Wednesday 19 December 2012

Highlights of 2012

Today's xsite is Anna...

So we are coming to the end of another busy year here at xsite. We have seen a few projects come to completion, more start, some new faces and a whole new venue open...

There was a little bit of a coffee theme to start the year with the completion of 9Bar cafe on Grey Street, part of the Theatre Royal; and the opening of the Ouseburn Coffee Company roastery within our own Foundry Lane Studios. If you haven’t investigated either of them yet you are missing out.

It was a busy year for awards with the Toffee Factory scooping lots of prestigious prizes including The RIBA Award 2012, North East Sustainable Building and North East Project of the Year 2012, RICS Best Commercial Building and Project of the Year 2012, RTPI Regional Award Winner 2012.

The Fabrick Housing Offices came to completion in September; an office fit out for the social housing provider in Middlehaven, Middlesbrough, full of honey pots, upturned boats, beach huts and copper tea sheds. We’re very proud of how it has turned out.

Small fit out projects at The Cycle Hub on the Quayside and Poetic Gem in Hoults Yard both opened. Ouse Street Arts Club, our meanwhile project in 2 shipping containers, in the Lower Ouseburn finally opened. It provides creative event space in the valley and has so far been part of the Late Shows and Ouseburn Open Studios, as well as hosting some supperclubs, our Summer School crits, exhibitions and a cinema. We have launched the Ouseburn Social this year too so watch this space for future events throughout 2013.

On site we have more to look forward to throughout 2013, with work due to finish at Dovecot Street creative offices in January, the Palace Hub in Redcar completing in February, Green Lane student accommodation in Durham completing in July. Work continues at Rivers House office fit out and Planning has just been granted for another student accommodation scheme at Ainsley Street in Durham. Work is also starting on a planning application for a new incubator workspace in Middlesbrough.

Thanks to everyone we have collaborated with this year, here’s to more of the same for 2013...

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Open Studios 2012 as it happened...

Today's xsite is Anna...

Open studios has been and gone for another year and we for one had a brilliant time. We were open at Ouse Street Arts Club for the first time, instead of Foundry Lane Studios, and received about 750 visitors over the course of the weekend. A lot when you think that the space only holds about 30 people!

The work on show in our art-mini-mart looked amazing and the pocket cinema worked brilliantly with people hanging around to watch whole films. Our little wood burner kept us warm all weekend and made sure all visitors left with a slight wood smoke aroma!

Our new venue was incredibly well received and we look forward to a full programme of events over the next year. To keep up to date with what is going on you can check out the wordpress site here. Or get in touch if you are interested in using the space via

Friday 16 November 2012

Ouseburn Open Studios 2012

Today's xsite is Anna...

We're taking part in the Ouseburn Open Studios again this year, but instead of opening Foundry Lane Studios we will be at the newly complete Ouse Street Arts Club.

Ouse Street Arts Club is our brand new creative venue occupying two converted shipping containers in the Lower Ouseburn on Ouse Street, tucked in next to the Victoria Tunnel entrance. For the ever busy Ouseburn Open Studios we are putting on an ‘Art-Mini-Mart’ with amazing stuff to see and buy from the likes of Prefab, Amy Dover, Muro Buro, Jill Tate, Laura Sheldon and Bubblegum Vegas

Come along and visit our ‘Pocket Cinema’ with an array of short films being shown all weekend... There will be music, food from The Grazer Supperclub and drinks including the finest indie coffee from Ouseburn Coffee Company for you to enjoy around our hand built woodburner keeping us all warm!

Prefab have prints for sale framed and unframed, Amy Dover has beautiful illustrations, cards and ceramics for sale and Jill Tate will be selling her photography as cards and prints. Muro Buro has amazing ‘skull’ prints in gold silver and bronze... Laura Sheldon has prints, t-shirts, cards, badge/sticker packs and ceramic decals for sale too, as well as jewellery from Bubblegum Vegas.

We'll be hanging out there all weekend, so pop down and say hi, have a look our new space, have some lunch and buy some Christmas presents...

As well as ourselves Mushroom Works, Northern Print, 36 Lime Street, The Biscuit Factory, Biscuit Tin Studios and Colbalt Studios will be open all weekend, as well as the Toffee Factory who are playing host to the British by Design pop-up shop. A free shuttle bus will be running between all of the venues as well as to the Baltic and the Sage.

