LIFE keeps getting sweeter at Tyneside's Toffee Factory. Last night the former Maynards confectionery works - which has been transformed into a base for creative and digital businesses - won a national Royal Institute of British Architects award.
The award, for architectural excellence, was handed out at a RIBA ceremony in Leeds and means the Toffee Factory in the Lower Ouseburn valley in Newcastle now goes forward for consideration for the shortlist for the most prestigious architectural award of all – the Stirling Prize.
The £6m Toffee Factory project, by Newcastle’s xsite architecture, saw the derelict building refurbished and partly rebuilt, with its landmark chimney being saved.
Earlier this year the Toffee Factory won the Project of the Year title and the regeneration category prize at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Renaissance Awards at Newcastle Civic Centre.
RIBA judges said: “The derelict toffee factory, with trees growing out of its ruined shell, has been reincarnated as a managed work space for the creative industries and is almost fully let.
“It has become a landmark in the regeneration of the Ouseburn Valley and a significant addition to Newcastle’s architectural legacy.
“The original building fabric has been restored, including the distinctive chimney, and an additional floor has been added. The demands of energy conservation have led to an interesting chequerboard of insulation alternating between inside and out, so one is always aware of the original structure. “
As part of RIBA’s Love Architecture festival, there will be a tour of the Toffee Factory tomorrow at 4pm. People can book places on the tour at www.lovearchitecture.org.
A national RIBA award also went to Rosberry Park mental health village in Middlesbrough, by Medical Architecture.
At the ceremony last night, four RIBA Hadrian regional awards for the North East, were also announced.
Three went to Newcastle projects: the Institute of Transplantation at the Freeman Hospital, by Ryder Architecture, Sleeperz Hotel in Westgate Road by Clash Associates and the Theatre Royal restoration, by Sansome Hall Architects.
The fourth award was won by a project by Spence and Dower architects which saw the conversion of disused 19th Century barns at West Oak Farm in the hamlet of Broomley near Stocksfield in Northumberland into four large houses.
Judges said: “The Institute of Transplantation is a unique building type, the first in the UK to combine an organ transplant facility with teaching.
“It is a functional, fit-for-purpose building but the architects have challenged some of the rules for hospital interior design that can make for bland and unfriendly spaces.“
“The Sleeperz Hotel concept is for hotels with small but stylish budget rooms built on the awkward left over spaces adjoining mainline railway termini.
“The Westgate Street elevation has a subtle curve and is highly glazed offering views down the street.
“The redesign and conservation of the Theatre Royal and particularly the multi-tiered auditorium, is extraordinarily consistent and seamless.
“A considerable amount of the interior finishes had to be re-invented since few records remain. Where there was evidence the finishes were carefully researched and reinstated. The result is a theatre fit for the 21st Century. The West Oak Farm scheme makes four dwellings out of an old farm and sets new standards for the re-use of derelict agricultural buildings in the region.“
RIBA president Angela Brady said: “What really stands out is that even in times of austerity, we can still deliver amazingly clever, high quality buildings that reflect the needs of today and enhance our daily lives.
“The judges were delighted to see so many well considered, crafted and innovative projects, and the use of beautiful materials. These projects are truly exciting and inspiring.”