Architecture students win Northumberland visitor centre awards

As part of their third year project work, architecture students at Northumbria University were tasked with creating designs for The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre

SIMON VEIT-WILSON Megan Carmichael, Sill project manager Stuart Evans, and Matthew Glover
Megan Carmichael, Sill project manager Stuart Evans, and Matthew Glover

University students have won awards for designs based around an £11.7m visitor centre planned for Hadrian’s Wall.

As part of their third year project work, architecture students at Northumbria University were tasked with creating designs based on a brief set by Northumberland National Park and award-winning architects Jane Darbyshire and David Kendall (JDDK) for The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre and another National Park location.

Matthew Glover and Megan Carmichael were named as winners in the two categories at a ceremony at Northumbria University’s Nixon Hall where they were awarded prizes by Stuart Evans, The Sill’s project director. The ceremony marked the third year of this association and The Sill’s ongoing support of young people.

Matthew said: “It was great to work on a live project in such a beautiful and historical location along Hadrian’s Wall. The brief gave us limitless opportunities which is shown in the large variety of designs exhibited at the end of year show.

“JDDK giving an insight to the approach they had taken for The Sill Project gave me the confidence to move forward with my own design with its important relation to the context. It was a pleasure to be awarded the NNPA Sill Prize and it has given me confidence to take the next step in my career.”

Matthew Glover's design (top) and the design by Megan Carmichael (bottom)
Matthew Glover's design (top) and the design by Megan Carmichael (bottom)
 

Alison Thornton-Sykes, principal architect at JDDK, said: “I was impressed with the students’ understanding of the client’s aspiration to engage people with the landscape and how they developed that understanding into their design concepts and rigorously through to their final designs.

“It was clear from the standard of work submitted that the students fully embraced the briefs and they showed immense creativity in their designs. I’m confident that they will have successful careers ahead of them.”

Since 2011, third year architecture students at Northumbria University have been tasked with designing a visitor discovery centre based on an adapted version of the original design brief provided by Northumberland National Park for the £11.7m Sill project. An alternative brief asked them to look at designs for a building at Walltown, which is also within the National Park.

Mr Evans said: “The Sill is committed to offering unique learning experiences which assist young people in developing practical skills that will aid them not only in their studies, but in their future careers. This partnership with Northumbria University aligns perfectly with The Sill’s aims and we plan for this relationship to continue into the future.”

The development phase of The Sill project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Northumberland National Park Authority and YHA are seeking to secure an additional £3.5m in funding for the full project costs.

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