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SPRINT FINISH: £22.5M LEISURE CENTRE COMPLETES FIVE MONTHS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

SPORT and leisure specialist GT3 Architects has completed a new gateway leisure centre in Coalville, Leicestershire, allowing residents to access the centre’s state-of-the-art facilities five months earlier than anticipated.  Replacing the former Heritage Leisure Centre in neighbouring Whitwick, this leisure destination has been completed ahead of schedule after seamless collaboration with contractor

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GREEN LIGHT FOR GAME CHANGING £24M ACTIVITIES HUB

A PIONEERING Warwickshire facility, which challenges the traditional notion of a leisure centre, has received planning permission thanks to sport and leisure specialists GT3 Architects.  Located in Miners’ Welfare Park, the Bedworth Physical Activities Hub – delivered on behalf of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council – has been designed to be

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WILLMOTT DIXON TO DELIVER LATEST GT3-DESIGNED PASSIVHAUS LEISURE PROJECT FOR SPELTHORNE BOROUGH COUNCIL

ONE of the UK’s leading contractors has been appointed to deliver a pioneering Passivhaus leisure centre, designed by the sports and leisure experts at GT3 Architects. Willmott Dixon has been named by Spelthorne Borough Council as main contractor on the £43.5m project in Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey, which is targeting a Passivhaus certification for low

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GT3 ARCHITECTS EXPLORE DESIGNS FOR THE FUTURE OF NEWCASTLE FOOTBALL CLUB

Sports and leisure specialist GT3 Architects has led an internal design review, reimagining a state-of-the-art training academy and community-driven stadium for Newcastle United. Building on the company’s ‘people architecture’ ethos, the project is the first of several in-house design reviews, exploring how people-centric design can tackle cultural and socio-economic challenges,

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PEOPLE ARCHITECTURE WINS THE DAY AS GT3 PICKS UP MAJOR AWARD

LEADING architecture practice GT3 Architects has seen its focus on team development recognised with a prestigious national award.  The firm – which has studios in Nottingham and Newcastle – has received the ‘People Development’ award at Constructing Excellence’s national ceremony, beating nominees from across the UK.  The award recognises organisations

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Northumbria supports search for next generation of creative talent

The National Trust and leading architecture practice, GT3 Architects, have teamed up with Northumbria University to search for the next generation of talented architects as part of a project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Rising Stars creative partnership is a strand of the National Trust’s The Curtain

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LEISURE MEETS LEARNING IN NEW DESIGNS FOR MORPETH COMMUNITY HUB

INSPIRING DESIGNS for a new £21 million Northumberland leisure centre and library – which puts inclusivity, community pride, and connectivity at its heart – have been revealed by sports and leisure experts GT3 Architects as work gets underway on site. The design places the residents of Morpeth first, with the

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GT3 ANNOUNCES NEW SECTOR LEADS TO SPEARHEAD GROWTH

LEADING architecture practice GT3 Architects has created four new sector leads within its senior team to diversify and drive its core areas of expertise. As part of a wider restructure, which sees senior architects take more of ownership of projects, Paul Reed has become head of sport and leisure, Suzanne

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HOW CAN DESIGN MAKE LEISURE CENTRES MORE INCLUSIVE?

Sport England estimates that inactivity causes one in six deaths and costs the NHS approximately £1 billion per year. With UK sport and leisure facilities now reopening their doors, we need to consider who is using these facilities and what barriers they face. GT3 Architects, a leading architecture firm specialising

