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!