Thursday, 20 December 2018

That Was 2018

2018 saw xsite mark our 18th birthday. As well as being able to enjoy a legal drink, we also managed to find plenty to keep ourselves busy over the year.

architects get to grips with the Lit and Phil
February saw us host an event as part of the RIBA’s Practice Role Model initiative with representatives of 9 practices nationally converging on Newcastle for a weekend of building visits, chewing the fat and the odd tipple.

April brought us two wins in the North East RICS awards for the Wylam Brewery project at The Palace of Arts in Newcastle’s Exhibition Park. The project then went on to compete in the national awards later in the year in the Commercial and Conservation project categories.

the after show

Spring saw us working once again with Wylam Brewery, this time on their By The River Brew Co container community on Gateshead’s Hillgate Quay below the Tyne bridge.
16 weeks from start to finish, a herculean effort from all involved saw the project finished in time for June’s opening of The Great Exhibition of The North. The sun shone and Gateshead felt a little like Brooklyn.

By the River on Hillgate Quay (Time Freezer Photography)

Ouseburn Farm
We’re a close knit bunch in the Ouseburn and the year has seen us continue to support our neighbours at the Ouseburn Farm with their fundraising and capital projects. Look out for exciting new developments down on the farm in 2019 and please support their work if you can.   

Projects large and small completed through the year but perhaps the most significant was the North East Futures UTC secondary school in Newcastle’s Stephenson Quarter. The 600 pupil, health sciences and digital technologies focused school marries a new build block with the refurbishment of a Grade II listed locomotive workshop, the result – we hope – is an inspiring place to learn and teach.


Our resident star of the small screen Maral has continued her great work with a new series of CBBC’s The Dengineers hitting the screens this autumn.

We’re looking forward to getting on site with projects in the pipeline for 2019 having gained planning approval this year including the Oak Meadows and Lower Steenbergs Yard residential projects and a whole lot more. 

Oak Meadows, Middleton St George

Lower Steenbergs Yard 

Thanks to everyone we’ve worked with this year and here’s to more of the same in 2019! 

Friday, 1 June 2018

By The River Brew Co on Hillgate Quay

Things are moving fast on the Gateshead quayside with less than a month to go to completion of the riverside container community. 

Working from West to East fit out of the brewhouse and brewery tap are onto finishes and the brew kit is due on site next week. 

Meanwhile at the east end of the site the H W K R  M R K T event space containers are being swung into place. 

Keep an eye on progress if you're down on the quayside in the next few weeks. 

Friday, 11 May 2018

UTC_Stephenson Quarter Update



16 weeks from completion, works on the UTC at the Stephenson Quarter continue apace.

Masonry verging is complete to the west elevation of the new block allowing the subsequent removal of scaffolding. This signifies a key step towards closing  up the listed building roof and the forming of a link that joins the Hawthorn Engineering Works building to the new build block.

By linking the two slim blocks we create a larger volume at ground level that bridges the two elements and forms the central main hall of the UTC.

Timber repair and conservation works are complete within the listed Hawthorn Engineering works building and the first of the internal scaffold is being removed. Externally, reclaimed slate is now being installed on the reconstructed roof. 

Meanwhile the brickwork to the new block is well underway including the soldier course banding detail.         


Friday, 27 April 2018

Wylam Brewery_By The River Brew Co

On the back of the awards Wylam announced their next project, By The River Brew Co a shipping container community beneath the iconic Tyne Bridge, home to a brewery, tap room, food, fire, custom bikes, coffee and more.

We’re very excited to be continuing our collaboration with them down by the river.    



We celebrated success at the RICS North East awards last week, picking up two prizes –  Best Commercial Project and Best Tourism and Leisure Project – for our Wylam Brewery refurbishment of The Palace of Arts building in Newcastle’s Exhibition Park .

Built in 1929 as part of the North East Coast Exhibition held that year, the Grade II listed building had been disused since 2006.

The refurbishment created a new home for 
Wylam Brewery, the North East’s leading 
craft brewery, incorporating a state of the art 
30BBL brewery in the rear half of the building,while the Brewery Tap, offices, kitchen and foyer space were arranged around the central octagonal hall which operates as an 800 capacity venue.

Not only did the project breathe new life into the building itself, but it has had a hugely positive effect on the wider park, a great example of creative reuse making an asset of an underused listed structure.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

PlanBEE Update_It's rotation time!

Friday marked the end of the 4th PlanBEE rotation period, meaning we said our goodbyes to Emma. Before leaving we asked her do our obligatory Q&A!

Emma, this is your first placement but can you tell us a bit about your understanding and experience of PlanBEE so far?
I was first made aware of the programme almost a year before starting in September (2017) and just loved the opportunity it presents – to be actively involved in real, live projects from day one. The alternative of attending university would mean for a lengthy wait before getting to this and would be without real experience of working in the industry.