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Latest Issue

BDC 317 : Jun 2024

gt3 architects

SPRINT FINISH: £22.5M LEISURE CENTRE COMPLETES FIVE MONTHS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

SPORT and leisure specialist GT3 Architects has completed a new gateway leisure centre in Coalville, Leicestershire, allowing residents to access the centre’s state-of-the-art facilities five months earlier than anticipated.  Replacing the former Heritage Leisure Centre in neighbouring Whitwick, this leisure destination has been completed ahead of schedule after seamless collaboration with contractor Metnor, project manager Paragon, landscape architect OOBE and M&E and BREEAM consultant Envision. The project, delivered on behalf of Everyone Active and North West Leicestershire District Council, includes an eight-lane, 25m pool, teaching pool with movable floor, eight-court sports hall, three squash courts and a 120-station fitness suite with spin and dance studios.  Clare Noble, senior architectural technologist at GT3, said: “We were delighted to deliver this leisure centre so efficiently in collaboration with a host of great firms and contractors. We’ve worked with Everyone Active, Metnor and Paragon on a variety of leisure schemes and have a brilliant working relationship – this communication and transparency (combined with a lot of individuals putting in hard work) is what allowed us to accelerate the completion of the Whitwick and Coalville Leisure Centre. “A good working relationship is exceptionally important to GT3. We aim to create beautiful spaces while delivering transparency, inclusivity, and added value – which is why collaborating seamlessly with our partners is central to our work. Our ‘people architecture’ ethos extends beyond the people we’re designing for to the people we’re designing with, too.” One of the themes central to the site’s design was the sensitivity to its setting. Situated opposite an existing further education college, the new pool hall gives the appearance of pre-patinated copper cladding on its overhanging roof to reflect the design of the college. External glulam timber columns were carefully chosen to mirror the National Forest setting, and full-height glazing in the café opens up the centre to its surroundings. The bricks incorporated into the design have been locally sourced from nearby Ibstock, just 3.5 miles away, linking Whitwick and Coalville Leisure Centre further to its surroundings. The scheme has already seen great interest, with impressive engagement from the local community. Paul Sanders, head of community services at North West Leicestershire District Council, said: “Our state-of-the-art Whitwick and Coalville Leisure Centre is a fabulous facility for the district which, fits well into its National Forest setting. It’s a building we hope will get people excited about getting fit and active, and demonstrates our commitment to ensuring high-quality design.” The centre opened its doors to the public on 14 February and will facilitate a healthy lifestyle for the local community, with memberships to the former Hermitage Leisure Centre automatically transferring to the new state-of-the-art scheme.   For further information visit www.gt3architects.com or join the conversation over on Twitter @_GT3Architects 

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GREEN LIGHT FOR GAME CHANGING £24M ACTIVITIES HUB

A PIONEERING Warwickshire facility, which challenges the traditional notion of a leisure centre, has received planning permission thanks to sport and leisure specialists GT3 Architects.  Located in Miners’ Welfare Park, the Bedworth Physical Activities Hub – delivered on behalf of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council – has been designed to be welcoming and inviting for all user groups. The new hub will replace an existing centre, providing a new set of facilities that better meets the needs of the local community, utilising GT3’s ‘people first’ approach.   The facility includes a 25m eight lane pool, learner pool with a moveable floor, 120 station fitness suite, two studios, a spin studio and associated changing areas as well as a café and multipurpose room. In addition, the surrounding park will undergo a major transformation with a focus on creating an active landscape that wraps around the new building. Matt McCreith, project architect at GT3, said: “We’re delighted to reach this important milestone of the project. The new hub is going to be a major asset for the borough and the landscape design for the park is truly transformational. The scheme aims to create an ‘active landscape’ that offers a variety of different activities and areas in a bid to promote movement and enjoyment of outdoor space. This includes exercise & play areas, walking routes and seating spaces.  “We are approaching this project more like a community building as opposed to being a leisure centre that is only sports focused. It’s been designed to be accessible from the park as well as the main entrance, encouraging more people to use the building for a variety of reasons. The aim is to get more people active, but this can be achieved away from the traditional sports activities hosted in the building. “Playing a part in a project like this, that aims to make such a positive impact in the community, is very exciting and we can’t wait to move on to the next stage and start construction.” The project has come to fruition through a great deal of collaboration across the project team to ensure the final design was truly pioneering. There is a strong focus on cycling throughout the scheme, with British Cycling recently funding a series of new mountain bike trails in the park and a Cycle Hub within the building that will offer bicycle hire services for users. There will also be a new all-wheels skatepark, learn-to-ride area and pump track provided as part of the approved proposal.  Councillor Sue Markham, portfolio holder for public services at Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, said: “Due to start on site this autumn, this has been an exciting venture where collaboration has been key. The project team, which includes Sport England and leading contractor BAM Construct UK as well as civil engineering firm, Hexa Consulting. The culmination of experience and expertise involved with the Hub will offer something completely new and bespoke for the community here and I am excited to see work get underway.” Dave Strong, director at Hexa Consulting, said: “This project is set to deliver a truly outstanding facility and we’re pleased to have played our part in getting it to this stage. It’s been fantastic to work alongside GT3 to provide a full suite of assessment and design services, which aligns this project with the wider regeneration of Bedworth. We look forward to seeing the leisure centre brought to fruition through a continued collaborative team effort.” The team’s project approach combines a unique blend of uses to create a leisure destination which will play a role in the regeneration of Bedworth and act as a catalyst for further future developments.  For further information visit www.gt3architects.com or join the conversation over on Twitter @_GT3Architects 

