i6 Charlotte Square

Civic Trust and Lord Mayors Design Awards 2008


i6 Charlotte Square

Offices within listed building

‘i6’ is Newcastle City Councils 6th small business incubator centre. Located in a group of converted listed buildings in the heart of Newcastle’s Central Conservation Area, it offers accommodation and support to a developing IT industry.

The original buildings, dating from 1770, had been subjected to piecemeal unsympathetic alterations, fallen vacant and into a bad state of repair.

Partial removal of some building fabric offered the opportunity to create an open atrium space acting as an efficient DDA compliment circulation core and communal hub at the heart of the building. The atrium contains many overlapping functions: circulation, lift, refreshments, breakout / informal meeting spaces: A central hub, around which all activity revolves. As such it positively promotes interaction between young fledgling businesses, all of which have an aspect or ‘shop window’ onto the space.

The atrium also offered the opportunity to create a new and appropriately contemporary highly visible identity, positively advertising the presence of the new modern business centre within the City Centre.

The design was evolved in close consultation with Planning / Conservation and English Heritage Officers together with Newcastle Conservation Advisory Panel (NCAP).

Stephen was design and project architect for i6 whilst working with Bill Hopper / Howe Sadler.

Throughout the project, historic building fabric has been carefully restored and purposefully contrasted with the clearly modern interventions. Original Georgian brick and stone features are retained alongside the 1930’s warehouse elements and new contemporary insertions to offer legibility to the continuing development of this area of the City.

It was important that the business centre established a visual presence in the area and that this reflected the nature of the modern, high technology businesses within

The atrium also functions as an integral part of the buildings environmental strategy. I6 is a BREEAM rated (very good) building. Central to this is a system of natural ventilation to obviate the requirements for air conditioning. The glazed atrium is utilised to generate a stack effect, which draws air through individual office units via strategically placed ventilation grilles.

The building fabric of the atrium space has a large amount of exposed thermal mass principally in new concrete walkways and exposed historic masonry walls. These elements absorb heat during the day and radiate in back during the evening. I6 is 24 / 7 business environment

Individual office units are highly serviced for IT users. All servicing is carefully concealed within the buildings historic fabric. This has been done principally by creation of a series of new floor levels, close to the original floor levels, which contain all services in the voids between. This assists in unifying the disparate floor levels across the original buildings – the principle design problem to solve.

Insertion of the atrium required careful structural integration with the historic building fabric.

In order to open up spaces within the listed buildings and link these positively to the open atrium space, a fire strategy was developed with input from a specialist Fire Engineer together with the Local Authority Building Control and Fire Officers.


Historic Buildings