Two architecture students have won a coveted prize for their response to a high profile design brief set by Northumberland National Park.
Students on Northumbria University’s architecture programme were asked to respond to an adapted version of the original design brief for the £10.5m Sill project.
An alternative brief asked them to look at designs for a building at Ad Gefrin, near Kirknewton, also within Northumberland National Park.
Simon Ward won The Sill Site Prize for his work based around the language of the Roman wall, whilst the Alternative Site Prize went to Louisa Heyworth for her historically-informed architectural designs at Ad Gefrin.
Alison Thornton-Sykes, principal designer at JDDK, the practice retained by Northumberland National Park to develop the actual design concepts for The Sill, 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. Working on this brief gave me the opportunity to learn valuable new skills and techniques which will be useful in my future architecture career.”
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.
“Both students created a strong concept rigorously carried through from their historic and site analysis to their designs. As a result, the designs respond well to their sites and demonstrate a good understanding of the brief and an appropriate use of materials.”
In reality, the actual Sill building is currently in the development phase, following public consultation on designs by JDDK which are now being prepared for submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund with the aim of securing an additional £3m funding
The Sill will replace the existing 1960s visitor centre and Youth Hostel at Once Brewed, near Hadrian’s Wall.