Page D4.1 . 10 January 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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    International Centre for Life

    by Don Barker

    After a long history of many uses, an industrial site in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, has been regenerated into an architectural celebration of life itself. The new 70 million International Centre for Life is seen as the flagship millennium project exploring genetic science in the UK.

    Designed by British architects Terry Farrell & Partners, the center opened during the summer of 2000. it brings together science and biotechnology, research and education, entertainment and ethics, all on a single site. It is said to be the first time anywhere in the world that all of these elements have been brought together in one location.

    Over the centuries, the site had been a bus station, bowling green, army barracks, hospital, livestock market, abattoir, and timber mill. Located next to the main railway station at the western edge of the city, the site now comprises of three main building elements:

    The Life Centre is an exhibition space with an education facility for schools and universities. There is also a research building for the world-renowned Newcastle University Institute of Human Genetics and the Bioscience Centre, which houses commercial laboratory/office space.

    Newcastle-Upon-Tyne has been reinventing itself over the last ten years, a program in which Terry Farrell & Partners have already played a significant part. They have also worked on projects in Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Dubai, Seattle, Lisbon, London, and Seoul. Farrell himself is originally from the area, which helps explain some of the colloquialism within the design.



    ArchWeek Photo

    The functional Bioscience Centre is to the left. The yellow Genetics Institute in the middle features a "ski slope" sliding down between the flat black roof of the Multimedia Centre and the green roof of the Global Garden. Note the historic building at the bottom of the public space.
    Photo: Terry Farrell & Partners

    ArchWeek Photo

    The green copper roof of the Global Garden.
    Photo: Terry Farrell & Partners


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