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Shaping the future for learning, weaving together social spaces and lecture theatres, the on-site state-of-the-art £34m facilities include a stunning auditorium for 750, a 200-seat lecture theatre and a range of seminar rooms and exhibition spaces over several floors.

Frederick Douglass Centre Internal.jpg

It is a key component of Newcastle University's teaching, particularly for the School of Computing and the Newcastle University Business School, both located at Helix.

The building accommodates classic lecture teaching and enables more organic learning methods, such as breakout groups, self-directed study, and flipped lectures, where the students, not the lecturer, are the focus of attention.


On the ground floor, an internal street mediates between the more formal, focused spaces of the auditorium and the social, interactive spaces. The latter includes an exhibition space and café for more informal working. Directly above this are three storeys of learning facilities, including office accommodation for the University’s Business School.

The building is named in honour of social reformer, abolitionist and activist-author Frederick Douglass. An anti-slavery campaigner – and at that time, a slave himself – Frederick Douglass was in Newcastle in 1846 staying in the Summerhill area adjacent to The Helix site.


  • Opened Autumn 2019

  • 750 and 200-seat lecture theatres

  • Range of seminar rooms

  • Cafe

  • 78,300 sq ft

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