Staffordshire University, Catalyst Building

Catalyst Building, Staffordshire University

A landmark development in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent, the Catalyst Building at Staffordshire University has been designed to be low energy, low water use and have a low environmental impact, in line with the University’s net zero and one planet ambitions. 

The university hub provides the services and settings that will support students through their education and towards their employment. Catalyst is all things to all students, a teaching and learning building, student hub and gateway between the university and industry, fostering a busy student and visitor occupancy that supports the University’s objective of a ‘sticky campus’. It provides the kinds of calm, low energy, digitally enabled and adaptable spaces that users will be drawn to, both now and in the future.

As home to the University’s apprenticeship and Business School programmes, and through the flagship facility’s connections with industry, the new building will help the University to grow the numbers of skilled apprentices and raise education levels in Staffordshire and beyond. It aims to work with 6300 apprenticeships by 2030 and will be the first point of call for employers coming to work with the University, its students and apprentices.

Working alongside Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS), we provided M&E Engineering, Acoustics, Soft Landings, and BIM.

In line with the University’s high sustainability ambitions, the building envelope is highly efficient, airtight and uses exposed concrete as thermal mass. North facing rooflights bring in daylight, but do not add to solar gain. Heating, cooling and hot water production are via electricity, either directly or via the use of heat pumps. This means the building is not reliant on burning fossil fuels and makes use of a decarbonising electricity grid. Photovoltaics panels on the roof will generate an estimated 200MWh of electricity per year.

As part of a holistic design approach, materials and components have also been selected to minimise waste, for example through the use of prefabrication and pre-construction and also to reduce energy use and carbon emissions - such as the glazing design, which maximises natural lighting to interior spaces and an air-tight façade which reduces energy transfer and heat loss.

"This development completely transforms our Connected University, offering a variety of high-tech spaces for apprentices, students, staff and local employers." - Martin Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Staffordshire University


Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios






Staffordshire University

(c) Daniel Hopkinson Info
The colonnade provides shading to high summer sun whilst allowing beneficial solar gains in winter.
(c) Daniel Hopkinson Info
The feature staircase encourages users to take the stairs rather than the lift.
(c) Daniel Hopkinson Info
North-facing rooflights bring daylight into the centre of the building whilst protecting against overheating and glare from direct sunlight.
(c) Daniel Hopkinson Info
The building has been designed with future reconfiguration in mind. exposed thermal mass helps reduce peak cooling load in summer.
(c) Daniel Hopkinson Info
Acoustic baffles on the ceiling allow large open plan spaces to be used effectively for both group teaching and private study.
(c) Daniel Hopkinson Info
The central ventilation, heating and cooling plant is located in a recessed external plantroom to comply with the planning requirement for no plant to be visible from the adjacent road.
(c) Daniel Hopkinson Info
The ground floor plantroom houses water conditioning and boosting plant and the main electrical switchgear serving the building.