The Catalyst, Newcastle

Sector: Education
Products: Stick Curtain wall & Façades


Bowmer + Kirkland North East


GSS Architecture

Spread over five floors, the 100,000 sq. ft building provides a mix of private offices, public areas and co-working spaces. The Catalyst is home to the UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing and the National Innovation Centre for Data.

Henshaw worked closely with GSS Architecture and Bowmer & Kirkland Construction to deliver the complex envelope as well as a coordinated BIM model with COBie data.

The project comprises Schueco capped and SG curtain wall, swing and automatic sliding doors, integrated louvres and a striking feature diagrid wrapping the façade.

The façade installation required complex setting out and fabrication due to the geometry associated with the façade sloping outwards, the façade faceting on plan and the feature diagrid running on the diagonal.

Interface details were critical to accommodate building movement and thermal expansion of the systems that are moving in differing planes.

The glazing comprised Pilkington Suncool coatings onto either clear substrate at low levels for increased light transmission and onto grey body tint substrate on upper levels to achieve the low solar gain (g-value) requirements.

Although the building was not over the 15degreee angle, which would classify it as overhead glazing, the decision was taken to laminate all the outer panes of glass on the upper levels.

The decision considered the overall height of the building, combined with the slope, which resulted in the top levels of the glazing over sailing the pedestrian walkways.


The Catalyst was completed in October 2019 and became the first commercial office building in the North East to be awarded the certification of “Outstanding” by BREEAM –a rating reserved for only the top one per cent of new UK non-domestic buildings.