Newcastle NE1 Business Improvement District has appointed Gehl Architects, the world’s leading architectural experts in ‘place-making’, to help create a visionary future for Newcastle’s Quayside as plans for this iconic North East asset begin to take shape. Matthew Thomas recently spoke with Gehl Architects’ project manager, to find out more about this generational transformation heading to the North East…
Gehl has started working with NE1, businesses, residents, and key stakeholders to develop key themes and principles for the area, identifying opportunities that could transform how people interact and engage with the Quayside over the years to come.
Gehl’s work has helped deliver similar visionary transformations in Copenhagen, Melbourne and in other global cities like New York, where their work with NYC’s Department of Transport paved the way for the pedestrianisation of Times Square.
Now, working with NE1 and the people of Newcastle, Gehl is looking to deliver an ambitious set of principles for how the Quayside can be improved for future generations. Project manager at Gehl Architects, Amanda Gregor, said: “The team at Gehl are super excited to be working with NE1 and the people of Newcastle on the programme to reimagine the Quayside. The team at NE1 are so enthusiastic and have an ambitious vision and commitment to the city, the Quayside and to making change happen.”
The starting point for this exciting project is a major fact-finding exercise and public consultation programme that was launched earlier this year. Residents and business owners were invited to express their thoughts via an online questionnaire that gathers a wide range of views, ideas and wish-lists from the public and major stakeholders on the future development of the Quayside.
Amanda explains: “We will incorporate the survey findings using our experience from working on projects around the world. By thinking about big picture ideas based on themes from the survey, we will co-create pragmatic recommendations with local architects, residents, business owners and decision-makers to create a shared vision for the Quayside that responds to the aspirations of the people of Newcastle. A new survey showing the findings from the workshop will be available soon, so that the people of Newcastle can have their say on this shared vision.”
Maximising the potential of Newcastle’s Quayside and its beautiful waterfront has always been a key priority of NE1’s since the company was established in 2009. NE1 has channelled a significant amount of effort and focused activations in this area over the years, from the creation of the Newcastle City Marina, to much-loved summer activity programmes including the Quayside Seaside and last summer’s more extensive Linear Park with light installations, artwork, and furniture, spanning a one kilometre stretch of the Quayside.
The stunning Laser Light City display from award-winning light artist, Seb Lee-Delisle, over the New Year period was another NE1 initiative designed to showcase the area and demonstrate the Quayside’s potential, as well as giving a flavour of how the area could look permanently.