The building was planned on two levels to take advantage of the steeply sloping site, thereby allowing an uncluttered showroom to oversail workshops placed underneath. The local planning authority insisted on a two-storey frontage to the Scotswood Road elevation, which this structural arrangement allowed.
The entire frontage of 60 metres was carried on three columns, providing maximum flexibility in the use of the floor space and an uninterrupted glass wall to the car showroom. The upper main structure was interesting in that it consisted of a steel space frame, a relatively new technology in Britain, first explored extensively in the North East. A tapered box was clad on top, with a ceiling beneath, and was supported by stanchions in the office walls. Steel beams carried the flat roof of the central office core and castella beams spanned the north bay, supported in the centre of the building by lattice girders. Above the showroom, these girders were set back from the glass face, while the roof trusses were inclined to impart a larger scale to the street elevation and to include huge advertising banners in the great depth of the roof.
The expression of the structure extended to the gables, whose profile followed the tapering shape of the roof trusses.
The brief for Patterson’s called for a building of striking appearance that would advertise the client. This was duly provided, not only by the flag panels in the main facade, but also by a chimney flue at the front of the showroom clad on all four sides by the Ford logo.
The extended entrance lobby, the only projection on a flat facade, was also covered in the Ford logo printed on Formica panels, in varying sizes and fonts. Internally the logos from the range of Ford cars were used to form in a dramatic mural across the whole back wall of the showroom. Corporate colour limited the mural to black, grey and white, and allowed the widely varying lettering to form a lively background without distracting from the brightly coloured cars.
All images courtesy of Philipson Studios