Sandwiched in between Central Station and the River Tyne, Stephenson Quarter is a major mixed- use scheme, built on the site of the Robert Stephenson & Co. Locomotive Works. Since the decline of industry in the North East, the site was left to deteriorate for decades. This blog post will focus on Clouston Group’s vision and urban design strategies for the Stephenson Quarter regeneration.
The masterplan and project development demonstrate careful consideration of the sites historical importance, from industrial heritage to ancient archeology (1). The site is a Conservation Area and the development aims to build on its cultural and historical significance by referencing Stephenson’s Rocket in the naming of one of the new buildings on-site.
The Meteor is one of the proposed new buildings for Stephenson Quarter, and is a 60,000 sq ft Grade A studio-office for tech and creative businesses. Rocket is another measuring 35,000 sq ft of Grade A office space. Crowne Plaza is an award winning hotel (2). Furthermore, the Boiler Shop is a Grade II* listed building, restored by Clouston Group in 2016, which is an event space for a wide range of functions, from live performances, club nights and exhibitions, to food and drink festivals. Boiler Shop is a venue for a broad spectrum of cultural uses (3). Finally, Stephenson Quarter is home to the North East Futures University Technical College, which specialises in IT and Health Science courses for 14-19 year olds.
I find the development of Stephenson Quarter to be quite exciting, given its close proximity to the city centre, its combination of natural barriers (River Tyne) and man-made (railway tracks and Central Station). Nevertheless, the site offers so much in terms of history, culture and heritage. It is already a site with a strong identity. The Central Station is a significant barrier however, and it is interesting to see how the development aims to open up the South (currently underdeveloped and forgotten about) side of the station.