider north.” 

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Civil and Structural Engineering
Environmnetal Planning
Building Services

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