Our director Karen Nairstone was honoured to be part of the judging panel for this year’s RIBA North East Awards. 11 stunning projects  made the shortlist stretching from Hexham down to Middlesbrough. Having shortlisted from 23 entries, over the coming weeks the RIBA judging panel will be visiting a range of high quality buildings right across the North East; from the first phase of the redevelopment of the Commissioner’s Quay site Blyth Workspace to the new Ashington Community & Leisure Centre which forms the centre piece of Ashington town centre’s strategic regeneration.

The shortlist as seen above :

1. Acomb High house – Mosedale Gillatt Architects
2. Ashington Community and Leisure Centre – Ryder Architecture, image Kristen McCluskie
3. Blyth Workspace – xsite architecture LLP, image Jill Tate
4. Boho 5 – xsite architecture LLP, image Jill Tate
5. Crook Hall Visitor Centre – Elliott Architects, image Steve Mayes
6. Durham Community Fire Station – Napper Architects Ltd, image Alan Rees
7. Edge Hill – Sutherland Hussey Harris
8. Felton Park Glasshouse and Potting Shed – Spence and Dower LLP
9. Gibside Carriage House Café – Elliott Architects
10. Hebburn Central – FaulknerBrowns Architects, image Hufton Crow
11. The Paise – Newton Architects

As well as the prestigious Building of the Year Award, the shortlist will also produce a Small Project of the Year Award for those projects costing less than £500,000. North East based practices, Mosedale Gillatt Architects, Spence and Dower, and Elliott Architects are vying for this prize. With entries ranging from Felton Park Glasshouse a rare 1830 building and contemporary Potting Shed (both Listed Grade II*) to Acomb High House in Northumberland, a Grade II listed building which also sits within the local Conservation Area.

Alongside these practices is Edinburgh based practice Sutherland Hussey Harris with their scheme Edge Hill, a private family home set in a deep linear plot at the periphery of the Darras Hall Estate in Ponteland.

The RIBA North East award winners will be announced on Friday 22 April 2016. Design Event wish all the shortlisted practices the best of luck!

Harvest is Ouseburn Coffee Company’s canteen and coffee house.

The interior was developed in house and echoes the classic elements of the OCC brand – with a fresh, simple and classic design.

The Ouseburn Coffee team wanted a domestic and personal feel to the space – reminiscent of a family kitchen, and aimed to create a neighbourhood space that was spacious and calm and invited people to stay longer.

The large windows flood the space with light, emphasised further by the white walls and floor. This expanse of white is contrasted by the central kitchen and island, made from reclaimed dark wood paneling form a local school, square edged steel supports and black laminate ply worktops. The main island is slightly lower than standard specifications to be reminiscent of gathering round a kitchen table.

This simplicity of materials and focus on functionality is echoed in the kitchenware that includes natural string bags to hold fruit, stoneware and bamboo vessels and wire baskets for bread. The perfect partner to their freshly roasted coffee packaged in kraft paper bags with typographic labels.

Harvest Canteen

91 St Georges Terrace, Jesmond, Newcastle NE2


Bierrex smoke and tap house is the first in our series highlighting well designed spaces, and the latest Newcastle offering from the De Giorgi family. As to be expected, Bierrex lives up to the excellent design of their other establishments including Alvinos, Secco, intermezzo, Popolo, Paradiso, 9Bar Coffee and dAt bAr.
Formerly Popolo Bar, the space has been totally redesigned by Joe De Giorgi who collaborated with Xsite architecture, Dirty hands Co, and RASKL design studio to create a truly bespoke interior.
As you enter Bierrex your eye is immediately drawn to the central bar, produced by RASKL design studio and crafted from Siberian larch and black Valchromat. At the centre of the bar is an ‘Altar of Beer’, featuring 30 craft beers on tap.

‘The site is a corner site and therefore has lots of natural light and we wanted to capitalise on this and use light natural materials’ said Joe. ‘We wanted a contrast to the dark colours used in most bars and to echo the craft and artisan elements of the beers and menu to create symbiosis across all elements of the venue and ensure we were offering the right food in the right space.’

Inspiration for the project came from a visit to Torst bar in New York. ‘The mix of white marble, wood and brass, and both new and reclaimed materials worked so well in the space’ states Joe.

‘Our aim with Bierrex was minimal interference with the beer, food and materials to create a holistic experience.’

This use of natural materials is evident in the warm wood tones of the Siberian larch bar which are echoed in the parquet flooring, tapered table bases and slatted curved benches also made by RASKL design studio. ‘RASKL have a very unique approach and are really passionate about new materials, innovations and construction techniques. We have the same vocab for discussing design ideas and they’re a pleasure to work with’.

These craft elements, are complimented by strong graphic details including signage and large wall murals,– thanks to Dirty Hands Co.

‘Dirty Hands Co have worked all over the world and bring a wealth of new ideas to every project they work on. This is the third venue we’ve collaborated on with them and they’re always great to work with.’

The light and airy feel of the bar upstairs is contrasted by the Poison Cabinet basement bar below. The basement bar features black valchromat furniture throughout with subtle larch detailing and mock cleavers for door handles in polished stainless steel.

‘We have so much home grown talent here in the North East that are now working all over the world, so it’s great to be working with them on local projects and great to be able to see them enjoying the bar afterwards!

Bierrex smoke and tap house, 82 Pilgrim street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6JN