Byker Hobby Rooms , Newcastle

The scheme follows an in depth feasibility study conducted by the practice leading to the development of strategic proposals after consultation with the local community.

JDDK Director and Project Architect, Nicky Watson, explained, “Whilst the Byker Wall of apartments is the most famous part of Ralph Erskine’s ground breaking and now Listed development, also included amongst the 1,200 houses to the South of the Wall are some 84 ‘Hobby Rooms’, designed to retail the sense of community spirit and cohesion within the new Byker estate of the 1970’s.”

“Over recent years there has been considerable investment in the housing stock on the estate but virtually no investment in the Hobby Rooms. Whilst a small proportion of the 84 spaces were well used and in reasonable condition, the vast majority have fallen into a poor state of repair and many are under used.”

“As part of the Feasibility Study, after consultation with the local community, we proposed that 48 (55%) of the rooms could be refurbished and retained for community activities including storage, 21 (24%) could be used to extend existing adjacent dwellings (in some cases to provide wheelchair accessible accommodation), 11 (12%) could be refurbished in to new dwellings (again including the creation of much needed wheelchair accessible dwellings), whilst 4 (5%) could be refurbished for commercial / social enterprise use.”