What’s on?

FAT Lecture – Tees Valley


Design Event presents PechaKucha Volume 6 in association with Northern Architecture and NEPA

Thursday 9 June, 7pm

at Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne

PechaKucha brings together top creative and inspirational speakers who will share their design ideas, work and passions within the confines of 20 images each shown for 20 seconds.

Global phenomenon PechaKucha, which originates from Japan, celebrates creative talent. With no briefing sessions presentations will be as weird and wonderful as the speakers want, often ranging from things that inspire them form holiday snaps to favourite books, to things they cannot stand.



Tyneside Cinema 75th Anniversary!!

By Aaron Murphy

Yay, this weekend my favourite place in Newcastle – The Tyneside Cinema, celebrates its 75th Anniversary, by showing a marathon of films, totalling 75 hours, in 3 screens, over two days. Furthermore, all films cost only 75p! I’ll be there, maybe see some of you there too! http://www.tynesidecinema.co.uk/whats-on/75th-anniversary

Tyne Bridge Tower Masterplan Exhibition  25th March – 1st April 2011

By Scott Gibson

An exhibition to show our work for the Tyne Bridge Tower project has been advertised via the Northern Architecture website and it has received media press in the Chronicle.  The exhibition was launched on Friday 25th March 2011 and is being shown in the main reception at Gateshead Civic Centre until this Friday 1st April 2011.  So if you’re interested, there’s still chance to visit and see some of our work.



Cafe Politique: Do People Have Power? Monday 7th Feb 7pm – 9pm at Dance City (Urban Cafe Bar) Newcastle

posted by Lowri

Scotswood masterplan site

For a number of years IPPR North have held a programme of informal discussion events in Newcastle around current issues in politics, culture and science and their implications for the North East region, which bring together an audience of academics, practitioners and general public to the debate. Their forthcoming event is worth attending as a lot of the work emerging from PEALS (Policy Ethics and Life Sciences) Research Centre here at Newcastle University provides a relevant backdrop for Urban Design practice and should have particular relevance to some of concepts being explored in our Brussels module.

The event focuses on Scotswood in west Newcastle, an area which we discussed in Michael Crilly’s Principles and Practice lecture last semester, and asks if and how in an area that has been subject to prolongued social and economic struggles and many regeneration schemes over the last 30 years, local people have the power to influence things for the better?

Jacqui Haq, PEALS will give her perspective as academic, community activist and former resident of Scotswood and independent researcher, Judith Green, who’s work has focused on Newcastle’s West End for a number of years, will provide the context in relation to community strategies and regeneration initiatives that have been in play since the ’70s.


Limelight: Sans Facon. Side Cinema January 13 2011

Lowri Bond

Sans Facon, who are artists Tristan Surtees and Charles Blanc, presented their latest public art commission last night at the Side Cinema. Limelight, a film work, documents a series of temporary urban interventions in different cities including Newcastle, London, Inverness, Glasgow and Arlington in the US. Powerful in its simplicity and located on a busy street in the centre of each city the artists installed two spotlights in existing street lamps to overlap on the ground and filmed peoples’ responses to the pool of light over a few hours after dark.

Limelight in Arlington US

The results were fascinating and sparked a lively discussion after the screening. Firstly, just observing the similarities between of responses in different cities was interesting. The space deliniated by the light seemed to compel people to interact with the piece, usually choosing to perform within the space, producing mini pieces of spontanious theatre. The artists observed that on occasions people even fought to gain access to the space, playing football, kissing, dancing, playing the violin, proposing marriage….

The piece raised questions about the role and nature of public art and our relationship with shared space in cities and the audience discussed whether this approach, commissioning temporary work that provokes engagement, is the future of public art. Other audience comments raised questions about the relationship the piece has with theatre, surveillance, behavior and voyeurism. All seemed in agreement that, although the piece is such a simple, temporal intervention, its impact is multi layered and thought provoking.

Limelight on the Quayside in Newcastle

Images by Sans Facon

REMEMBERANCE DAY (Newcastle 14/11/2010)

Remembrance Day is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries to remember the members of their armed forces who have died on duty since World War I. In Malta, this day is referred to as Poppy Day, after the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red colour an appropriate symbol for the blood spilt in the war.

Although seemingly unrelated to urban design as such, it is interesting to note that activities are held at Eldon Square and Grey’s monument rather than at the war memorial next to St Nicholas Church. Hence, the choice of the only formal open space in Newcastle for this commemoration conveys the solemn nature of this memorial day. Similarly, in Malta the Siege Bell Memorial was chosen for the ceremony. (http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20101111/local/armistice-day-marked-in-valletta)

Hence, we can conclude that communities attribute special meanings to particular spaces within their cities. In turn, such spaces are important in instilling and enhancing the sense of community and belonging within the local population, and manage to convey those values and principles that are dear to the local community.

