Newcastle University
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Newcastle University

Newcastle University
Edited By Editorial Staff -
The Newcastle students’ Union, housed in a listed building, has been extensively refurbished of late to plans by Faulkner Browns Architects, involving complete re-tiling and certain furnishing items. In particular the project concentrated on the bar area, the main reception desk, the inside staircase, a number of computer workstations, fitting out an incorporated shop, and lining radiators throughout the building. Needing a long-lasting material that would wear well and keep its looks, the architects chose Hi-Macs, a new-generation composite acrylic stone made of pulverised natural stone (70%), acrylic resin (25%) and natural pigment (5%). This is available in a broad colour range including some translucent hues. Hi-Macs also has excellent thermoforming properties which make it highly workable and hence versatile; its surface is uniform, completely non-porous, waterproof and UV-resistant. In this operation the principal colour used was Nordic White, in conjunction with black and in some cases Cima from the Hi-Macs Volcanics collection. Given the versatility and workability of the material, it proved possible to line the indoor staircase without affecting the structure or the original appearance, and also to create some novel furnishing items such as the cup-shaped T-cup chairs with their 2.4 metres high backrests - forming an original conversation corner. Running the entire length of the building is the “Spine Wall”, a custom-built multi-purpose partition that serves over 100 functions. Since Hi-Macs doesn’t change in time, deterioration of walls and pillars should be avoided, despite the student habit of sticking notices everywhere and then peeling them off to the detriment of traditional painted surfaces. More generally, over the years it should be possible to keep the look of this refurbishing operation in its pristine state.

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