Something Concrete and Modern Talk – 17th March 2016

James and Rutter will be speaking later this month as part of an evening talk bringing to life the significance of the North East regions Post-War architecture, exploring the importance of the people, politics and buildings (built and unbuilt) that define the region. The talk will cover formation and development of the online archive Something Concrete and Modern as well as discussing the implications of this period on the current and future state of architecture in the region.

The event takes place on the 17th March 2016 from 6.30pm and has been organised by The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) and the North East Civic Trust. It will take place in the Fine Art Lecture Theatre at Newcastle University within the King Edward II Building.

Tickets for the event are available here.

Perspectives on Architecture – RIBA London – October 20th 2015

Join the SC+M team for a free public talk on our research project to document the post-war North East at the RIBA, 66 Portland Place on 20th October 2015. The talk will be hosted by author John Grindrod whos excellent publication Concretopia comes highly reccomended. Also check out his indepth blog – Dirty Modern Scoundrel for all things utopian. To book a seat, please contact Hayley Russell. For more details on the talk go the RIBAs website. The talk runs from 6.15 to 7.15pm hopefully with plenty of time for a good Q+A. Look forward to seeing you there.

Tower Blocks – Our Blocks!

Excellent news last week that the archive from the seminal book and website ‘Tower Block’ has been granted funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Social and architectural historians from Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) will create a publically accessible online catalogue that celebrates Britain’s post-1945 building boom, at a time when many high-rise homes are being demolished. The online archive will contain images of every single multi-storey public housing project ever constructed in Britain. The archive is based on the work from the 1994 publication of Tower Block by Miles Glendenning and Stefan Muthesius which delivered the most comprehensive study of the UK’s post-war high rise reconstruction.

Glentworth Avenue, Beckfield, Middlesbrough

The online archive has existed since 2010 documenting the high rise towers across UK and the North East from Billingham, Gateshead, Stockton, Thornaby, Middlesbrough and Newcastle. The out-of-print publication is also available in pdf if you have time to tackle the immense 447 page catalogue.

Westdale Rd, Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees

The three-year Heritage Lottery-funded project will digitise 3500 images taken in the 1980s and make them fully searchable as part of the Tower Block Slide Archive. As the high rises that once featured throughout the UKs town centres begin to disappear (and make a return in many of the UKs major cities), Tower Block acts as a stark reminder to the many failures of high rise living. The book and archive read like an obituary to the Tower Block.

Peter Yates: Paintings 1939-1982

A new exhibition at the Hatton Gallery has opened earlier this month. ‘Peter Yates: Paintings 1939-1982’ is a retrospective on the work of renowned local architect and painter Peter Yates alongside work of local artists.

Peter Yates was best known as an architect and founding partner of the North East architectural practice Ryder and Yates. But alongside his work as an architect, Peter Yates was also a fanatic painter on canvas and in mural form. Yates work varied from time spent with renowned Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier who remarked – ‘this boy can see things’ to his murals on the history of cinema at the Tyneside Cinema and abstract mythological compositions at Bevin Court, London for Berthold Lubetkin (with whom Yates had earlier worked on the aborted plans for Peterlee New Town).

The exhibition at the Hatton Gallery will showcase an underrepresented aspect of Yates’ creative career by bringing together over forty of his paintings from 1939 to 1980. Many of these works show scenes from his extensive travels – around Greece, France, Spain and Italy– which would also inspire his architectural designs, suggesting that his work as a painter and as an architect was inextricably linked.

Also exhibited alongside Yates paintings is reflective work by local artists John & Karen Topping and David Bilbrough, made in response to his architectural and artistic legacy in the North East. The exibition is free to attend and open 10th January til 9th May 2015. For more information see the Hatton Gallerys website for opening times.

Bevin Court Mural by Peter Yates for Berthold Lubetkin

Bevin Court Mural by Peter Yates for Berthold Lubetkin

MEA House and the former office of Ryder and Yates listed

Great news yesterday that the North East has two new Grade II listed buildings – MEA House, Newcastle and the former office of Ryder and Yates, Killingworth . Both projects the work of local practice Ryder and Yates.

English Heritage described MEA House as:

An office building constructed to house multiple voluntary organisations together in a single building, was constructed in 1972-4 to the designs of Ryder and Yates. The building’s unique and innovative design incorporates a Vierendeel truss structural arrangement that dispenses with the need for columns, instead suspending the building slabs from deep beams in the penthouse and subframes. Ryder and Yates were one of the most important post-war regional firms in England and this building represents their first major building in Newcastle city centre and one of their most prominent works. It is believed to be the first purpose-built building to house multiple community service organisations under a single roof.

Along with Ryder and Yates MEA House, their former office in Killingworth was also listed. Dedicated work from Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust has brough this building to the attention with an ongoing campaign to repair and restore the building back into use. You can give a small donation here towards its preservation. English Heritage descibed the significance of the offices as:

Constructed in 1964-5 is an elegant building with strong architectural character derived by its clean crisp lines and sharp detailing. It was designed by Ryder and Yates, one of the most important post-war regional firms in England and is little altered both externally and internally. Its modernist single-storey pavilion form, which reuses the steel frame of a building Ryder & Yates designed for the 1962 London Olympia exhibition, provides an interesting reflection of the links between modern architecture and exhibition design, as well as showing the influence of Le Corbusier and Lubetkin on Ryder and Yates’ work.

Ryder and Yates Office under construction

Ryder and Yates Office under construction