Ouseburn walk – From a derelict place toward a creative quarter

1 06 2011

by: Ha mh Thai

The walk I took few weeks ago in order to search for a site for my dissertation thesis.

The area was home to the industrial revolution on the Tyneside in the late 18th century, and up until the 1960s it had a significant residential population, mainly workers from the industries nearby. At that time, it was a poor neighborhood surviving in very bad housing and health conditions. Thenceforth, the population greatly declined after the massive program of demolition and slum clearance. However, there are still plenty of warehouses, factories and seriously downgraded buildings, make the area looks like a neglected and derelict place.

Factory, warehouse and vacant block. Source: author, 2011.

Factory, warehouse and vacant block. Source: author, 2011.

Around the Ouseburn mouth and Lime Street, many regeneration projects bring a new look but still maintain the existing unique environment. The valley has become an attractive site for cultural industries and creative media businesses.

New site at Ouseburn mouth. Source: author, 2011.

New site at Ouseburn mouth. Source: author, 2011.


Ouseburn’s once derelict factories and warehouses are buzzing again as artists’ studios, music venues and cinemas.

A wide range of creative sites in Ouseburn: (from left) street arts, 36 Lime Street Warehouse Office and Studio, Ouseburn Farm. Source: author, 2011.

A wide range of creative sites in Ouseburn: (from left) street arts, 36 Lime Street Warehouse Office and Studio, Ouseburn Farm. Source: author, 2011.


Current project in operation: Maynards Toffee Factory view from Glasshouse Bridge, before and after regeneration. Source: Paul J White, available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pauljw/4502542375/in/set-72157623681068575

Current project in operation: Maynards Toffee Factory view from Glasshouse Bridge, before and after regeneration. Source: Paul J White, available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pauljw/4502542375/in/set-72157623681068575


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Cohesive communities & walkable neighbourhoods

31 05 2011

By Harvé Dhillon

Recently, seeming a lot of our projects have included residential design, I was reading about cohesive communities and how both architecture and urban design can contribute to the social integration of residents in a positive way. Malaysia is an ethnically diverse nation with three main races and many other ethnic minorities hence the importance of its social cohesiveness and unity of people is important in order to create a stable social and economic environment. Thus, neighbourhood design has had an important impact contributing to the racial harmony of Malaysian suburbs. The simple solution is to encourage walking, by providing local amenities within walking distance such as shops, schools, community centres, health centre the of course there is better health and furthermore reduces the need to use the car. Socially, walking will encourage the meeting and greeting with neighbours and a sense of community. Planners in Malaysia have managed to create these neighbourhoods by simple and inexpensive interventions and as a result forge communities with naturally strong ties and racial interaction and integration.

  • Make pedestrian-friendly pavements mandatory.
  • Make the planting of shady trees mandatory, too.
  • Place wakaf (small huts) and simple furniture along streets to provide resting places.
  • Place schools, libraries, mosques, temples, community centres and some shops within true walking distance of clusters of houses so people are encouraged to walk rather than drive.
  • Promote bicycling by providing proper pathways as well as bicycle parking spaces.




PopVille: The Pop Up City

31 05 2011
 
By Lizzie Bird
 
 
Exploring Brussels, I think on the search for Belgium waffles, a few of us stumbled across a centre for children’s books Le Wolf. Inside I found a children’s pop-up book PopVille which I fell a little bit in love with.  As you are turn each page you build a pop-up city – see the video.  Each page in Popville corresponds to a moment of urban development – from an isolated church amongst the trees to a bustling metropolis packed with streets, factories and stations.  Just like any city some landscape references stay the same while others disappear to make way for new developments.  The unpredictability of what will be there when you turn the page is all part of the fun just like the spontaneity that exists when living in a city.
 
 
Over the past couple of years the impact of the recession, falling values, lack of demand for commercial space and tight funding conditions have meant there is a real possibility of development sites laying empty for a number of years.  An ever more popular solution to the increasing number of derelict sites seems to be exploring temporary uses in towns and cities.  A recent exhibition at New London Architecture, Pop Up City explored ideas for temporary improvements to the urban fabric as response to change in the city see more at NLA Pop Up City  
 
 




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.

Website Reference: http://www.homegroup.org.uk/news/Pages/BuildingGatesheadsFuture.aspx