The University of Newcastle’s NeW Space building is a multi-use education facility, comprised of over 14,000m 2 GFA, and located on the corner of Hunter and Auckland Street in Newcastle, NSW with its main campus located at Callaghan, is the site for the faculty of business and law and the school of creative industries. This new space was designed to create a facility to connect sustainability and new ways to learn and research, and creative exchange for meeting for enhancing the business of the city. In collaboration with the University, project manager APP, head contractor Hansen Yuncken, Lyons Architects, EJE Architecture, and AECOM. The article further elaborates on a short essay on the design and sustainability of the project.

New Space University of Newcastle by Aecom - Sheet1
©Coxall,Gregor,MC[@Mc gregor coxall] (2014) New space University of Newcastle Australia.Available at:
The building is designed to state the art of structural engineering solutions to meet the geometrical demands of a unique vertical campus and to innovate to an extent to architecture that can fully be expressed. Large V and X shape columns supporting open spaces and floating cubes in the lobby’s extension are designed to enhance the streetscape and highlight Newcastle townhall, long-span steel structures, and cantilevered stairways that create open flexible learning and gathering spaces that allow interaction between community and academic world. The two double-story height trusses complete with steel framed at level five installed in a single 100-tonne lift erected efficiently and safely with minimal impact to busy hunter street. Links between heritage buildings and new buildings are provided through bridges to minimize the impact on an existing heritage building. The building is 5-star rated for sustainability for using glass facades, sun shading, energy-efficient structural materials, rainwater harvesting, and reuse. The structure is safe serviceable and readily repairable through the use of isolating bearing pads in-ground and tie beams to transfer ground forces back to the core. Modularised steel frame design allowed 6 urban rooms to be prefabricated and lifted into place these frames act as picture frames for city views allowing architecture to shine.

New Space University of Newcastle by Aecom - Sheet2
©Coxall,Gregor,MC[@Mc gregor coxall] (2014) New space University of Newcastle Australia.Available at:
©Coxall,Gregor,MC[@Mc gregor coxall] (2014) New space University of Newcastle Australia.Available at:
New Space University of Newcastle by Aecom - Sheet4
©Lyon architects [@1to100 animation Lyon designers] (2015) University of Newcastle Newspace available at:University of Newcastle NewSpace by Lyons

As the site is in a very heritage area in terms of civic serial and townhall and university house which is owned by the university that is the reason use sandstone nestles the whole surrounding heritage fabric for gathering space at ground level and combining the attractive rich orange ceiling gives the resonance to focus over the mainland and the whole look seems to make the user feel lively and active. For the above and upper levels, they decided to build a light building with a glass and aluminum spinning sunshade around it that graded the colors of sandstone and silver right at top of the building, and when the user experience from inside it gives a fantastic view around Newcastle. 

©Lyon architects [@1to100 animation Lyon designers] (2015) University of Newcastle Newspace available at:University of Newcastle NewSpace by Lyons
When the mapping of the building was initiated the idea behind was to protect the heritage and the new building demanded 10 floors were designed to blend with the existing building so they set back part of the building above 5 floors to line up with the university house and on one side that delivers respect and scale and nature and on another side where civic theatre is expected they created a small theatre building and gathering space which is two floors that do an alignment with the streetscape. To give a softy structural element on both sides of the streets they originally wanted to create a unique effect on the visitors and also to support the above structure they came up with this x  beautiful shape of columns, sitting above the gathering pierces through the skylight above even if one is on the ground floor can be able to see skylight piercing and supporting structure above. Part of the building’s structural concept is derived from a rich history of steel works and mining which also had an aesthetic kind of appearance, certain rooms are based on the historical typology in Newcastle which is like a box around featuring the old building that sadly now is nowhere seen around us anymore so the idea was to recreate that high view of being out of the building on the street and over the street trying to engage all of the community in the passive side by.

Ecological sustainable development of the building

The New Space building is targeting a 5-star Green Star Education v1 Design tool, achieving a benchmark of “Australian Excellence. The ecologically sustainable design (ESD) philosophy of the project is to achieve a high level of sustainable design, which reflects the University of Newcastle’s environmental sustainability plan whilst providing lasting benefits to the building occupants as functional office and study space.

To increase water use efficiency and reduce the reliance on mains potable water, measures such as the use of efficient fixtures and fittings, complemented by rainwater harvesting and reuse for toilet flushing and landscape irrigation are included in the building’s design. These features are critical in achieving operational water targets and reducing going utility costs. The added benefit of collecting rainwater is the reduction in stormwater flow, improving runoff management, biodiversity protection, and water quality protection.

The design considers the air conditioning system which typically takes a substantial proportion of the energy resources consumed by a building. Therefore, the air conditioning services within the building are designed to strike a balance between energy efficiency and maximizing the quality of the indoor environment by providing sensors in HVAC systems that shuts down automatically when not in use also included switch modes and supply of fresh air through natural or low energy delivery methods when outside conditions are favorable. Importance is drawn towards vertical transport of the building and occupants drawing three strategies that are promoting the use of stairs for inter-office movement, high handling capacity escalators to transport large volumes of students to teaching spaces in the lower rises of the building and high efficiency lifts to service office and teaching spaces in the upper levels of the building. The most important energy efficiency measure of the building would include solar panels that boost the central low-carbon domestic hot water system. The system has been designed such that the solar panels would deliver 100% of the building’s hot water demand during the summer months. Sustainable materials like sandstone, glass, aluminum & steel, etc are specified that minimize volatile organic compounds (VOC) pollutants within the space, improving indoor air quality and amenities. 

The building is trying to target the highest level of green star rating in sustainable design to demonstrate ecologically sustainable development by implementing building attributes to broader the community to develop environmental leadership and innovations by improving the good health of occupants through high comfort level combined with maximum daylight& external views, reducing energy and water consumption to cut down the GHG emissions.


New castle Education [@New castle education] (2009) A campus designed for the future, The University of Newcastle, Australia. Available at:

Aecom [@Aecom] (2104) New Space Environmental Impact Statement Ecologically Sustainable Development Report Available at:

Aurecon [@New castle University] (2014) Aurecon provided innovative engineering services to bring Newcastle University’s vision for a physical heart for the city to life. Available at :

Aecom [@New space University] (2015) New space University of Newcastle, Australia Available at:


Salma sultana graduated master’s in architecture from the Iuav university of architecture Italy, born in 1992, and obtained her bachelor's from India, she works for her own architecture practice named Zahaa designs. She likes to be a curator of architecture exhibitions also curated for the la biennale exhibition in Arsenale in Venezia. She a Ph.D. student of a german university in Brandenburg working on historical architecture conservation her final achievement in the field of architecture is to create an innovative sustainable solution for concrete and bring awareness by joining a teaching profession in the sustainable architecture department.