New vision for Malmo Quay sees architects from around the world competing

The prime site in Ouseburn has artists competing to design the £15 million development

David Roberts of igloo and David Rudlin of URBED with the nine competing architects' firms at the Malmo Quay site
David Roberts of igloo and David Rudlin of URBED with the nine competing architects' firms at the Malmo Quay site

Architects from around the world are competing for the chance to re-develop a prime site overlooking Newcastle Quayside.

Internationally-renowned firms from London, Edinburgh, Paris and Berlin are in a contest to design a new £15m development for the city’s Malmo Quay at Ouseburn.

The nine firms visited the site this week to assess the task, which subject to planning approval, would start next summer.

They are bidding to design an eight-storey housing block, comprising around 50 apartments, a cafe and restaurant and a new home for The Cycle Hub.

Plans in 2008 by Taylor Wimpey to build a 13-storey residential block with 80 flats and an office block on site in front of the pub were turned down by the city council but were given the go-ahead by a Government inspector following an appeal and a public inquiry.

More than 1,300 people signed protest petitions claiming the scheme would lead to loss of views along the Tyne Gorge and to traffic and parking problems.

The new project’s development director David Roberts has made architects aware that views across the Tyne must not be comprimised.

“This is why the architectural design competition is so important,” he said. “It’s about how architects can come up with a creative solution to historic unhappiness with previous proposals.

“People still need to be able to see key sites from various vantage points.

“As the gateway to Ouseburn, Malmo Quay will be a high-profile development and we are looking for imaginative ideas that combine the character of the Quayside with the creativity of the Ouseburn Valley.

“We have invited nine world class architectural firms to submit their designs, based on a combination of our previous experience, new firms we had researched and recommendations from people we respect.”

Northern Architecture’s managing director Lowri Bond will help organise the contest and sit on the selection panel alongside David Roberts, Paul Snedker of The Cycle Hub, architect and building conservation specialist Cyril Winskell and a representative from the North East Design Review Service.

The judges are looking for residential development designs which complement the urban village ethos and character of the Lower Ouseburn Valley.

The project has been backed by the site’s landowners, Newcastle City Council.

Council leader Nick Forbes said: “I am looking forward to seeing some exciting proposals from these world class architects. The council will continue to work closely with the developers to progress a design that will create high quality homes and facilities for the city”.

Work started last year on the first new residential phase of the Ouseburn regeneration. The Malings eco-housing project is made up of 76 homes and is named after the pottery which was formerly based in the area.

House sales for The Malings’ first phase has been successful with 23 houses sold before any advertising or show home has been put in place. There are now only nine houses left for sale in this phase.

Architects for the Malmo Quay project will be appointed later this month and all entries for the competition will go on show during the Ouseburn Festival on July 5 and 6.

The team will consult with the local community as plans for the scheme are prepared for submission in November.

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