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.