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WILLMOTT DIXON TO DELIVER LATEST GT3-DESIGNED PASSIVHAUS LEISURE PROJECT FOR SPELTHORNE BOROUGH COUNCIL

ONE of the UK’s leading contractors has been appointed to deliver a pioneering Passivhaus leisure centre, designed by the sports and leisure experts at GT3 Architects. Willmott Dixon has been named by Spelthorne Borough Council as main contractor on the £43.5m project in Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey, which is targeting a Passivhaus certification for low carbon buildings.  The firm has been appointed alongside Passivhaus expert Gale & Snowden and will work collaboratively with GT3 to ensure sustainability is prioritised in line with the UK’s targets for reaching net zero. Spelthorne Borough Council have decided to adopt the Passivhaus approach, due to our net zero commitment, which will be the first wet and dry Passivhaus leisure centre in the UK. The centre will feature modern facilities such as a rooftop 3G pitch, sports hall, gym and competitive, learner and splash swimming pools. Alongside the core features, the design also includes a mini spa, flexible studio space, soft play, Clip n Climb and a community café, ensuring community-wide benefit for the project. Mark Gowdridge, director at GT3 Architects, said: “It’s great to see the progression of this fantastic project, and especially to have the team at Willmott Dixon now joining us with their wealth of knowledge in sustainable construction. “We are working ever closer to the Passivhaus certification for our design, which will save up to 60% in energy costs and ensure the building is futureproofed. We’re very happy with how the project is moving and having the input of Willmott Dixon will only enhance this. We are very much looking forward to bringing a fundamental space for health and wellbeing to the surrounding community.” Willmott Dixon is currently the only carbon neutral construction company and has set several further challenging targets to meet by 2030. Its ‘Now or Never’ strategy, launched in 2020, focuses on achieving operational net zero across all new build and refurbishment projects, being a zero-carbon company without any offsetting, and improving more than 100,000 lives through its social value commitments. Willmott Dixon has also shown its commitment to the environment by establishing the only dedicated in-house sustainability consultancy. Roger Forsdyke, managing director of London and the South, said: “We are hugely excited to be working alongside Spelthorne Borough Council, GT3 and Gale and Snowden on what will be a landmark project. Spelthorne Borough Council’s choice to adopt the Passivhaus approach is a testament to their commitment to carbon reduction. Within Willmott Dixon, we are putting maximum efforts in to supporting our customers to address the climate emergency, with projects like this ensuring we can continue in adopting our expertise to suit the ambitions of our partners.  We are looking forward to working alongside both GT3 and Gale and Snowden again ensuring the project’s success will be realised.” Passivhaus methodology was established in the early 1990s and has since become the world-leading standard in energy-efficient design and construction. Passivhaus buildings provide users with a high level of comfort, while also using very little energy by optimising the design of the building and all its systems. Daniel Mouawad, Chief Executive of Spelthorne Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to be a pioneering authority, demonstrating our commitment to net zero by building an ultra-low Passivhaus leisure centre. Having declared a climate emergency, we recognise the need to lead by example to achieve cleaner and greener lifestyles and a sustainable borough for all to enjoy. This centre is a great example of partnership working and will provide the right infrastructure to meet our communities’ changing needs and will enable residents to stay active in a healthy environment, with low chemical pools and a dementia friendly design.” For further information visit www.gt3architects.com or join the conversation over on Twitter @_GT3Architects

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THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL: MARRYING THE NEEDS OF THE LOCAL COMMUNITY WITH TOURISM TRADE IN LEISURE CENTRE DESIGN

