Feature:Architecture Week 2006: An informative feast for the North East

Architecture Week 2006: An informative feast for the North East… (including: Tyneside, Durham, Sunderland, Northumberland and Tees Valley events)

Contemporary architecture: Build, live, learn and celebrate!

Do we take for granted the crucial roles played by architects, urban designers and town planners? Their work has a significant effect on all of our lives but how many of us actually stop and think about a world without buildings, motorways, public walkways and parks? Architecture Week 2006 is a landmark nationwide celebration that applauds the ambition and contribution contemporary architecture makes to society. The campaign starts on Friday 16th June and runs through until Sunday 25th June.

People don’t always appreciate the amount of time and planning that goes into creating society’s amenities; from the cradle to the grave architects and planners have a major influencing say in the way we function on a daily basis, for example in the buildings we occupy: hospitals; schools; churches; offices; homes; nightclubs; theatres; prisons and supermarkets.

Architecture Week’s 2006 events will include creative workshops, informative talk ‘n‘ tours and artistic exhibitions that will capture the imagination of people from Newcastle to Durham and from Tees Valley to Northumberland. 2006 also marks the 10th anniversary of Architecture Week and to celebrate this wonderful achievement a special theme has been chosen – The Power of 10. For a full programme list please visit www.architectureweek.org.uk (clicking – the NORTH EAST).

Architecture Week 2006 is a national Arts Council England and Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) initiative in association with the Architecture Centre Network. In the North East they’re working with Northern Architecture - the regional architecture centre for the North East of England - to deliver a feast of informative and participatory events for the architecture hungry public to enjoy.

“I think people are much more interested in the built environment than they were 10 years ago and in this region the new developments of BALTIC, The Sage Gateshead and the Millennium Bridge have greatly contributed to this. I think high profile, noticeable projects have raised the game - making people see what new design and architecture can really be like,” said Andrew Guest, Director of Northern Architecture.

In Architecture Week’s 10th anniversary year it’s hoped the nation will embrace this celebration by attending many of the fascinating events up and down the country. Keeping with the theme - here are 10 exciting activities that people can enjoy in the North East of England.

Archi-jog: An informal, medium-paced run around the highlights and less known architectural delights of inner-city NewcastleGateshead (led by Byker resident – Colin Dilks)

[email protected]: An opportunity to create a one-day structure near the site of mima (middlesbrough institute of modern art), which opens to the public later this year

Family fun at the National Glass Centre (Sunderland): Design your own abstract architectural landscape using the views from the National Glass Centre

A Virtual Tour of Darlington: Artist Anton Hecht will lead two workshops that will involve participants filming the architecture, signage and sounds of Darlington – creating a virtual tour of the town

Riverside Regeneration at the Mouth of the Tyne (North & South Shields): The tour will highlight regeneration activity on both banks of the riverside

50/50 - Where have all the men gone? (Newcastle): Currently only 14% of architects are women. Architectural practices across the country are joining a campaign promoting women in architecture. Marcelle Mardon (an architect from xsite architecture) will lead a discussion over wine and olives - spurring us on to think about what the real issues are around this statistic

Shooting Buildings (Bowes Museum – County Durham): A workshop for young people (school pupils) who will be given a brief and the opportunity to work with a professional photographer on how to photograph architecture

Kielder Observatory – exhibition and talk (Queen’s Hall Art Centre in Hexham, Northumberland): An exhibition of drawings, visualisations and models detailing the forthcoming Kielder Observatory. Charles Barclay (Kielder Observatory architect) and Curator Peter Sharpe will discuss the project and Kielder’s Art and Architecture programme

Behind the Terraces: A photographic exhibition of a community living through a major urban regeneration programme for older housing in Middlesbrough (Gresham)

Wayne Hemingway (designer) – a patron of Architecture Week 2006 will be in Newcastle to deliver an RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, manufactures and commerce) debate entitled The bad, the ugly and a little bit of good… Why we are delivering such mediocre housing in the UK?


