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Nov 13 2012

Forgotten Spaces

I know Gateshead quite well. It’s a great city. Over the last few decades it’s radically reinvented itself from an important industrial city into a cultural powerhouse. A short walk along the arterial Tyne from the very modern Sage, with its waves of undulating glass, sits the stark Baltic gallery, a recently converted industrial flower mill. Upstream, there’s another mammoth industrial structure that is due a genesis.

Cue MawsonKerr Architects from Newcastle.

Every year the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) launch a fantastic competition that invites architects, designers and others to imagine how forgotten city spaces can be rejuvenated. Will Mawson and Daniel Kerr envisage converting the Dunston Staithes, which is a historic coal dock, into a golf range, thus saving the iconic wooden structure from rot and ruin.

My kind of solution! Not only do I enjoy a trip to the driving range, occasionally with my colleague James, but I also look for an ecological benefit in every good architectural design. Apart from benefiting the human ecology by saving a much loved and iconic industrial structure that is close to local people’s hearts, each golf ball that is driven into the Tyne will slowly dissolve into fish food, helping to sustain the ever increasing health of the river.

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