The new Heritage Centre is a part of the wider Land of Oak & Iron project by Groundwork North East & Cumbria which explores and celebrates industrial, cultural and national heritage of the Derwent Valley and the surrounding area.
The water wheel shaped design concept by Matthew Glover was inspired by the revolutionary iron works at ‘Old’ Winlaton Mill. This concept was chosen by local residents following a competition involving 35 post-graduate architecture students from Northumbria University.
The combination of reclaimed ground and surface water flood risk created a particular challenge in relation to the below groundwork. The selected solution was an in-situ reinforced concrete raft slab foundation laid on compacted granular base over the existing clay capping layer.
Modern Methods of Construction were employed utilising steel frame in combination with insulated timber frame panels and timber ‘warm roof’ construction. Untreated Western Red Cedar external cladding, aluminium framed double glazed unites, green roof and rusted mild steel fins/paddles form the building envelope.
The Heritage Centre puts local communities at the heart of the project, using local produce in the shop and the café, providing space for local businesses in the creative industries, and has become a heritage skills hub. Employment has been secured for 15 local people which is significantly above the number of roles originally expected and additional recruitment is ongoing.
Chartered Member Barry Ashley is the Gateshead Council Building Control Technical Manager. Mr Ashley and his colleagues from the council’s Building Control team were engaged from the early design stages to completion to ensure compliance on this challenging new build project.