Northern Architecture is fundamentally concerned with advocating the importance of good design and better places for people. The organisation is passionate about enabling people to recognise the role buildings and the built environment play in our daily lives, on whatever scale that comes.

Andrew Guest believes that the region should begin moving away from the high profile projects and concentrate on more ‘ordinary’ less visible projects taking place in smaller communities, for example: schools, libraries and health centres. He underlines that the next big challenge for the North East will be to address the issue of housing. Guest concludes: “Architecture is something that hugely affects us all especially as it is ever-present in our lives. I think we take it for granted and assume that it’s there all of the time. We don’t question where it comes from and only notice it when something has been taken away. I hope that Architecture Week will inspire people to become more vocal about either what they think and feel or what they need to know.”

The Power of 10: In tandem with Architecture Week’s rise and development over the past ten years, the North East has earned the mantle of being recognised as home to some of Europe’s top examples of contemporary architecture. The North East boasts an abundance of award winning centrepieces that cover a wide selection of functions from the arts through to public and private sector.


Here are 10 examples of contemporary architecture (new builds or building achievements) in the North East over the past decade:

The Sage Gateshead; The Millennium Bridge; National Glass Centre (Sunderland); The Gala Theatre (Durham); Kielder Belvedere (Northumberland); BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art; Rivergreen Centre (commercial build in Durham); Central Square (re-use of former Royal Mail sorting office); Dance City and Pottergate Housing Development (Alnwick, Northumberland)

This impressive portfolio is indicative of the region’s total commitment to investing in the improvement and maintenance of its built environment.

Mark Robinson, Executive Director, Arts Council England, North East said: “The quality of architecture and the built environment in the North East has never been so important, or so hotly discussed. We know the effect bad architecture can have, which is why it's so important to celebrate quality and make sure more people can debate what's good and bad. Architecture Week is a great opportunity to find out more about our surroundings.”

Architecture Week 2006 will be launched in the North East at a special ceremony at Dance City in Newcastle on Friday 16th June. The cutting edge performing arts venue is the ideal contemporary location to kick-off the campaign in style (please note the opening ceremony is by ‘invitation only’).

For further information about Architecture Week 2006 events taking place in your region please visit www.architectureweek.org.uk and click on NORTH EAST, alternatively you can contact Northern Architecture on (0191) 260 2191 or via email - [email protected]


Please note: There will be a substantial amount of news, feature and photography opportunities taking place throughout Architecture Week 2006 – please look out for regular press-call announcements from Strictly Press.

Media Contact: (for ALL media enquiries including interviews and photo opportunities)

Garry Smith – Strictly Press

T: 0191 2892809
M: 07899910823
E: [email protected]

Photography: Please note there is a batch of high-resolution colour digital images available to support a range of the Architecture Week 2006 events. For further information please contact Strictly Press using the above information.


Notes to Editor:

1). Northern Architecture’s public role is to elevate expectations about architecture and design, stimulate debate and provide opportunities for people to become involved in the process of making architecture and public space in the North East of England. They champion for high quality standards in the built environment and care about providing the appropriate information to enable people to get involved with architecture in society.

Northern Architecture is supported by Arts Council England, North East and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).

For further information about Northern Architecture please visit www.northernarchitecture.com

2). Arts Council England, North East is the regional office of the national development agency for the arts. They work on building upon the strong track record of arts development in the North East. Arts Council England, North East believe the arts have a major role to play in redefining the region bringing quality of life to both rural and urban communities. Arts Council England, North East covers County Durham, Northumberland, Tees Valley and Tyne & Wear.

3). Arts Council England has provided funding for the capital builds of The Sage Gateshead, Dance City, BALTIC, National Glass Centre, amongst many others to the tune of many millions of pounds – and coming soon the North East is looking forward to the unveiling of the exciting capital builds for Northern Stage (performing arts) and Waygood (visual arts).

4). A full Architecture Week 2006 events programme can be found at www.architectureweek.org.uk - this provides a comprehensive national and regional schedule list.