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Foster gets in tune with Gateshead

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Foster and Partners has unveiled details of its £60 million Northern Music Centre in Gateshead, possibly one of the last schemes considered for a substantial Arts Council lottery grant. It combines concert halls, a music school, a base for resident music organisations and an information service in a complex of seven buildings beneath a single roof.

It includes: a 1650-seat hall, for non-amplified music; a 400-seat hall, designed for flexibility; a rehearsal hall; the regional music school with practice spaces; and foyers and public spaces. The concert halls sit either side of the rehearsal hall, with the music school below ground. The dramatic roof has been 'shrink-fitted' over the various spaces.

The building makes the most of its dramatic situation on the Tyne, near the new Baltic Flour Mills arts centre and between the existing dramatic Tyne bridges and the forthcoming 'opening eye' Millennium footbridge.

Foster's scheme creates a new square and pathways for the development site within which it sits. With the two major buildings on board plus the new bridge link to Newcastle Quayside the rest of the area will be regenerated with a hotel, cinema and car park.

Consultants include Mott MacDonald (structural and services engineer), Buro Happold (specialist engineer), Theatre Projects Consultants, Arup Acoustics, Davis Langdon & Everest (cost consultant).

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