Come Design With Me – Freight Depot Site

5 05 2011

By Scott Gibson

Home Group announced on its website that it has been selected, as part of Evolution Gateshead, to form a joint venture partnership with Gateshead Council to deliver homes across the Borough over the next 15-20 years.  The attached You Tube clip provides details of the proposal in a fun animation which neatly sums up its vision and objectives for delivering sustainable housing.

One of the 19 sites to be developed includes our Freight Depot and the article also comes with sneak preview of what it could have in mind for the site.

The Freight Depot Site according to Evolution Gateshead

Whilst the video provides a good and inspiring insight into the types of housing that will be delivered, it’s obvious going by the image that more needs to be done with the strategic site design.  In terms of features, the image seems to show an ambiguous huge cheese grater at the corner of Park Roadand St James Road.  Perhaps it’s a home for a new National Museum of Cheese Grating. It also has a Byker Wall inspired block adjacent to the Park Road flyover, as well as a wall of town housing adjacent toPark Road.  Other features include a landscaped wildlife park, very similar to our emerging proposal (a specific nod to our Dingy Skipper friend) and a community garden / allotment in the centre of the site.  Otherwise, underneath the funkiness the development seems to be based on a grid iron street pattern which makes no effort use the site’s potential as an urban stepping stone between the Baltic Business Quarter and Town Centre.  In this sense, nothing has been done to permeate the railway barrier.

Ok, it is a bit unfair to be too critical at this stage, as it is just a promotional image after all rather than a formal proposal (I hope!)  Otherwise, I would imagine such a project would not survive well, especially in a crit with Georgia and Mark, save perhaps for its sustainability credentials.  So I hope our hard work on the rest of the project will provide some inspiration for Evolution Gateshead when it comes to putting a detailed design together, especially in terms of layout and understanding the wider context.  As it stands it deserves a Come Design With Me score of 5.

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