Wednesday 7 November 2012


Today's xsite is Adrian...

Pop-ups and pallets, restaurants in car parks  and artists on the high street, the themes of temporary adaption, retrofit and make-do-and-mend were on the rise in design before the recession but have become something of an imperative over the last 4 years. 

The disciplines of architecture and urbanism are no exception, where the retreat of development funding, plummeting values and surplus floorspace have provided a challenge to communities, property owners and designers alike.

Over the last couple of years xsite have been involved in a number of temporary and ‘meanwhile use’ projects, applying a shift in thinking to a more DIY mentality, as part of what can be seen as an 'incremental' approach to development and regeneration.

Pallet ‘Micro Offices’ were designed and constructed as a temporary means to exploit an unlet 1,800sqft floorplate at BOHO 1 in Middlesbrough. Fully occupied by individuals and micro businesses from the off, they were recently dismantled to allow a more conventional let to re-occupy the space.

The Cycle Hub, a social enterprise  set up to provide a physical focus  for cyclists and cycle culture on Tyneside has taken a temporary lease on the former Regeneration Centre building on Newcastle’s Quayside. xsite worked with the tightest of budgets to reinvent the building’s function space to house a thriving cafe, bike shop and workshop.

Ouse Street Arts Club is a self-developed and self-built space, a curated venue based in converted shipping containers in Newcastle’s Lower Ouseburn Valley. Conceived as a stop-gap use for a derelict, future development site the evolving space is a focal point for a range of events and creative activity and is an advanced bridgehead in the regeneration of the area.

In each case the ‘Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper’ thinking these projects utilise helps unlock economic, social and creative value which might otherwise sit behind a ‘to let’ sign, while also priming them for the next phase of an evolving development story.  

Thursday 25 October 2012

Redcar Hub Update

Today's xsite is Nita...

It’s been a while since our last post on this- and a lot has happened! The distinctive purple wavy glass is on and looking good, blue courtyard glazing finished and profiled metal cladding to the sides and rear of the building finished. The internals are also starting to take shape, with most of the internal partitions now in place. The Palace Hub (as it’s now known) is due for completion in early December. We’re looking forward to seeing the finishing touches in the next few weeks- especially the ETFE roof in the courtyard. 

Thursday 11 October 2012

New Faces

Today's xsite is Anna...

We have two new faces here at xsite, Jennie and Richard joined us during the summer so we thought it was about time they introduced themselves. I asked them a little bit about themselves...

Jennie has just completed her Part II at Newcastle University and is now also involved in teaching there. She is originally from Winchester, Hampshire and has now settled here with husband Stu. She is partial to folk music, comedy and action films and walking; she also likes spending time with her huge extended family and is a keen photographer.

Richard is a a Part I Architectural Assistant (and had a lot to say) who graduated from Newcastle University in July 2012, and is currently shortlisted for the Bronze Presidents Medal... He comes from an arty background having studied it at A-Level and Foundation Level, but went on to architecture in the end. A proud 'Yorkshire Lad' and supporter of Huddersfield Town, he has also revealed that he is a Star Wars geek, a massive dubstep fan known for his dancing skills on a night out (we're going to have to investigate that further) and a massive guilty George Michael fan...

So now you know...

Monday 24 September 2012

Digital City on Dovecot Street

Today's xsite is Rowena...

Stockton Borough Council’s new ‘Digital City’ on Dovecot Street in Stockton is now underway.  The new networking and office space along with fold down hot desks and fold out slim offices will be housed in a Grade II * listed former Quaker Meeting House. 

The building has undergone some un-sympathetic internal refurbishment works in the past, which have now been stripped out to open up the internal space, revealing the high ceilings and original roof trusses previously hidden behind suspended ceilings. This has vastly improved the quality of the space already.

The proposed scheme retains and refurbishes with traditional methods the fabric of the building whilst providing a modern, contemporary, flexible space internally.

The project is due for completion mid January 2013.

Monday 17 September 2012

Completed Fabrick Offices Photos

Today's xsite is Robin ...

Photographs of the completed scheme taken by Jill Tate, click any of the images to enlarge.