North East Connected

Architect to Continue Redevelopment of Quayside Gallery

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 09.05.27Award-winning xsite architecture (xsite), has been appointed to the role of lead consultant and architect for the remaining phases of The Side Gallery’s redevelopment on Newcastle Quayside following an award by the Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF).

Xsite worked closely with the Amber Film & Photography Collective which has an extraordinary film and photography archive based at the site – to assist the funding application and was subsequently appointed after a competitive tender to undertake the remaining stages of technical design, tender and construction through to project completion.

The funding application for the capital works was based on a condition survey and various reports undertaken by xsite in association with Studio Horn Engineering Design and cost consultants, Thornton & Firkin with mechanical and electrical engineering consultancy support from Gateshead-based Kinetic Engineers.

Some £500k of the funding will be used to repair the existing structure, undertake alterations to the building to create additional gallery space, install new circulation stairs and an access lift as well as a new, efficient heating and cooling system, which utilises air source heat pumps.

Additionally, a large element of the funding will be used to cover the digitisation of much of the archive and to establish server facilities to house and share the resulting information.

Xsite, which is the team behind some of the region’s foremost cultural and regeneration schemes, is currently working on the technical design stage with the aim that the project will start on site in Autumn this year.  Speaking about xsite’s ongoing role, a delighted Tim Bailey, xsite partner, said:

“We are very pleased to have been appointed to complete this project because we began working on it with Graeme Rigby, an Amber Collective member in 2011.

“Amber was established in 1969 to collect documents of working class culture and has a very particular set of social and aesthetic concerns.  Its members have created a living archive over the past 45 years, so this project is of major social significance.

“As a practice, we are passionate about preserving the region’s architectural and cultural heritage and Amber is playing a very important role in ensuring that the northeast’s past is chronicled and preserved for future generations.”

Graeme Rigby, title, added:  “The award of HLF necessitated another competitive tender after its allocation and three teams submitted proposals.  Given xsite’s prior experience and knowledge of the project, we were delighted with their particularly strong submission.   Their team is currently doing a great job for us ensuring that we remain on target to get the construction work underway this Autumn.

“In the meantime, the gallery is closed pending the start of these works, but we do have a major exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery with the title ‘For ever Amber’ on 26 June, which is a major retrospective for Amber’s remarkable collection while The Side is closed for redevelopment.

“We eagerly await the completion of these works so that we can share this fascinating insight into the region’s heritage both online and on site at the Side Gallery & Cinema next year.”

It is anticipated that the redevelopment of The Side Gallery will be complete and the gallery re-opened by Summer next year.

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