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The Catalyst Awarded BREEAM “Outstanding” Rating

March 30, 2020

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National architects, GSSArchitecture, are pleased to announce that following completion in October 2019, The Catalyst has become the first commercial office building in the North East to be awarded the certification of “Outstanding” by BREEAM under the current assessment criteria, a rating reserved for only the top 1% of new UK non-domestic buildings.

Located on the Newcastle Helix development, The Catalyst is home to Newcastle University’s teams from the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) and the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD). The 6-storey building provides a wide mix of tailored and shared facilities including an interactive double height public exhibition space, a 75 capacity TED style theatre, shared workspaces, Grade A commercial spaces and an impressive 22 seat boardroom with panoramic views of the Newcastle skyline.

BREEAM is an internationally recognised standard for sustainability, which rates multiple criteria across the construction process, such as Health and Wellbeing, Energy, Water, Material usage, and Innovation, to arrive at a final certification rating. The announcement of this “Outstanding” rating for The Catalyst is a great credit to all stakeholders involved in the project, as a great deal of work went in to developing a rigorous design process, ensuring that this would be a building that set the standard for sustainability in the region.

The Catalyst incorporates a range of sustainable technologies such as siphonic drainage feeding into the rain garden, a green roof, a central air handling plant and photovoltaic panels, which will generate up to 27,000kWh of electricity per year. The holistic approach, both to fabric, services and management of the building have resulted in the team achieving an impressive 87.2% score from BREEAM, passing the 85% threshold for the “Outstanding” rating.

Simon Rennison-Rae, Associate at GSSArchitecture’s Newcastle Studio, noted “To achieve Outstanding took a great team effort and was above and beyond the clients target of Excellent. Putting sustainability at the forefront of early design, through detailing and then pushing the quality of workmanship on site. This building shows our commitment to climate change and progressive architecture that is not only aesthetic but performs to the highest standards. We are sure the achievement will also help to attract key commercial tenants to the building, who have sustainability as part of their core business objectives”

If you would like to know more about what GSSArchitecture have been up to recently, or would like any more information on the projects they are working on, then please visit


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