Monday 19 December 2016

xsite Architecture and PlanBEE

Maddy’s mug shot

xsite Architecture joined up with a number of other private sector practices and Gateshead College to create an alternative route into the construction industry- PlanBEE. The course is structured so that each student has the opportunity to work in each sector on rotation, for the duration of the course. A PlanBEE student's time is predominantly spent in the workplace, with 1 day a week in college, meaning that much of their learning is office based.

As a practice we strongly believe that PlanBEE offers a great alternative route into the construction industry. It provides a very unique opportunity for students to experience the different sectors within the industry ensuring that, upon completion of the course, they are able to make an informed decision as to which sector they wish to work in. We also believe that it offers a viable and practical solution for those who wish to earn whilst they study.

Our first PlanBEE student- Madeleine, joined us back in October. She has fitted straight into practice life and we are very much enjoying having her as a member of the team.

Below is a short Q&A we did with Maddy over a cuppa....

Where do you come from?
I come from a small village called Elwick, not far from Durham.

What did you study at A Level?
For my A levels I studied Maths, Business Studies along with Product Design (D&T) at Yarm School Sixth Form.

Had you had any prior experience within the construction industry before you enrolled onto PlanBEE?
During the summer holidays last year I took the opportunity to do 3 weeks work experience at a civil engineering firm where I got the chance to see a residential project being built on site. I have always had a passion for design and architecture and I based my A level Product Design projects on architecture.

Why did you choose PlanBEE over a more traditional course?
I chose PlanBEE because I think it is a unique and very beneficial opportunity to begin my career in the construction industry. I was attracted to PlanBEE because of the opportunities to experience lots of different aspects of the construction industry as well as being able to gain valuable skills along the way.

What do you think are good skills or traits to have as a PlanBEE student?
From subjects I studied at A level, I have developed the creative, analytical and logical aspects of my skill set. During that time I volunteered as a helper at a local prep school as well as competing in the Yarm School Apprentice Competition. Both the volunteer work and the competition helped me develop my problem solving, negotiating and team work skills- skills that have helped me in the PlanBEE programme so far.

When you enrolled on the PlanBEE course was there a sector that you were most excited to gain experience in?
Before I joined PlanBEE I had received university offers to study Architecture. However coming on to this course I am looking forward to gaining exposure in more areas than just architecture. I think it will be beneficial for me to keep an open mind and explore and experience each of the sectors.

What have you enjoyed/learned from your time at xsite Architecture?
Currently at xsite I am working on a residential project- Stephenson House, building a 3D model in Revit. This has involved importing a 2D model in from AutoCAD. I am really enjoying learning the different skills and tools used in Revit to produce 3D models and I am looking forward to improving my BIM skills. In addition I have learnt a lot about the different stages a project goes through as well as what the role of the architect is.

What are you interests outside of the course?
Outside of the course I enjoy playing sports such as Tennis and Hockey. I also enjoy walking my dogs in the country side, visiting new places, spending time with friends and family and I am also passionate about photography.

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

Thursday 17 November 2016

The Dengineers

CBBC's Dengineers is back on this weekend with a Children in Need special. Maral from our office has been involved as one of the designers for this great programme and has worked on dens for two episodes in the series. Maral's first episode is coming up in a few weeks time, but in the meantime check out the first episode of this fun show, produced by a great team, on CBBC this Saturday 19th November at 8:30am or on BBC iPlayer.

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Happy Birthday to Us!!

Today at xsite architecture we are celebrating our 16th Birthday!
Here's a look back at some images from our projects over the years.

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Goodbye, Hello...

This month at xsite architecture we have said goodbye to our wonderful 2015-16 Part I Architecture year out students- Justina and Rob. Both are set to undertake Part II Architecture courses at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow and Newcastle University respectively.

Their leaving did however create two Part I spaces within the xsite team which have been filled by two enthusiastic, fresh faced 2016 graduates- Alice, a former Mac, Glasgow student and Caitlin, who studied at Newcastle University.

For the first time in xsite architecture’s history we have taken on a year out architectural technologist student. Emily, who has completed 2 years at Northumbria University, joins the team for a year-long placement before returning to university where she will complete the final year of her degree.

Take a look at the People section on our website for a brief bio of our new members.

Friday 10 June 2016

Newbiggin - Windsor View Show Home VIP Launch

Last night saw the launch of The Matfen Show Home for Arch Developments Ascent Homes at Newbiggin by the Sea, Northumberland.

The development consists of 24 homes with a mix of 2, 3 and 4 bedroom properties.  Spacious, high ceiling living spaces planned to take advantage of the exceptional coastal views make this a unique offer at Newbiggin.

The show home opens to the public this Saturday, 11th July at 10am but below are some sneak preview shots from the VIP launch.

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Late Shows 2016

Last weekend we were at the Late Shows again, down the road at the Toffee Factory...

‘TF Ear Piece’ was commissioned as an installation to compliment the DJ soundscape beneath Glasshouse Bridge over the two evenings. Experimenting was the word, as we threw ourselves, pencils and toolboxes at the challenge. Built on the lawn outside the office, we gave a new lease of life to the frame which had its last outing as part of the Tyne Salmon Trail in 2007. Being outside in the valley to build it was a treat in the week running up to the event - especially talking to the Ouseburn passers-by who had some interesting interpretations of what it might be.

Nine sound-catchers were aimed towards the DJ speakers and joined by a ‘periscope listener’ for catching sounds around the valley. We also put our own take on the ‘tin can telephone’, which seemed to be a winner with the kids.

Thanks to everyone who came down for a listen!

Monday 18 April 2016


Friday night saw the annual RICS North East Awards event at Newcastle Civic Centre. We were shortlisted for the Maling Exchange project along the road at Hoults Yard, in the Conservation and Commercial Project categories. 

To our slight surprise and considerable pleasure we were announced as winners in both!
Deserved recognition for everyone who worked on a project which blended sensitive refurbishment with a bit of design attitude and which is nearing full occupation less than 9 months after completion. Another successful workplace project for the xsite team. 

You can see details of the full list of winners at the Chronicle article here


Tuesday 15 March 2016

CQ Inn Emerges

The Commissioner's Quay Inn, Blyth, is taking shape, with the scaffolding due to come down in 2 weeks time.  This is an exciting phase as the final material finishes are applied and the finished article begins to emerge from the cocoon of scaffolding and hoarding!  The construction works on this 40-bed hotel and 250 seat bar and restaurant are due to complete this June, with the hotel launching in August ahead of the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta, Blyth (August 26-29).