Wednesday, 10 February 2021

New members at xsite and Spence & Dower!

We are delighted to introduce four new members of the Arch 6 team, who joined us in the latter half of 2020 - Paul, Jack, Ella, and Lucy. Paul joined us as an Architectural Technologist, Jack and Ella as Part I Architectural Assistants and Lucy as a Business Administrator Apprentice.

Left-Right Jack, Ella, Lucy 

Paul has been an Architectural Technologist for around 20 years now. Starting off at a curtain wall company as an office junior, he worked his way through university and various different architecture practices to find himself where he is today. Born just outside of Consett, Paul is very familiar to the area and after moving to Leeds for a few years, he now lives in Gosforth. At xsite, Paul is currently working on the technical design stage of a residential scheme in the Ouseburn. Outside of work, he likes to eat, drink, and hang out with his wife and son. As well as this he enjoys gigs and the skatepark with his son despite the fact that this usually results in injuries for Paul! 

Jack, originally from Morpeth, studied at Sheffield Hallam University but has decided to return to Newcastle for a year to join us at xsite. While travelling, Jack was always drawn in by the architecture that each different city had to offer. This, as well as already having a growing interest in the construction industry, is what led him to go on to pursue a career in architecture. He is currently working on multiple projects at xsite - predominantly new build housing. Outside of work, Jack enjoys travelling, playing football, and watching football matches at the pub with his mates. 

Ella is a Part 1 Architectural Assistant for Spence and Dower. Spence and Dower co-located with xsite back in May of 2019 and Ella works across practices between both xsite and Spence and Dower. Originally from London, Ella moved to Newcastle 4 years ago to study at Newcastle University, her passion for fine art, her creative mindset and her great interest in the build environment led her down the path of Architecture. Ella is currently working on the regeneration of a Grade II listed industrial building in Newcastle. The project is centred around preserving and celebrating the historic fabric of the building whilst fitting it out as a multi-use workspace. Outside of work, Ella coaches younger age groups in hockey after playing the sport for 7 years herself as well as going to gigs and long walks in the countryside.

Lucy, our Business Administrator Apprentice, joined xsite in September and has remained local, originally being from just across the water in Gateshead. Lucy’s initial interest in Business Administration developed when she started sixth form, studying maths and business. After one year, she realised that she had a great interest in the way different businesses worked and that she preferred a more ‘hands on’ approach rather than a traditional learning setting. At xsite, Lucy assists our practice manager day to day, ensuring that our business runs smoothly. Outside of work, Lucy enjoys going shopping and to the pub with her friends as well as taking her two dogs on walks. 

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

PUBLIC CONSULTATION - Graham Park Road, Gosforth

Consultation open until 18th December 2020

If you have any queries, please contact or Helen Marks on 0191 2610300.


1.       Background to the Development

2.       Site

3.       Design Drivers

                  i.       Context

ii.      Landscape Setting

iii.     Scale and Massing

iv.      Environmental

v.    Wellbeing

4.       Development Proposal

i.       Description of Proposal

ii.      Site Access & Parking

iii.     Landscape

iv.      Apartments

v.       Material & Detail

5.       Sketch View of the Proposal

6.    Link to Consultation Survey

          Image 1: Site Location aerial map 

1.  Background to the Development

The Newcastle United Hebrew Congregation (UHC) was established in 1973 and built a Synagogue at Graham Park Road in 1986. A reduction in numbers in the congregation over recent years has seen the UHC determine to sell part of the site while transferring the functions of the Synagogue to the adjacent building, Lionel Jacobson House. A residential scheme was recently proposed by McCarthy & Stone, but the application was later withdrawn and they did not proceed with the land purchase.
LOK Developments Ltd, part of the Morton Group, sees the opportunity for a high-end residential apartment scheme on the site responding to the reported demand for that type
and status of accommodation in this part of Gosforth. A redevelopment to create a return on
site value to the UHC would allow them to proceed with their plans and establishes an
opportunity for LOK to further showcase their ambitions in the residential marketplace and on
sustainability. This opportunity follows the comprehensive transformation of Eagle Star
House at Regent Centre, currently on site , and redevelopment of the former Sanderson Hospital site on Salters Road, both within the same neighbourhood.

2.  Site

The site is located in the Gosforth Conservation Area, at the corner of Graham Park Road and the High Street. It is currently occupied by the synagogue for UHC and a lodge - formerly the gate lodge for Causey House, which is now accessed off Elmfield Road. Lionel Jacobson House occupies the land to the west of the synagogue and is also occupied by UHC. The site is located opposite the Grade II Listed apartment building (39-73 Graham Park Road) on Graham Park Road.

The surrounding landscape includes a large number of mature trees which are visible from the High Street and Graham Park Road. The site boundary is a high level stone wall wrapping east along the High Street, a remnant of the historic boundary to the land around Causey House and incorporating an inter-war gateway. To the south boundary a high level brick wall stands as frontage to Graham Park Road, associated with the Synagogue. The site is accessed off Graham Park Road.

