Tyne and Wear
Architecture, Regeneration, Intellectual life
The banks of the Tyne between Newcastle and Gateshead tell a story of industry and regeneration. For hundreds of years, heavy controls imposed by the guilds of Newcastle, meant this was the only part of the Tyne where ships could load and unload, as evidenced by the great warehouses that still survive. Post-industrial decline seemed to blight the area but today it stands as a world renowned symbol of cultural regeneration.
A strong focus on redevelopment throughout the 1990s and beyond saw the creation of major new attractions and hotels as well as the skilful renovation of historic properties. From the conservation of historic buildings such as Bessie Surtees House, to the redevelopment of the former flour mill into the BALTIC contemporary art venue, to the construction of the visually stunning Sage Gateshead concert hall, the blend of historic properties with dramatic new architecture has skilfully positioned the riverside as one of the places to visit in the UK.
The creation of new arts venues played a particular role in this riverside rejuvenation and three venues deserve particular mention:
The Side Gallery. Home to the Amber collective a group of artists whose work is rooted in social documentary. Their outstanding body of work has captured the reality of the changing world of the late 20th and early 21stcenturies in the North East.
BALTIC: The biggest gallery in the world if its kind, since opening in 2002 in a former flour mill this contemporary art gallery has created an international reputation for its work, culminating in it becoming the first gallery outside the Tate to host the prestigious Turner Art prize, to great acclaim.
The Sage Gateshead: The curves of this distinctive glass and steel of Foster and Partners’ dedicated concert venue reflects the curves of the adjacent Tyne bridges. In the nine years since its opening it has captured the attention of the world regularly hosting international concerts and conferences.