Excelsior Academy

Location Newcastle upon Tyne
Services Building services, civil and structural engineering and lighting design
Sector Education
Client Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay
Architect Howarth Litchfield Partnership


Excelsior Academy is a new-build institution, located in the west end of Newcastle upon Tyne. This project represents one of the largest academy projects undertaken in the UK to date. It is designed to accommodate four existing schools for 11-16-year-olds within one academy, each with a separate entrance.

Cundall provided building, lighting, structural and civil engineering services on this project, along with a number of sustainable features that were incorporated into the building. The project was completed to a fast track programme and was ready in time for the children to start a new academic year.

The building incorporates passive sustainable design principles to minimise operating costs, including appropriate building orientation. The site is on a slope, so the building had to be tiered to maximise natural ventilation and daylighting and take advantage of the views south across the River Tyne. Solar gains are controlled by a combination of solar control glazing and external brise soleil solar shading.

The engineering services also incorporate low energy design, including:

  • Condensing boilers
  • Ventilation heat recovery
  • High efficiency light fittings and lighting controls
  • Variable speed drive motors

The lighting design is unique to the site and the building and captures the imagination of the students.  Key architectural lighting elements are illuminated in place of simply adding in flood lights and standard columns.  The layout of the lighting reflects the architectural form as opposed simply lining up as a grid of lights.  The result is a more energy efficient solution which enhances the spaces the students will occupy.

Please click here to view the architectural lighting design profile for Excelsior Academy. 

North East Constructing Excellence Awards (2009), Integration and Collaborative Working, winner
Lord Mayor's Design Awards (2009), Accessibility Category, commendation
Lord Mayor's Design Awards (2009), New Building Category, commendation