Students' Vision for Park; Academic Exercise Earns Praise

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson Environment Editor? 0191 201 6224 ? tony.henderson@ncjmedia.co.uk

TWO architecture students have been rewarded for winning designs based on two of Northumberland's most historic sites.

The Northumbria University pair took on the challenge of the design brief set by Northumberland National Park in conjunction with award winning Newcastle architects Jane Darbyshire and David Kendall (JDDK).

Students on the university's architecture programme were asked to look at Northumberland National Park's plans for the PS10.5m Sill visitor centre and hostel project near Hadrian's Wall.

An alternative brief asked them to look at designs for a building at Ad Gefrin, the Anglo Saxon palace site of King Edwin near Wooler, also in the National Park.

Student Simon Ward won The Sill site prize for his work based around the language of Hadrian's Wall, while the Ad Gefrin award went to Louisa Heyworth.

The students' design concepts were shortlisted by The Sill's learning and participation officer Georgia Villalobos alongside Ben Elliott, director of architecture at Northumbria University. Alison Thornton-Sykes, principal designer at JDDK, the practice retained by Northumberland National Park to develop the actual design concepts for The Sill, then selected the final two winning designs.

Louisa said: "Winning the award gave me so much confidence as there was some incredible work nominated. It felt great to be recognised for a project that I thoroughly enjoyed. The brief gave us so much scope to explore the sites' history and develop a scheme that was closely linked to the heritage of the area.

Alison said: "There's nothing like hands-on experience and the Sill site presents a really interesting brief for the students to respond to.

"The Once Brewed site where the current YHA youth hostel sits is not a typical location, set in the heart of Hadrian's Wall world heritage site, which is wild and rugged, plus the marrying of accommodation with exhibition and interactive learning facilities requires some consideration. …