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JDDK wins £4m Byker Estate revamp contest

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JDDK Architects is to carry out a major public realm overhaul of the Grade II*-listed Byker Estate in Newcastle Upon Tyne

The Newcastle firm defeated rival bids by London-based Levitt Bernstein, Gillespies and McGuirk Watson Architecture, and Newcastle’s ID Partnership and TGP to win the estimated £160,000-to-£200,000 commission.

JDDK will now work with the Byker Community Trust to devise a programme of environmental improvements for the entire 1,800-unit estate, which was designed by Ralph Erskine and constructed between 1969 and 1982.

View the Byker Estate in the AJ Buildings Library

The project, planned to complete in 2020, will upgrade car parking; improve signage, public entrances and landscaping; repair original road surfaces and brickwork; upgrade bin stores; install solar panels; restore communal hobby rooms and play areas; and replace flower beds and hedges.

Byker Community Trust chief executive Jill Haley said: ‘We’ve appointed JDDK Architects after a comprehensive tendering process that saw six shortlisted design teams invited to submit tender proposals including recommendations for a pilot area which reflected the environmental challenges Byker faces.

‘The six design teams were given the opportunity to meet a steering group of Byker residents who were able to give invaluable insight on the environmental issues affecting the estate and their preferred options to resolve these.

‘JDDK’s experience in consultation exercises and their understanding of the Grade II*-listed estate were obviously important factors in their appointment and we look forward to working closely with them on the design and implementation of this exciting project.’

JDDK Architects director Nicky Watson said: ‘We’re obviously delighted to have been appointed and to be returning to work in the Byker Estate, an environment we’re very familiar with having worked on the refurbishment of some of the original “Hobby Rooms” into modern living spaces in 2015.

‘In addition, Gerry Kemp, consultant to our landscape architect partners, Glenkemp, actually worked with Ralph Erskine on the original scheme in the late 1970’s and was one of the co-authors of “A Byker Future”. The Conservation Plan for the Byker Redevelopment.’

Watson continued: ‘Our designs for the pilot area, which we developed after consulting with the tenants’ steering group, concentrate on the external landscaping, providing options for cohesive fencing to gardens, communal bin stores to accommodate new larger bins, the creation of more private streets, new wildflower areas, new boundary hedges and tree planting, new seating and play areas and the creation of hard landscaped areas as communal meeting places.

‘The designs also include refurbishing steps with handrails and buggy ramps and the increase of parking provision closer to dwellings.’

The Byker Estate replaced a large area of Victorian slum terraced housing east of the Ouseburn Valley close to the centre of Newcastle. The 80ha, mostly low-rise development includes an unbroken block of 620 maisonettes known as the Byker Wall.

A major £210 million overhaul of the estate was completed 11 years ago. Byker Community Trust took ownership of the development seven years ago following a stock transfer from Newcastle City Council.

The latest project will include public-realm enhancements, new CCTV, landscaping, planting and lighting, safe play areas and an exercise trail.

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