Helix scoops two prizes at inaugural RICS Social Impact Awards

May 2020

Newcastle Helix has come away with two awards at the first RICS Social Impact Awards in the North East.

The winners were revealed at a digital awards ceremony where The Biosphere was successful in the Commercial category and The District Energy Centre picked up the Infrastructure award.

The awards aim to recognise built environment’s positive and transformational contribution to society across North East England.

Cllr Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Employment and Culture, Newcastle City Council, commented: “It’s great to see developments on Newcastle Helix being recognised as the best in the region. The judges’ comments show that the site is not only at the forefront of innovation, it’s helping to build an economy around life sciences and provide jobs for future generations.

“Infrastructure like the District Energy Centre plays a vital role in boosting the city’s commitment to tackling climate change and further positions Newcastle Helix as an  exemplar sustainable development.  

“I am delighted that Newcastle Helix has been recognised for the role it plays in driving our city’s economic and social ambitions forward.”

The Biosphere entry was led by Ryder Architecture, alongside partners Turner & Townsend, Kier Construction and Newcastle City Council. The development provides 7,200sqm of laboratory and office space, and has surpassed target letting at the end of year one.

Judges commented that The Biosphere brought together commercial development with life sciences and a focus on keeping graduates from local universities within the region to develop world leading research. They were also impressed by the development’s purposeful social impact.

Richard Wise, partner at Ryder and project director of The Biosphere, added: “Ryder is delighted to receive the north east region RICS Social Impact award for The Biosphere, a synthesis of our collective expertise. This award cements its reputation as a leading research facility and is a testament to the efforts of the design team and the vision of our client, Newcastle City Council.”

Engie led the District Energy Centre entry alongside partner Gradon Architecture. The centre offers a cost-effective energy solution to reduce CO2 emissions and increase efficiency, and it is estimated 30,650 tonnes of carbon savings will be realised over the 40-year contract period.

The judges described the District Energy Centre as an exemplar project which will help identify further opportunities to develop similar energy networks across the city to maximise the reduction of carbon for heating and cooling in line with the City’s net zero carbon target.

Lee Francis, Regional Managing Director at ENGIE, said:  “We have a long-term partnership with Newcastle City Council and were delighted to bring our construction and energy expertise to support Newcastle’s climate goals. ENGIE completed the design and construction of a state-of-the-art Energy Centre, which will supply heating and cooling to 10 commercial buildings and up to 450 proposed new homes on the Helix site.

“Congratulations to all partners on this amazing win, which not only recognises the built environment’s positive contribution to society, but also recognises a collaborative approach to helping meet Newcastle’s net zero carbon ambition.”

All winners from the North East will go through to the RICS national Grand Final which is due to take place in September.

The full list of winners can be viewed here.

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