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Gateway to pleasure

NORTH EAST

Reid Architecture's new 'urban entertainment' centre, The Gate, has been influenced by various leisure centres from around the world

The Mayfair was a Newcastle city centre institution. A tatty nightclub venue malleable enough to host anything from wedding receptions to tea dances to Rocky Horror and Goth theme nights; it was deeply mourned when it was demolished five years ago. Its replacement, the £70 million 'The Gate', which opens in December 2002, has made better use of the site and adjoining land, providing a 20,000m 2centre of 'urban entertainment'.

Designed by Reid Architecture, the new building has been influenced by leisure complexes from as far afield as Los Angeles and Melbourne, and includes a 12-screen cinema, Sky Bar, sports facilities, restaurants and retail units under cover of a 24m-high atrium roof. The architect has worked closely with BDP Lighting to create a sophisticated lighting concept which 'will enhance the architecture both internally and externally by adopting a theatrical approach to design'. Dramatic coloured lighting will be supplemented by moving graphics and media projections with a soundtrack which will create a rapidly changing streetscape.

The public face of the building will be an 18m-high structural glazing system which will give unobstructed views at a major road bend. This glazing (8mm clear Securit low ecoating heat-soaked toughened [HST] outer glazing; 12mm air space and14.8mm laminated Securit clear HST inner leaf ) is supported on full-height 900mm x 12/15/12-thick laminated glass fins at 2.2m centres.

The in situ concrete frame has been built off secant piling along the boundary line.

(Secant piles are constructed so that there is an intersection of one pile with another).

High floor to floor levels have been designed to facilitate mezzanines in each trading unit, thus the building has only three storeys instead of the possible seven, although the high occupancy rates are three to four times higher than equivalent retail buildings. This, says the architect, 'has big implications on vertical circulation and impacts net to gross'.

CREDITS

ARCHITECT Reid Architecture

MAIN CONTRACTOR Sir Robert McAlpine

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER Waterman BBT M&E Waterman Gore

QUANTITY SURVEYOR Gardiner & Theobald

LIGHTING BDP Lighting

ACOUSTIC CONSULTANT Hann Tucker Associates

SUBCONTRACTORS Otis

PLANNING SUPERVISOR AIMSPEC PROJECT MANAGER Land Securities Property

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