Ouseburn Culvert Bandstand

With Ouseburn Trust and Northumbria Architectural Society in Newcastle

In 2017 Northumbria Architecture Society ran a competition, led by then-student Polly North, across the Newcastle and Northumbria architecture schools.

The brief was to design a bandstand for a disused site under a railway arch, on the fringe of the central Ouseburn valley.

The location is close to Ouseburn farm and is a popular pedestrian route from Heaton to Ouseburn, however, it is secluded and attracts a high level of antisocial activity and is infamous as the entrance site for the ‘Cully’ subterranean raves (since closed and secured by the council).

The competition was partly conceived to explore whether the introduction of a small and accessible piece of architecture would encourage the public to use the site more frequently and with greater respect.

Although the scheme was initially a conceptual desk study, the project developed a head of steam and all involved were keen to explore the possibility of actually delivering the design.

We were approached by the judging panel which included Xsite Architecture, Faulkner Browns and the Ouseburn Trust, to act as design and fabrication consultants to explore whether the winning design could be developed to allow the project to be built within a modest budget, following a fundraising and sponsorship drive by the NAS.

With design consultancy services by Raskl, we developed a simple system which faithfully retained the DNA of the original scheme and with a considerable effort from all involved managed to make the project a reality.

Photography by Jack Storey