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FaulknerBrowns wins approval for controversial Newcastle Civic Centre refurb

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FaulknerBrowns Artchiects has received planning approval for a multi-million pound refurbishment of George Kenyon’s 1969 Grade II*-listed Newcastle Civic Centre

In September, heritage group The Twentieth Century Society objected in the ‘strongest possible terms’ to the ‘short-sighted and overpowering redevelopment’ at what it said was one of the country’s most important pieces of post-war civic architecture.

The society was particularly concerned by what it claimed were ‘hugely detrimental’ proposals, to glaze and infill the ground-floor colonnade to create a new entrance and the construction of meeting pods and a café.

However, Newcastle City Council’s planning committee agreed with its officers’ recommendations and gave the scheme the go-ahead last month.

Responding to the approval, Nick Heyward, project director at FaulknerBrowns, said: ‘Our proposals for Newcastle Civic Centre were developed in response to the council’s aspiration to protect, preserve and enhance their unique heritage asset, extending its use as a civic facility and improving its environmental performance.’

The proposal includes a redistribution of council services to promote efficiency and consolidation. This will allow space for HM Courts and Tribunal Service to occupy areas of the Civic Centre, optimising building use and generating income for Newcastle City Council.

Within the proposals are plans to glaze and infill the ground-floor colonnade of the centre, criticised as ‘hugely detrimental’ by The Twentieth Century Society. FaulknerBrowns has said the new entrance would resolve problems of circulation and security, and positively promote the council to the city.

Heyward added: ‘Having received planning permission, we now look forward to ensuring the Civic Centre’s intended use is retained and that the significant listed features that make the building an icon of public services within the city, are preserved.’

Crop of newcastle civic centre riba

Newcastle civic centre RIBA


Project Data:

Location – Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Type of project – Civic Centre Refurbishment
Client – Newcastle City Council
Architect – FaulknerBrowns Architects
Project management - Aura
Structural engineer - WSP
M&E consultant - Desco
Cost management – Turner & Townsend

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