What projects have you worked on at xsite?
During my time with the practice, I have been involved in far more than I would have expected;
  • Teviot Cottage, Corbridge - responsible for developing a scheme for the living area and preparing various documents and drawings for tender
  • Minstrel’s House, West Marlish – developing various drawings for a new staircase
  • Unit 15, Benton Square – Colour scheme for new cladding and extension
  • Site visits to UTC – demonstrated importance of coordination and regular reviewing of progress to enable its success
  • Lower Steensberg’s Yard, Ouseburn
  • Former Rocket House, Blyth - developing a scheme for its conversion into 2bed residential property

The Former Rocket House project has been the project I have found most enjoyable because of the heritage and conservation aspects. Having an element of ownership of this project has been a privilege and I feel lucky to have had so much influence on a project. I have really enjoyed seeing the proposal change and progress with feedback from the client and learning of the restrictions of a listed building. I look forward to seeing how this develops and turns out in the end!

What have you learned in your time at xsite?
Having done Product Design at A Level based on architecture I was aware of the design process however it quickly became clear that projects follow a more structured approach - in line with the RIBA Plan of Work- which is something I had not previously heard of.

Some skills learned include AutoCAD and Revit and how they vastly differ from one another. Both have become more familiar through use on projects throughout my time at xsite.

Do you have any tips or advice for anyone thinking about enrolling on the PlanBEE course?
To show plenty of interest in the ongoing projects and many tasks will come your way where you can demonstrate interests and skills.

Has your understanding of Architecture or working in practice changed over the last few months?
I now have a clearer understanding of the role an architect plays in the delivery of a project and the factors which influence design proposals and their development.

Also! A quick hello to Ryan who joins us at xsite for the next 3 months!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

RIBA Practice Role Model

We are delighted to post that xsite has been named a Practice Role Model by the RIBA.

We are one of nine practices selected to 'illustrate the characteristics of a Role Model organisation' and are looking forward exploring collaboration and exchange of ideas with the other practices involved, over the course of the project and beyond.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

PlanBEE Update

Jack was the third PlanBEE student to have joined the xsite Team. We said goodbye to him on Friday but managed to grab him for a quick chat before he left.

Jack, can you tell us a bit about your experience of PlanBEE so far?
Throughout my first year of the PlanBEE program I have undertaken 3 placements. The first of which was at 3E Consulting Engineers, learning about structural, civil and geotechnical engineering. I then moved to Ryder Architecture where, working as a design assistant, I gained experience developing projects from Concept Design to the Developed Design Stage. Following these initial 2 placements I came to xsite Architecture where I have gained further architectural experience as I have had the opportunity to work on different scale projects than those I had worked on previously.

I have found PlanBEE very successful so far. Over the last year - my first year, I have experienced different roles, with different people from various companies which has allowed me to become more knowledgeable about the construction industry as a whole.

I am looking forward to undertaking the next 3 placements over the coming year and gaining my HND level 5.  Following this time, I believe I will be in a good position to choose my favoured role and decide on the career path that I will continue onto.

What projects have you worked on at xsite?
Whilst at xsite Architecture I haev worked on: Foundry Lane Studios - Stephenson Quarter Development (UTC) - Tyneside Cinema - Rockcliffe Pleasure Gardens - West Ave, Gosforth Development.

What have you learned in your time at xsite?
Increased understanding of Photoshop and InDesign
Seen how a project is developed in Revit and AutoCAD
Gained an understanding of how to find solutions to design problems
Observed the difference in requirements and considerations when working on renovation or new construction projects

The new academic year is about to start, meaning that you are becoming a second year and that there will be a new first year cohort. Do you have any tips or advice for them?
Having completed the first year of PlanBEE the best tip I could give to the next cohort of students is regarding time management.  Achieving a balance between hobbies, college assessments and work is key.

There is a lot of information to take in and many assignments to produce over a short space of time so I’d recommend regularly dedicating time to each so that things don’t build up. If they do this then it is possible to achieve everything expected of them.

Has your understanding of Architecture or working in practice changed over the last few months?
Being at xsite has firmed up my understanding of what it is to work in an architectural practice. On completion of PlanBEE, working in a practice will definitely be an option I will be open to.

We are excited to have Emma join us on Tuesday as our next PlanBEE Student!

If you are interested in PlanBEE see the website for more details.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The RIBA Architecture Ambassador Partnership

The Architecture Ambassador Partnership, part of the RIBA’s Schools Programme, offers an exciting opportunity for RIBA members to engage with pupils in an effort to inspire and encourage them to think about their built environment and the communities that occupy them.

