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JDDK scoops Hadrian's Wall visitor centre contest

Northumberland National Park and the Youth Hostel Association have chosen Jane Darbyshire and David Kendall Architects (JDDK) to design a new visitor centre and youth hostel next to Hadrian’s Wall

The Newcastle-based practice have been appointed to ‘explore initial concepts’ for a £10.5million building - known as The Sill - which will replace the existing 1960s facilities at Once Brewed near Steel Rig.

Expected to create around 60 full-time jobs once up and running, the centre will house affordable accommodation and social spaces ‘for young and old to meet and mix’, as well as educational spaces, a café, shops and rooftop viewing galleries.

The competition-winning scheme will be built from ‘locally sourced materials’, and will feature heather-thatched pitched roofs and whinstone walls.

Tony Gates, chief executive of Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “ The Sill project will place all of Northumberland National Park and the wider landscapes of the North East on the global map for a whole new set of reasons around its unique and magnificent geographic and geological significance.

“The building itself will offer a fantastic educational asset and resource for the North East and UK as a whole, as well as very real gains in terms of attracting visitor numbers and spend, creating new jobs and boosting the local economy.  Our aim is nothing short of transforming how people engage with landscapes.

He added: ‘We are now looking forward to sharing these with the public and inviting them to help us shape and create a truly iconic, world-class visitor experience.’

The development phase of the project has been made possible through funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Over the next 10 months Northumberland National Park will undertake extensive consultation with the local community, gaining their views on the plans and feeding into the design and build process as well as the types of activities they would like to see the facility host, before a final design solution is submitted for Round 2 Heritage Lottery Funding in December 2013.

Northumberland National Park has also appointed Gardiner & Theobald LLP as Project Managers/QS, Halcrow Group Ltd as Building Services and Sustainabilityconsultants and Patrick Parsons as Civil and Structural Engineers.

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