Sarah Muscat

IT’S SNOWING IN NEWCASTLE!!!! (1st snowfall 24/11/2010)

Snow characterizes the winter season in Newcastle. It is very striking to see urban open spaces and large green areas turning into white canvases, reflecting Christmas lights especially at night. It also changes the activity patterns within a particular area. People normally picnic round the lake at Leazes Park, but now that the snow covered the surfaces of the park, children sledge with their parents down the sloping sites. On the other hand, cafes along Northumberland Street had to remove their outdoor seating area to avoid causing further hindrance to pedestrian movement.

These mundane activities present a whole new idea as to the treatment of open spaces for people originating from warmer countries. These are factors which are critical to the design of open spaces within the region and detrimental if overlooked.

Sarah Muscat

Snow at NewcastleGateshead quays

Leazes Park

CONTINENTAL CHRISTMAS MARKET @ the Monument(Newcastle 22/11/2010 – 4/12/2010)

On our first orientation tour around the city, organized by the MAUD programme; Grey’s Monument was introduced to us as a central activity hub in Newcastle. Everyday individuals and organizations voice their arguments, present their views on the global occurrences and even provide healing services for a better world. One way of achieving such a goal is surely through cross-cultural experiences.

It is very difficult to imagine this place taken up by vehicular traffic, but that was precisely what happened before the area was pedestrianised. Since then people took ownership of the space, with the active shop frontages and cafes enhancing the vitality of the site.

Grey’s Monument is one good example of restoring city space to the pedestrians, but also teaches us that activities are important to make a space more vibrant and hence increase footfall. Once a good mix of activities is established, people would opt for that specific place to promote their own initiative. Hence the inter-dependability between community, a space and its activity levels can be established.

Sarah Muscat

Experiencing stalls at the monument selling...

...sweets n chocolate...

...Russian dolls...

...handmade goods...

...prefect gifts...

...and the best food n sweets from around the world!!!

Limelight a video work by Sans façon

An interesting event by Northern Architecture on the use of public Art. You may find it useful for your project. 2nd December 2010, 6.30, Side Cinema 1-3 Side, Newcastle upon Tyne. Booking required, click here

LET’S TALK URBAN DESIGN limelight_250_web_image.jpg(8/12/2010)a presentation of the thesis projects by MAUD students 2009/2010

The ‘Let’s talk Urban Design’ event held at the University of Newcastle, brought together current students, former students and practicing urban designers under one roof to view the thesis projects of last year’s students and discuss urban design in the current socioeconomic scenario. An argument for urban design as a means of creating more sustainable places and communities was put forward. This is crucial for our towns and cities, especially in a time when resources are increasingly limited.

Best practice requires urban designers to have a good insight of the tangible and intangible heritage and resources of a specific place, sharing and discussing issues with local communities and other professionals and to draw masterplans that are based on a sound knowledge of urban design principles and centred on the users of the place.

Sarah Muscat


3 responses

23 11 2010

Sans facon are Architect Charles Blanc and Artist Tristan Surtees, both graduates of the Macintosh School in Glasgow. I really recommend going to this event as they are a really interesting and clever duo who work on a range of projects internationally. I first saw their work at Washington Services on the A1 in 2002, where they had installed a huge cinema screen projecting a film of the sea and shore line in North Shields. They were giving out CD sound-tracks for drivers to park up and watch and listen to the waves and the seagulls.
More recently I’ve seen them talk at a RUDI conference on creativity and place-making about a project that they were working on in Calgary to encourage citizens to think of their relationship to water resources in an expanded manner and develop an awareness of the natural and man-made watersheds. For more info see their site: http://www.sansfacon.co.uk/projects/vlp/vlp.shtml. Their approach to this commission was really innovative.
The relevance of the event to us, studying Urban Design is that this art/architecture team seem to succeed in peeling the layers to reveal people’s relationship with places.
Apart from all that, if you’ve never been to the Side Cinema, it’s a gem.
If I can get a babysitter I’ll see you there.

3 01 2011

Adding to Sarah comment regarding to the ‘Let’s talk Urban Design’ event at the University of Newcastle. I would like to indicate some of my favourite parts in this occasion. One of them was a little story of one previous year student, who presents briefly her experience on last year, her background were in town planning which was a bit different than urban design. In fact, I really liked the part that she talked about her difficulty and the challenge of dealing with something totally new for her such as some software; Sketch up and AutoCAD and hand sketching etc. Also, she indicated that her work and knowledge build up during the whole year. Finally, she summed up with her feeling of trust and self-confident after completion the purpose. However, I think this explanation of real experience very helpful for student of this year especially the student who has the same backdrop as her. The other part was meeting and talking with professional some members of urban design group also some previous year students, which obviously give us an opportunity to expanding our awareness about others experience and knowledge.

20 06 2011
Sherwood Ugarte

Admiring the persistence you put into your blog and in depth information you provide. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed material. Great read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

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