Newcastle and Sunderland civic centers among building award winners


Civic Centers in Newcastle and Sunderland have won separate awards for the best buildings in the UK.

The winners of the RIBA North East Award 2022 have been revealed, awarding a modern refurbishment of the Newcastle Civic Center built in the 1960s, as well as a family home and barn conversion.

All three projects have won Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) North East Awards, including North Bank in Northumberland by Elliott Architects Ltd, Newcastle Civic Center by FaulknerBrowns Architects and Shepherds Barn in County Durham by LEAP.

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Killingworth-based architects FaulknerBrowns have been involved in work at the Newcastle Civic Center for several years, having initially received approval for the multi-million pound renovation of the 1968 Grade II listed building by George Kenyon in 2017.

As part of the plans, council services have been redistributed to promote greater operational efficiency and consolidation, which has allowed HM Courts and Tribunal Service to occupy areas of the civic centre, optimizing the use of buildings and generating commercial revenue for Newcastle City Council.

Newcastle Civic Centre, designed by FaulknerBrowns. Photo by David Cadzow

Hexham Elliott Architects Ltd have designed North Bank, a new build set in a conservation area which has been designed to incorporate and reinterpret elements of historic farm barns in rural Northumberland.

The Shepherds Barn in County Durham by LEAP (Low Energy Architectural Practice) is a refurbished barn conversion undertaken to EnerPHit (Passivhaus retrofit) standard and designed by architect and Passivhaus designer Mark Siddall.

North Bank, Northumberland by Elliott Architects Ltd.  Photo by Jill Tate
North Bank, Northumberland by Elliott Architects Ltd. Photo by Jill Tate

Shepherds Barn, designed by LEAP architect Mark Siddall
Shepherds Barn, designed by LEAP architect Mark Siddall

Regional Jury Chair Amrit Naru said, “This year, all submissions for the Regional Awards demonstrated the continued quality of design seen in the North East. The judges judged the winning projects of the RIBA North East Award to be exemplary in demonstrating sincerity and fun with the best of design. Every project has its occupants, context and sustainability are at the heart.

The North Bank building also received two special awards – North East Conservation Award and North East Small Project of the Year Award – while Shepherds Barn was selected as RIBA North East Client of the Year and North East Sustainability Award.

The 2022 RIBA North East Building of the Year, sponsored by Taylor Maxwell, will be announced on May 24 at a ceremony in London and regional winners will qualify for national awards to be announced in June.

Meanwhile, the British Council for Offices (BCO) Regional Awards have named Sunderland Town Hall as one of six workplaces across the North and Northern Ireland.

Sunderland City Council’s new headquarters won the award for Best Corporate Workplace, as a building that represents an early catalyst in a phase of transformational regeneration and change for Sunderland.

The judges said the building “provides all the tools for work collaboration and social support, then wraps them in an architectural and interior design that fits into its local context.”

Pipewell Quay in Pipewellgate, Gateshead, the former Baja Beach Club which has been converted into modern offices for Aspire Technology Solutions, has also been highly regarded in the company’s workplace.

Thomas Bone, Associate Director Hoare Lea and Chairman of the BCO Northern Jury, said: “The pandemic has brought about accelerated changes that were already happening in our sector and a number of common themes were evident across all categories, including the rapid evolution, well-being, collaboration and innovation to offer new hybrid ways of working. The high number of entries that were renovation, recycling or fit-out projects also shows a growing importance of sustainability in our sector and Sunderland Town Hall and Pipewell Quay are a perfect showcase of what the area of the North East has to offer and what the sector can achieve.”

Winners from the North will now compete against those from other regions at the BCO National Awards in October.


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