SPORT and leisure specialist GT3 Architects has completed the first phase of a striking new destination leisure centre in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, which combines the needs of local residents and nationwide visitors to create a leisure hub for all.  The first phase of the £22m flagship scheme features leisure slides and splash pads alongside more traditional swimming provisions and fitness equipment to supply a dual-purpose scheme for both fun and fitness.  The facility features flexible community spaces and a 100-station gym to support the health and wellbeing of local residents, with memberships as cheap as 85p per day alongside pay-as-you-go options. As well as meeting the existing needs of the local community, the scheme includes facilities designed to incentivise footfall and tourism, including a thermal spa experience, saunas, aromatherapy steam room, spa pool, and experience shower with heated benches. The centre also features an indoor, four-rink bowling green and Hive café, offering a range of hot and cold food and drink, as well as a children’s soft play area.   GT3 Architects – which has studios in Newcastle and Nottingham – has acted as lead designer on the leisure centre, covering both the interior and exterior architecture to deliver this complex project.  Paul Reed, associate director at GT3, said: “From the very beginning, this project has had a true community feel, and it was vital that the design was rooted in the local area. We wanted to create something that was visually striking and took strong cues from its surroundings, such as the Royal Border Bridge and the town’s ancient walls.  “We replicated the elevational rhythm of the bridges but broke it down into individual forms to create a dynamic image with mixes of glass and green-wall. The local colour palette evokes rich warm tones in its hues, which led us to create the dynamic stainless steel shingle façade. It shimmers gold and purple depending on the light, linking to the local architecture as well as creating a beacon to local residents and tourists alike.”  The new centre is situated next to the existing leisure centre at Tweedmouth and was completed in phases so facilities could be preserved for residents throughout the build. With the completion of the wet side facilities, work on the second phase has now begun, replacing the existing pool hall on the site with a new four-court sports hall, as well as completing car parking and landscaping.  Paul added: “Berwick is a fairly isolated town so it was important that leisure provisions were always available through a seamless transition from old to new. The health and wellbeing of residents remained a central part of the project, balanced with building an attractive tourism offer to boost the local economy.  “Designing a facility that covers the needs of both local residents and the town’s tourists has provided an interesting challenge, but by working closely with Active Northumberland, we have been able to ensure that the design covers the requirements of the differing user types. This includes a flexible leisure water zone that can expand into the adjacent learner pool during busy periods and an increased café capacity to cover visitors.  “By doing this, we have helped the local authority meet multiple targets on tourist investment and the health and wellbeing of residents.”  GT3 is also designing Berwick’s sister project, Morpeth Leisure and Community Hub, for Active Northumberland, which started on site in 2021. Along with wet and dry leisure facilities, the scheme will feature a large library, flexible community space, and adult learning services.   Mark Warnes, chief executive at Active Northumberland, said: “The atmosphere in the centre is fantastic. It’s a high-quality, welcoming, and modern environment. It’s full of great areas where local people can come together, socialise, have fun and be more active and we are very excited about the future and the importance it will play in the local community.”   The project was funded by Northumberland County Council, with Tolent Construction acting as lead contractor.  For further information visit www.gt3architects.com or join the conversation over on Twitter @_GT3Architects   Building Design and Construction Magazine | The Home of Construction & Property News   

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GT3 ARCHITECTS EXPLORE DESIGNS FOR THE FUTURE OF NEWCASTLE FOOTBALL CLUB