The site is in a highly sustainable location, with excellent provision of shops and services on the High Street in easy walking distance and with bus stops and cycle routes at the site frontage providing sustainable transport routes into the city centre.

Image 2: View of site from High Street (Aug 2020)

Image 3: View of site from High Street (Nov 2020)

Image 4: View of site from Graham Park Road (Aug 2020)

Image 5: View of site from Graham Park Road (Nov 2020)

3. Design Drivers

i.    Context

The character of the new development is to be of contemporary design that reflects the context of the setting, including its Conservation Area status, and responds to the listed post war flats (39-73 Graham Park Road) opposite the site.

The setting of Causey House (non-designated heritage asset), of which the site originally formed part, was largely lost in the early 20th Century when Lionel Jacobson House was built, prior to 1913. The site is now perceived in the Conservation Area as an area enclosed by walls and populated with trees. These key elements will be retained with works to retain the original boundary wall and lodge and the retained tree and landscaping enhancements.

The setting of Lionel Jacobson House (non-designated heritage asset) was formed as a result of the truncation of the Causey House plot. This setting was itself lost and fragmented in the 1980s with the construction of the synagogue and its landscaping, and the setting of Lionel Jacobson House  from outwith the walls only partly remains legible.

There is, therefore, an opportunity to improve the setting of Lionel Jacobson House with a proposed new building which relates to it better than the existing synagogue and provides breathing space to the building.

Any scheme must also consider the significance of the listed post war apartment building (39-73 Graham Park Road) by complementing their scale and character, possibly mirroring and balancing their position in the urban grain on Graham Park to frame a new view within the Conservation Area.

Image 6: Site Analysis
(click on image to enlarge)

Image 7: View into site showing existing relationship between the Synagogue and Lionel Jacobson House

ii.    Landscape Setting

Landscape is a key feature of the site and wider context. Tree cover is an important element of the site, significant in how it is perceived from High Street and Graham Park Road. The well established trees are characteristic of a mature garden setting, while greenery spills over the
boundary and provides relief to views along High Street. The design will maintain tree
coverage to the site boundary and seek to improve and enhance the internal landscape setting around the building.
With the retention and restoration of the historic stone wall to the east boundary, there is an opportunity to open up the southern boundary to Graham Park Road by removing the modern red brick wall in favour of a low level wall and railings, and a further opportunity on the eastern boundary to reinstate a (pedestrian only) gate opening onto High Street next to the lodge.

iii.    Scale and Massing

The predominant scale of surrounding buildings is three storeys. Taking cues from the listed apartment building which is predominantly three storeys but with an end block of four storeys onto the High Street, it is anticipated that the scale of development would be no more than four storeys, with the top storey expressed as part of the roof zone.

Image 8: View of Nos. 39-73 Graham Park Road from High Street

iv.    Environmental

The developer and design team are committed to the reduction of operational energy use, embodied carbon and water use for new buildings. To tackle operational energy use, we advocate a fabric first approach, starting with consideration of the building aspect and orientation to make best use of passive environmental design measures. Reductions in embodied carbon will be sought by means of careful material review and selection and optimised structural solutions. 

v.    Wellbeing

Key to the design will be the quality of housing and outdoor spaces to promote the wellbeing of future residents. The design will seek to create spacious, bright, well ventilated apartments with good outlook and connection to the surrounding landscape, including private open space / balconies where possible. Circulation and landscape spaces will provide opportunity to interact with neighbours and foster a sense of community.  The site presents a real opportunity to contribute to the housing offer in Gosforth.

4. Development Proposal

Based on the design parameters summarised it is considered that the scheme has the potential to deliver up to 24 no. apartments, plus conversion of the lodge building, together with basement parking to maximises the landscaping around the building. 

Image 9: Proposed Site Plan
(click on image to enlarge)

i.    Description of Proposal

Design development to date has resulted in a a four storey C-shaped apartment building, in response to the site context analysis, site constraints and environmental drivers. The building offers a frontage to Graham Park Road, while maintaining the existing tree coverage to boundaries.  A landscaped courtyard opens up the site to the west reducing overlooking to Lionel Jacobson House, creating more visual separation and reinforcing the landscape setting to all sides of the building.

The positioning of the building within the site is also considered to complement that of the listed post war apartment building (39-73 Graham Park Road) opposite, enhancing its setting.

The proposed building form allows the optimising of the orientation of apartments and maximising of passive environmental design measures such as cross ventilation and solar gain. In addition, all apartments have good outook and connection with the surrounding landscape. The form also generates opportunity for articulation of the four storey mass, taking cues from the listed apartment building and houses along Graham Park Road.

Image 10: Proposed Site Section (North - South) 

(click on image to enlarge)

Image 11: Proposed Site Section (East - West)

(click on image to enlarge)

ii.    Site Access & Parking

The existing vehicular site access point on Graham Park Road will be retained and widened, with the security gate to UHC relocated just inside the entrance as part of UHC’s consented works to Lionel Jacobson House (2018/0838/01/DET). 

