Green design to grand design

We often forget to look up at the buildings around us as we go about our busy lives, yet architecture is something that usually sparks a reaction in most of us - positive or negative.

We often forget to look up at the buildings around us as we go about our busy lives, yet architecture is something that usually sparks a reaction in most of us - positive or negative.

Carine Aguet

When a new structure appears, everyone tends to have an opinion and there is nearly always a debate.

Hosted by Northern Architecture and national partners Arts Council England, the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architecture Centre Network, Architecture Week 2007 is designed to give people the opportunity to think further about their reactions and look at their surroundings from different perspectives.

Between June 15 and June 24 there is a whole variety of events, talks, tours and workshops taking place throughout the North-East, with many connected to this year's theme asking `how green is our space?'

Architecture Week co-ordinator Carine Aguet said: "This year there is more variety than ever and events are taking place everywhere from Northumberland to Cleveland and Tyne and Wear to Teesside.

"Also the majority of events are free so most people should be able to pop along to at least one in their local area."

Sponsored by Turner & Townsend and Ignite, Architecture Week in the North-East includes activities for design and architecture enthusiasts as well as people who are simply looking for a fun day out.

With a series of `archi-tours', `archi-exhibitions' and `archi-talks' on the menu, alongside the chance to see behind the scenes at an architects' practice or join a family fun day at a local museum, the region is spoiled for choice when it comes to outings.

And for those wanting to witness the region's finery from the comfort of their own home, there is a wealth of programmes to choose from, on BBC TV and radio.

Bringing Architecture Week even closer to home is the Architect in the House initiative where, in return for a minimum £40 donation to homeless charity Shelter, people can obtain one-to-one advice on how to develop their property or even how to make it more energy-efficient.

Carine said: "We are particularly pleased with this year's schedule that kicks off with a North-East film premiere on architect Frank Gehry and closes with a picnic at a hermitage in the Cheviots.

"With all types of events in between, such as the family workshop event Birdbox Building Challenge at the Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead, there is definitely something for everyone to enjoy."

Even those with full working weeks don't have to miss out.

Northern Architecture has ensured that there are also midweek events taking place in the lunchtime slot.

Office workers can take advantage of a sneak preview of Live Theatre's new building or pop along to an archi-talk to hear about everything from green design to grand design - all in their lunch break.

Carine added: "Architecture Week is about encouraging people to discover more about the hidden gems as well as the great landmarks that surround them.

"With this year's schedule more jam-packed than ever, we are looking forward to an eventful and thought-provoking week, which is accessible to everyone."

Due to popular demand, some events are pre-booked.

To ensure you don't miss out, please pick up an Architecture Week 2007 schedule from your nearest tourist information office or, alternatively, visit www.architectureweek.org.uk , go to Region Guides and click on North-East.

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