Land of Oak and Iron Exhibition and Vistor Centre, Winlaton Mill, Gateshead.
Rivers and streams have always had a significant influence on our landscape and the formation of communities, but now as the path of such watercourses constrain the expansion of settlements we are channelling them underground into hidden and forgotten culverts.
The Land of Oak and Iron partnership aims to improve, protect and celebrate the natural, built and cultural heritage of the area so central to the theme of the Exhibition and Visitor Centre will be recovering the forgotten stream that was culverted during the development of New Winlaton Mill.
The stream will become an interactive feature, a sculptural landscape form drawing visitors through the scheme and reconnecting the park back to the River Derwent.
Each element of the scheme is derived from this central concept.
The scheme is carved in two as if eroded by the stream and the built forms are slender, meandering volumes, reminiscent of diverging streams.
The composition of the fenestration is predominantly introspective. Expansive glass facades focus views towards the stream.
The reflectivity and flowing form of the glass facades is reminiscent of water itself. The stream bed is carved from a light grey granite sourced and quarried locally in Northumberland. The dark stained timber cladding has a natural quality but is sufficiently humble that eyes will instead be drawn to the stream.
The South facing glass facade of the cafe will be peeled back in the summer to remove the interior/exterior boundary. The glass facade of the exhibition space is intentionally North facing to provide natural light without the inconvenience of glare.