Two members of the xsite team have been working closely with teaching staff from two local schools, developing projects which are being delivered to pupils. The project workshops, which are being run over a number of weeks, provide opportunity to celebrate the creative process and to promote understanding and awareness of the endless possibilities of architectural design and the build environment. 

 Workshop 1 at Monkseaton High School - Cardboard Model Making

About the school: Monkseaton High School is a mixed comprehensive school for 13-18 year olds, in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.

About the project: The initial meeting, spent with the teacher one evening at the Baltic, was very motivating. We discussed possible topics, shared interests and considered the best possible ways to engage the children with the RIBA programme. Working with two Year 9 classes (13-14 years old), they got into groups of 2-4 and were asked to design their dream house for friends. The workshops are held over 5 weeks, culminating with an exhibition at school. An excitable introductory lesson established the key ideas of architecture, group discussions on favourite places, drawing floor plans of their own homes and familiarising them with the brief. The rest of the workshops will focus on cardboard model making, experiential drawings of the spaces, and photographing models to be printed and shown at the exhibition. I hope the project enables the students to recognise the importance of continuing their artistic education into GCSEs and beyond, broaden their understanding of the built environment and while having fun, get them interested in the world of architecture!

 Workshop 1 at Northern Saints Primary - 1:20 Scale Pupils

About the school: Northern Saints Church of England is a mixed Primary School for 5-11 year olds, in North Hylton.

About the project: Upon hearing about the RIBA Architecture Ambassadors programme, I was excited to get involved. I met the art co-ordinator of Northern Saints Primary at a RIBA hosted training day at the Baltic. In planning the project, we wanted to capture elements of as many construction and arts disciplines to equip the children with the understanding that the possibilities of what they can do ‘when they grow up’ are infinite. In year 1, this term the topic is castles and a 15 minute walk away from the school sits Hylton Castle, which is currently undergoing a period of change and regeneration. We decided to give them a ‘real life’ design project. Our first session involved discussion on what an architect could be, thinking about the best design for Hylton Castle (pizza and marshmallows were a reoccurring theme) and designing their own 1:20 scale versions of themselves. Over the next few weeks they will visit and survey the castle where they will take photographs and measure and experience the building with all of their senses. From then, they will have the opportunity to re-imagine the castle with as much imagination as possible in 3D – the perfect design project! Similarly to Caitlin, we will host an exhibition at the end to celebrate the children and the mini town of castles they will have produced.

If you are interested in the Architecture Ambassador Partnership visit the link below for more information. 

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Plan BEE Update

Josh’s mug shot

The first rotation of PlanBEE students happened at the start of February. As we said goodbye to Maddy, following her 4 months with us, we welcomed Josh to the xsite team.

We had a quick Q&A with Josh to get to know a bit about him!

Where do you come from?
I come from a village on the outskirts of Middlesbrough.

What did you study at GCSE/A Level?
I studied Process Engineering and Maths at Middlesbrough Sixth Form.

Which other Plan BEE placements have you completed to date?
My first Plan BEE placement was at CUNDALL, which is an engineering consultancy based in Gosforth. During my four month placement I was in the structures team where I gained experience and knowledge on the engineering processes behind the structure of a building.

Did you have any prior experience of the construction industry before you enrolled onto Plan BEE?
In 2016 I completed a six week voluntary work experience at Ace Aluminium & Architectural Services LTD. Whilst there I gained insight into site feasibility, H&S and design and installation. Time was also spent designing curtain walling, bespoke glazing, structural glazing and windows and doors systems. 

Why did you choose Plan BEE over taking a more traditional route?
I chose Plan BEE as I felt that many other courses couldn't offer the opportunities that where available through the course such as; working amongst some of the leading industry companies in the North East and having the opportunity to gain from their experience.

What do you think are good skills or traits to have, in general and you specifically for you as a Plan BEE student?
From a young age I have been interested in the look and shape of buildings which has helped my decision on wanting a career in the construction industry, where I will be able to learn about architecture and design. I feel that my problem solving skills and the ability to think outside of the box will be beneficial and help me in my future career path.

What have you enjoyed/learned over your first few weeks at xsite architecture?
During my time at xsite, I have gained a better understanding of REVIT and CAD through developing 2D and 3D models based on existing projects. This opportunity has allowed me to navigate around the software’s and improve my BIM skills along with creating to scale models.

What do you hope to get out of your placement with xsite?
At CUNDALL I gained valuable experience regarding the structural aspect of construction. This included structural calculations and load points. Now at xsite I hope I will be able to further my knowledge of design principles. Also through use of REVIT and other BIM software I hope to experience how 3D software is used on current and future projects.

What are you interests outside of the course?
During my spare time I enjoy watching county cricket at local grounds such County Durham. I also enjoy getting out in the fresh air and going for a long run along with travelling and visiting new places, mainly cities.

If you are interested in PlanBEE see the website for more details.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...