The existing pedestrian access point on Graham Park Road is to be retained, with the gateway reinstated as part of the works to replace the modern (post 1980) red brick section of wall with a more appropriate low level wall and railings.

It is also proposed to reinstate pedestrian access to the site via the gateway at the corner of Graham Park Road and High Street and in the east boundary next to the lodge.
36no. car parking spaces are proposed to serve the development. It is proposed that the majority of the parking is accommodated in a basement car park accessed via a screened ramp access along the western boundary of the site. A small number of surface car parking spaces would be required within the site, including parking for the Lodge.

Image 12: Building footprint / Landscape / Surface Parking comparison - Existing & Proposed

iii.    Landscape

In addition to the poplars along the northern boundary the site is well populated with existing trees, with a woodland copse appearance evident along the east boundary, and a tree belt evident within a grass verge between existing hardstanding and the boundary wall to the south.
It is the intention to retain these existing trees wherever possible as they provide a mature landscape setting to the proposed building and the existing lodge to the east which is to be retained, although it is acknowledges that a small number will require removal due to the proposals, and assessed condition.
The proposed landscape works associated with the development will respond to these existing features, creating gardens and external areas which can be utilised as both private and community spaces – utilising hard and soft landscape surfaces and structures. The landscaping around the east and south perimeter of the site will complement and reinforce the existing trees to be retained and respect defined root protection areas through avoidance or mitigation (no-dig measures).

Facilities required within the external areas such as parking bays for the lodge, hardstanding associated with parking for the main building and service/ maintenance access, bin stores and cycle parking will be integrated into the overall landscape proposals for the site so the functions, uses and aesthetics of the spaces are integrated. Habitat features will also be proposed throughout the site to create additional biodiversity opportunities, using reclaimed materials from site where practicable.

Communal Area - Courtyard

Communal Area - Links

Communal Area - Lodge Access

Communal Area - Woodland Garden

Private Area - Gardens

Private Area - Lodge

Image 13: Landscape Precedents

iv.    Apartments

The proposed development will provide 24no. apartments in the main building, plus the lodge as a standalone dwelling. The majority are 2-3 bedroom apartments, designed to exceed the nationally described space standard. All apartments will be dual aspect, with direct access to the landscape gardens or a private balcony. 

Image 14: Typical Floor Plan - Apartment Size

v.    Material & Detail

It is envisaged that the building will be constructed predominantly of brick, in keeping with the Gosforth Conservation Area context, making use of brick detailing to create texture and articulation in the facade. 

Image 15: Elevation Study 1

Image 16: Elevation Study 2 

5. Sketch View of the Proposal

Image 17: Sketch View

Monday, 1 April 2019



We have exciting prospective projects on our doorstep in the Ouseburn, across Tyneside and further afield that mean WE ARE RECRUITING NOW!

Are you a 4 years Post Qualification or mid career Architect with excellent design and self starting/organising skills and experience? Are you an experienced Architectural Technologist with a strong design instinct? Do you want to share in the challenge of taking xsite architecture into its next period of growth as a practice? Revit skills are highly desirable but all candidates will be considered on their all round merit. Projects are in the Commercial, Residential and Civic sectors.

We will be taking on up to three architects and technologists who are the right fit over the next two months. To see what we do visit

Initially please email a letter of introduction, stating why you are interested in this position and why you would be an ideal candidate, along with your CV and one or two examples of your work. Please make all documents sensibly sized pdfs and be clear about authorship if it is something you have worked on rather than produced yourself.

Send email to: 
Tim Bailey and Adrian Philpotts 
as soon as possible but no later than 10th April 2019. There will be a second deadline issued but we will be interviewing continuously so do not wait for the deadline.

Any queries about the positions please email and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. 

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Architects move to creative cultural hotspot


Spence & Dower Architects, the long established and hugely well renowned architectural conservation specialists will be moving their offices in early May 2019. Following a recent property investment in the Ouseburn by Spence & Dower Partners, Tina Gough and Colin Haylock, and around 18 months of developing a close working relationship on projects and practice with complementary practice xsite architecture, the award winning practice is going to co-locate into the Ouseburn Valley at xsite’s studio Arch 6 on Stepney Bank.

Co-location brings with it a series of immediate benefits in sharing CPD, back office functions, ancillary space and being able to develop joint projects with efficient working practices and expertise in a wide range of sectors and services. Spence & Dower’s continuing work on several projects with English Heritage, under their Framework Agreement, and Union Chain Bridge crossing the border between England and Scotland sets their stall out as exemplary in their principal field while xsite’s recently completed North East Futures UTC school and Boilershop in the Stephenson Quarter illustrates how complementary good contemporary design can be when set against an existing historic setting.

The two practices are working collaboratively at the moment on several projects across the UK and expect this co-location to bring instant advantage to communication and resourcing of these projects.
For further information contact:
Tina Gough, Spence & Dower, (01661) 820071, 07803 340825
Tim Bailey, xsite architecture, (0191) 287 2161, 0774 0186 716

The new address for Spence & Dower will be: Arch 6, Stepney Bank, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2NP

Photo: Pari Naderi

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!