Newcastle University

To advise on pedestrian simulation for Newcastle University


Movement Strategies has supported Sheppard Robson Architects for the design development of a new Learning and Teaching Centre for Newcastle University, a mixed-use building which will host teaching rooms, flexible learning spaces, lecture theatres and staff accommodation. We were commissioned to assess the Learning and Teaching Centre performance under evacuation and internal circulation scenarios. In particular, our role was to find the optimal configuration between designed capacities and operational arrangements in order to minimise design change.


Sheppard Robson



We agreed a set of assumptions regarding demand levels, profiles and routes within the Teaching and Learning Centre, which enabled us to derive an Origin-Destination matrix within the building.

We used this matrix to inform spreadsheet based models identifying any pinch points in the designed capacities.

We assessed the design options presented against agreed targets for circulation and queuing, under ‘stress-test’ scenarios. Our approach was three-fold, looking first setting demand and routing assumptions, then providing high level review of the design, and finally testing the design options with dynamic simulation.

We further tested the design of the Learning and Teaching Centre using Legion Spaceworks dynamic pedestrian simulation software. This enabled us to obtain detailed metrics and visuals with regards to conditions experienced under evacuation and classroom changeover.

As initial results concluded that some elements of the building, including a corridor and the central staircase, were capacity constrained, we advised on design change requirements and operational measures to mitigate congestion levels. This process led to a design iteration, which was successfully tested with dynamic pedestrian simulation.


Our analyses led to inform the relocation of some teaching and meeting rooms in order to remove the pinch points identified. We also advised on different ways to alleviate the pressure on vertical circulation, and provided guidance on how to best split demand on different staircases to minimise design change whilst increasing vertical capacity.

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