Dynamic glazing supports design objectives for Newcastle University’s new building


SageGlass, a dynamic glazing solution with adaptable tinting capabilities, has been used on the facade of a new building at Newcastle University’s Honeysuckle City Campus Development. This window works with an intelligent control system to adapt its tint throughout the day according to the occupants and the climatic needs.

Designed by multidisciplinary firm EJE Architecture, Q Building houses the University’s School of Creative Industries and Center for Innovation.

“The University wanted the building to represent its commitment to innovation for the wider community and its ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025,” explained EJE Architecture Director Anthony Furniss.

“Due to the orientation of the building, the original design saw the facade wrapped in a sunshade,” Furniss said. However, the solution did not provide the desired transparency. “We were looking for technology that would keep the sun out when we needed it and provide great insight into the internal structure when we didn’t. SageGlass by George Fethers was the silver bullet.

SageGlass – Dynamic electronically tinted windows

The innovative glazing solution tints dynamically in response to the intensity of the sun, providing complete protection from intense light and heat while providing full transparency when the sun moves or sets.

“SageGlass allows the building to cool by reducing the amount of heat entering the building,” Furniss said. “It reduces the need for air conditioning and saves energy.”

The choice of SageGlass for the facade was also consistent with the overriding design goal of representing innovation and creating a highly energy efficient building. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, tinted glass reduces glare and helps maintain optimum temperature.

Driven by environmental ambition and pioneering interior resolve, the building’s interiors are defined by the heavy use of sustainably sourced wood. The interior narrative generated by this decisive use of wood can be observed from the exterior, with SageGlass allowing passers-by to peek inside the building.

Just as pedestrians can peek inside the building, occupants can take advantage of the unobstructed view outside – a benefit enhanced by the ability to stagger the tint from ceiling to floor.

“It’s important to be able to think about the medium of creation,” observed Furniss. “The ability for students to look outside, reflect on what they’re developing, and connect with the world on the other side of the glass allows them to jump back into their creative mindset with more context.”

Likewise, visitors – often from out of town – can enjoy sweeping views of Newcastle’s cityscape, particularly the working harbor adjacent to the building. “Having such a transparent building allows the University to communicate with its city and to explain how the school fits into the larger urban context,” he added.

What is a highly regarded, groundbreaking and functional solution from an occupant perspective comes as a compelling display of innovation and creativity from the outside. The building comes to life when passers-by can see the kinetic facade of the Q Building come alive throughout the day, responding harmoniously to the changing position of the sun.

Since the shade of each panel is individually controlled, the construction of the artistic facade allows the University to display patterns or words – further demonstrating to the community what this ingenious building is all about.


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