The importance of economical, social and environmental sustainability, has been one of the central themes, recently investigated during the ‘Urban Design Seminars’ module, with Profs Ali Madanipour. The formulation of a detailed brief, the setting up of design competitions and the coming together of the various professionals such as planners, architects and landscape architects, are deemed to be essential factors in achieving sustainable buildings and places.
The collaboration between these various practices and the respective roles in the design process was further conveyed through the ‘Deadline Tour’ organized by Northern Architecture and hosted by Christoph Oschatz from KIOSK Architecture and Design Studio at The Shed, Gateshead.
The tour focused on the architectural design put forward by KIOSK for the two-stage architectural competition for the design of Aoibhneas Children’s Centre, on the existing site of a women and children’s refuge in Dublin.
After an introduction to the architect’s design concepts, ‘Kinetic Engineers’, also based in Gateshead; explained their role in providing the mechanical and electrical engineering consultancy, along with the design of sustainable systems and technologies, energy usage calculations and the preparation of sustainability reports.
Soon after, the attendees and organizers walked together to Gateshead interchange, catching the metro to Newcastle, where we visited the civil and structural engineering practice, the digital visualisation studio, the landscape architects and the printing studio. It was interesting to learn how each of these practices had specific objectives such as the economic viability, the visual impact of the project, how it relates to the existing green areas, etc; yet in line with the overarching principles of creating a community building and spaces which allow for improved social and ecological well being.
Furthermore, sustainable design could also be experienced during the tour. The efficient use of the public transport links between Newcastle and Gateshead as we visited the different practices, proved that the required face-to-face interaction between the various professionals was possible without resorting to private car use.
Altogether, Deadline Tour was a very informative event, bringing together people from different walks of life to better understand what the design process involves, whilst allowing us to experience some of the high quality urban spaces and buildings within Newcastle and Gateshead.