Northumbria University students present vision for Gibside Hall's revival

Northumbria University students have presented their visions of how Gibside Hall can be brought back into use

Students have presented their visions of how a historic hall can be brought back into use.

A group of Northumbria University’s interior architecture students have come up with a range of imaginative ideas for the hall, now a shell, on the National Trust’s Gibside estate near Rowlands Gill.

The final year students pitched their ideas and designs to Gibside manager Mick Wilkes and his team.

He said: “It’s been interesting to see all of the different approaches, and everyone has captured the spirit of Gibside Hall in their own way.

“We have been really impressed with their amazingly creative ideas and it has certainly given us food for thought in terms of what the hall’s future uses might be. It has all gone into the melting pot.”

The interior architecture course specialises in equipping students with the skills to re-use and adapt existing buildings.

The Gibside project has made up a significant portion of the students’ final degree mark, and their efforts are on display to the public at this year’s annual Northumbria University graduate degree show, Reveal, which showcases the best of its architecture, arts, design and media work.

It is open today and tomorrow from 9am-5pm on the university’s City Campus East.

Gibside Hall dates from the early 17th century and was expanded and improved by estate owners George Bowes and his daughter, Mary Eleanor.

Mary was one of the leading botanists of her day, employing plant hunters to travel abroad for specimens and building the estate’s orangery.

This aspect of the estate’s history is reflected in student Samantha Collins’s plans for the hall as a botanical garden and visitor centre, and Danielle Wai’s botanical research facility.

Liam Smith came up with a nocturnal wildlife observation and education centre, and Frankie Paul a red kite rehabilitation and exhibition centre.

Focusing on the healing powers of rural landscapes, student Natasha Kwok outlined her proposal to transform Gibside Hall into a cancer rehabilitation and public hydrotherapy facility.

Other ideas include Emma Weeden’s rural market and events space; Ella Foster with an earth/sky observatory; Carl Bonas, a gin distillery; Kevin Li, a music academy; Connor Hewison, artist studios and galleries; Andrew Kemp-Dillon, a theatre oculus; Alex Davies, an ornithology centre and retreat; Chet Baines, Bowes-Lyons visitor experience; Raja Munnie Raja, Gibside estate historic exhibition; Porous Rezvanian, an interpretive theatre space; Dimitra Lahaniati, Gibside estate historic exhibition; Laura Diggens, an artist retreat; Drew Lowe, a spa and hydrotherapy retreat; Michael Dunn, a hydroponic farm and cider works.

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