Top North East designs revealed in architecture shortlist

The North East continues to be a centre for excellence when it comes to innovative design in architecture. This has been recognised in the latest shortlist put forward for the Royal Institute of British Architects North East awards

Karen Verrill, head of Maggies cancer centre at the Freeman Hosptal
Karen Verrill, head of Maggies cancer centre at the Freeman Hosptal

The North East continues to be a centre for excellence when it comes to innovative design in architecture.

This has been recognised in the latest shortlist put forward for the Royal Institute of British Architects North East awards.

In all, nine buildings have made the list and represent a range of eye-catching projects across the region.

They include Maggie’s Newcastle by Cullinan Studio. It is named after Maggie Keswick Jencks who had a vision to create a network of imaginatively designed drop-in care centres after she was diagnosed with cancer.

Then there is Roomzzz, the Friar House Apartment Hotel by MawsonKerr Architects, which saw the transformation of a dilapidated Georgian house.

Another is INTO Newcastle University by FaulknerBrowns Architects, a new overseas student teaching facility to be located on the existing campus close to the city centre.

Meanwhile, the Window On Wild Lindisfarne by Icosis Architects is located on the main route to the castle and provides a visitor information point relating to the island’s rich nature and wildlife. The stone walled and turf roofed building also acts as a muster point and education facility. The Rocket Field provides a habitat for a variety of birds, and the building is intended to focus views out over the field and bird activity. Careful detailing has allowed birds to nest within the eaves of the building itself.

The Witham Redevelopment by Jane Darbyshire & David Kendall Limited is an ambitious restoration of historic buildings and new build project within the centre of Barnard Castle. The £2.3m project has seen the refurbishment of the Grade II listed Witham Testimonial Hall.

Originally constructed in 1846 as a memorial to local philanthropist, landowner and geologist, Henry Witham, the Hall and the adjacent Testimonial Building and Music Hall have been completely refurbished with new studio units created along Hall Street to form a thriving new artistic quarter for budding local artists.

Also on the list are two hospices. One is the Grace House Hospice by Gentoo Homes in Sunderland which provides specialist care for hundreds of children in the region who are not expected to reach adulthood as a result of terminal illnesses.

It acts as a home from home for children with debilitating life-threatening conditions, as well as providing support for their families, respite and terminal care.

Then there is St Benedict’s Hospice and Specialist Centre for Palliative Care, also in Sunderland, by P+HS Architects. It is relocating to a brand new site complete with sea view at Ryhope. The £12m project includes 14 in-patient beds, day care, a specialist lymphoedema unit and outpatient services, as well as an education centre and community nursing teams. Making up the list is Treetops by Howarth Litchfield Partnership and Seaham North Dock by Napper Architects Limited

The shortlisted buildings will be assessed by a regional jury with the winner announced on May 2 at the Stephenson Works.

The winner will then be considered for a highly-coveted RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence on a national platform, to be announced later this year.

The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best building of the year will be drawn from the RIBA National Award winning buildings.

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