The Lumen: a design that reflects industrial heritage and vision for the future

Jonathan Seebacher, Architectural Director at Ryder Architecture, reflects on the design behind The Lumen.

I have been leading our team at Newcastle Helix for over four years now. It’s testament to everyone involved to see how much development has taken place in that time. It is always a pleasure to see a development take shape on my own doorstep, and The Lumen has been particularly rewarding as it forms an integral part of the landmark Newcastle Helix community and represents a step change in the north east commercial office market.

Newcastle Helix brings together start ups, established businesses, residents, researchers and entrepreneurs – a vibrant mix that promotes a culture of collaboration and innovation. It’s a unique neighbourhood, and one that we are immensely proud to be involved with. More than ever, it is important that we make connections and share ideas, with a focus on better ways of living and working.

The Lumen provides 106,000sqft of workspace for up to 1,200 people in the science, technology and knowledge based sectors.

Staff and visitors enjoy a spacious, bright entrance provided by a double height shared reception including a café and touchdown areas, with easy access to the public spaces that connect the buildings on The Helix. It was essential that the form and materiality of The Lumen would speak to the other buildings on the site, creating a common visual language for The Helix whilst allowing each building to express its own unique personality. The expressed frame reflects Newcastle’s industrial heritage as well as the history of the site itself, being a former Scottish & Newcastle brewery. Colour provides richness and depth – the earthy copper tones catch the sunlight, giving the building a different character throughout the day and through the seasons.

Since The Lumen will be occupied by several organisations, some across more than one floor, we worked hard to create versatile, open floorplates for maximum flexibility. Shared spaces give people a chance to connect with new faces, meet co-workers and relax, with plenty of space for safe movement around the building. Health and wellbeing are at the very heart of The Lumen and, of course, The Helix. Floor to ceiling windows flood the spaces with natural light. The building is BREEAM excellent and has achieved Wiredscore Platinum. Terraces have been included from level four upwards to provide external breakout and fantastic views across the city. Showers, changing facilities and racks for over 100 bikes encourage workers to exercise, use healthy modes of transport and reduce traffic.

Whilst we wish we could celebrate with the wider team in person, it’s exciting to the see The Lumen launched this week. We look forward to seeing the building come alive with people as the first tenants start to move in in the coming weeks.

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