- Architects: Elliott Architects
- Location: Grey Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
- Architect In Charge: Elliott Architects Ltd: Ben Elliott, David Hunt
- Project Manager: Tom Newman + Nick Montgomery (Schroders) Client Paul Williams (MHBC)
- M+E Engineers: Phil Carter (FHPP)
- Structural Engineers: Juni Gurung (Fairhirsts)
- Client : Tom Newman + Nick Montgomery (Schroders)
- Area: 110.0 m2
- Project Year: 2018
- Photographs: Jill Tate
Text description provided by the architects. The project demonstrates creative reuse of an existing grade II listed building within the historic Grainger Town Conservation Area in Newcastle.
The design intentionally minimises physical and visual impact on the existing fabric of the building and surrounding heritage context. One of the key design concepts was to celebrate the beautiful Grade I listed Theatre Royal directly opposite the site, by creating a deep bronze lining which frames the view as you emerge from the space.
The significance of the existing Grade II listed building and its classical facade informed the design of the new frontage and reception space to Earl Grey House. The design considers the classical proportions, symmetry and order of the Conservation Area and in particular the subtle relief formed in the buildings’ ashlar stonework.
The principle of the design was to create a simple frame in bronzed anodized aluminium which wraps the entrance way, creating a clear and legible entrance, with three portrait-proportioned panels completing the new façade.
This sophisticated and elegant entrance way acts as a wrap and protective ‘shell’, providing a clear threshold to a more lightweight and precious interior. The bronze anodised aluminium material used for the facade offers a rich, contemporary and high quality aesthetic befitting its location on Grey Street with a light, reflective quality adding a diffuse and subtle lustre to complement the surrounding sandstone facades.
This precious finish continues into the interior, drawing the visitor in and creating a balance between inside and out. The interior spills light onto the street, and the single glass entrance creates good visibility between street and reception. Much effort was needed to create a space which seems so minimal, not only were the planning and conservation constraints onerous, but the design needed to evolve once the strip out was complete due to many complications with the existing building.
The scheme provides a contemporary and high quality fit out to Earl Grey House, ensuring that the refurbished office spaces above can be sustained as heritage assets into the future. The project demonstrates a fundamental respect to the conservation area setting, delivering an improved frontage and reception to Earl Grey House in a way which is sensitive to the historically and culturally significant context on Grey Street.
The Scheme is sensitive to the responsibility of designing a scheme on Grey Street, which Pevsner describes as ‘one of the finest streets in England’, and finds a respectful way to add to the layers of history. Newcastle’s planning and conservation teams were very supportive of the scheme, and the project has played a significant role in developing the rich cultural and historic landscape of Newcastle.