Live Theatre’s new quayside development in Newcastle upon Tyne has begun work on site. The ambitous cultural development, designed by Flanagan Lawrence, creates an outdoor performance space for Live Theatre and transforms an existing 19th-century alms house into a children and young people’s writing centre. In addition, the scheme creates a new public park and a commercial office building along the quayside frontage.
LiveWorks is a new £10 million capital scheme by Live Theatre, who purchased the quayside frontage and adjacent buildings in February 2014. Live Theatre was granted planning consent and listed building consent for the development by unanimous decision at a Newcastle City Council Planning Committee in June 2014. Constrution began in December 2014.
The proposals have been praised in terms of their urban benefits, highlighting the sensitivity of the architectural design and its response to its urban context, significantly enlivening the setting to the historic almshouses.
The scheme features several outdoor spaces, providing break-out areas with views of All Saint’s Church and the suite of alms houses adjoining the site to the north; in addition, the project offers views of the Sage Gateshead, the River and the Tyne and Gateshead Millennium Bridges to the south.
The Quayside frontage is sandstone clad for three storeys with a recessed mansard level above. At ground level the end bay provides an entrance into the courtyard via a colonnade abutting the historic Trinity Chare.
Within the newly widened Chare the building steps back to open up toward the Listed Almshouse and the public courtyard space behind. The courtyard frontages are brick clad, matching the stone front / brick rear dialogue prevalent in the locality. The arrangement and articulation of openings on these elevations are more varied and informal, reflecting the additive nature of the development of the existing courtyard frontages.
The purchase of the land and buildings and the development of the site has been supported by a £2.5 million grant from the North East European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme 2007 to 2013 and a preferential loan of £6 million from Newcastle City Council. Fundraising is continuing with grants from The Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, the Gillian Dickinson Trust, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Monument Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Sir James Knott Trust, the Social Investment Business and the Wolfson Foundation already secured. The project has also secured a loan facility of up to £2million from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.