The Shield started out life as a challenging brownfield site in Stoddart Street, in the heart of Newcastle. The site used to be occupied by light industrial buildings, an office and a warehouse.
One of the big advantages of this location is that it’s just a few minutes walk from two of the city’s universities – Newcastle and Northumbria – as well as two rail stations.
But the development is surrounded by near neighbours including other student accommodation and residential flats: so the brief for the design was to minimise The Shield’s impact on its immediate surroundings while maximising the amount of accommodation created.
The solution was to build three connecting blocks, the highest rising to seven storeys. The development features a sophisticated palette of materials, including a variety of contemporary claddings and metallic finishes in bronze and silver, as well as cement fibre panels in a range of natural colours.
BAM donated waste timber from the site to a charity that recycles wood, re-used all the demolition material, protected an area of trees and provided bird boxes, a feeder table, hedgehog house and even a bug hotel.
The accommodation provides a mixture of en-suite bedrooms with shared kitchens and self-contained studio flats, as well as a gym, games and cinema rooms, and joint study areas.
Efficiency by design
Modular design was an important feature of the build. Prefabricated bathroom pods were used in each room and a bespoke furniture range was created to provide practical storage and study solutions for high-density student living.
The way the building is used means it was a prime candidate for a combined heat and power plant. Using this cost-efficient low carbon technology helps ensure that the students enjoy a comfortable living environment all year round.
On the StudentCrowd website, which uses student’s own reviews to rank accommodation across the UK, The Shield has consistently positive reviews especially from international students: the scheme tops the rankings as the city’s favourite student halls.