Sports and leisure specialist GT3 Architects has led an internal design review, reimagining a state-of-the-art training academy and community-driven stadium for Newcastle United. Building on the company’s ‘people architecture’ ethos, the project is the first of several in-house design reviews, exploring how people-centric design can tackle cultural and socio-economic challenges, such as driving inward investment and economic footfall, getting more people active, supporting an aging population, and achieving net-zero targets. Paul Reed, associate director and R&D lead, explains. “As a proud Geordie practice that specialises in sport and leisure, the recent takeover of NUFC sparked much excitement in our Newcastle studio. With my background in designing and delivering stadia and training academies – previously being involved in the design of Manchester City Academy Stadium and Training Ground, London Olympic Stadium and Parc Olympique Lyonnais – imagining the potential opportunities now open to the club seemed like a fantastic way to kick-off GT3’s latest design series. “As with all things GT3, we wanted to imagine a design that placed people – the players, the academy, the fans, the club employees, the local community – at the heart. We reviewed academy and training facilities built across the UK and Europe within the last five years and found them to be largely insular; team facilities are typically segmented, separated by level of play, while fans are granted limited or no access. This provides the privacy and security required by the players, but also acts as a barrier between their fanbase and local community. “Using the motif of public vs private, our concept uses a rising scale of privacy and naturally rich and textured materials to break down barriers between elite sport and the local community, reuniting players and people in a facility that is welcoming to all. “The overall effect is one of warmth and inclusivity, offering a home for the first-team training, women’s team, and academy team, while providing a unique and exciting space for a new generation of fans to fall in love with the club.” A Community Stadium – Bringing the Club Back to the Fans “Unsurprisingly, this project attracted our practice’s NUFC fans, each of whom hold memories of walking up to St James on match day or joining the masses to watch the Keegan-era train. This sense of local pride and club inclusion is the cornerstone of our community stadium design, which – in addition to providing a home for women’s and academy teams – also offers valuable community space. The resulting design is a 7,000 seat open community stadium, with the potential to include safe standing area, integrated groundskeeper storage and elevated grassy bank, offering an informal viewing platform for families, plus a Wembley Way style access route with additional retail opportunities. “Within the stadium itself, we’ve included 3,000m2 studio and classroom space, which could be used by the Newcastle United Foundation and local schools/ colleges. There’s also dedicated meeting and event spaces, open for community use and offering additional revenue opportunities. “On the other side of the stadium is a semi-private media suite, offering another media hub to the club, plus a private commercial suite for NUFC staff. This could offer staff an alternative work location and allow the stadium to operate in tandem with St James. “Externally, there are 13 full-size external grass, hybrid and artificial pitches, each orientated north to south to maximise daylight hours, with a portion allocated for community use. Fitness trails including repurposed hill-climbing areas (relandscaped from soil produced in construction), suitable for community and player use are also integrated into the landscaping.” State of the Art Training Academy – Recognising the Player Journey  “The training academy element of the design is a private campus-style building, offering world class training facilities for all parts of the club under one roof. A key design concept for the training academy itself was in recognising the importance of a player’s individual journey; as youth and academy players progress through the ranks, they physically move across a bridge separating the academy wing from the first team wing. “Facilities include a timber diagrid ETFE transparent roof, designed to maximise daylight to the training pitch, inward-looking and protected massing to provide safety and privacy, and a 60-bed hotel, offering on-site accommodation and living spaces for academy players, along with more temporary living space for visiting teams and families. “We’ve included state-of-the-art player facilities; changing rooms, fitness suites, physio rooms and training facilities, including hydro pools, hyperbaric chambers and relaxation areas. “There are private meeting spaces with views over surrounding woodland and green areas, a man-made lake and private access routes and underground parking for first-team privacy. “As architects and masterplanners, our goal is to tackle the challenges facing communities through people-focused design. Our design proposal embraces the three different elements of football for Newcastle: first team training, academy training, and women’s football, while capitalising on a clear opportunity to support and engage with the local community. “Building a bond between the club and the community, all while providing the resources needed for elite sport, is difficult, but it’s a challenge we’ve loved addressing. We wanted to break down barriers and design a facility that would benefit not only the athletes that train there, but the people who make the club a success – the fans, the future players, the people of Newcastle. “We’d like to encourage people to get in touch with their thoughts, including football fans, sports and leisure experts, fans of the club, and NUFC themselves. This design is a conversation starter and we’d love to be part of that dialogue.” GT3 Architects is an award-winning and ambitious architecture practice with studios in Newcastle and Nottingham. Known for delivering expertise across sectors including sports and leisure and using their people-focused approach, they have a proven track record in translating bold concepts into elegant technical details and successful project delivery. For further information visit www.gt3architects.com or join the conversation over on Twitter @_GT3Architects 

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PEOPLE ARCHITECTURE WINS THE DAY AS GT3 PICKS UP MAJOR AWARD

LEADING architecture practice GT3 Architects has seen its focus on team development recognised with a prestigious national award.  The firm – which has studios in Nottingham and Newcastle – has received the ‘People Development’ award at Constructing Excellence’s national ceremony, beating nominees from across the UK.  The award recognises organisations that value their workforce and ensure they maximise their team’s contribution to the business, something which GT3 Architects has nurtured through its ‘People Architecture’ approach.  Alongside a new operations and flexible working policy introduced to mitigate the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the practice appointed a designated ‘people champion’ to lead its focus on personal and professional development.  Liz Clarke, associate director and ‘people champion’ at GT3 Architects, said: “For a practice with a fundamental goal to place people – not buildings – at the heart of our projects, processes and practice-life, Covid-19 offered us an unparalleled opportunity to prove ‘People Architecture’ to be more than just a strapline.”  The success of this approach was borne out in a staff survey, which showed that 97% of its staff base believed they are supported by their colleagues and team leaders, with 89% feeling that their work during lockdown directly contributed to practice success.  Liz added: “We believe that our success stems from our commitment to placing people’s wellbeing at the heart of every business decision, and our quick and sensitive reactions to feedback and changing circumstances.  “Throughout all the lockdowns, Simon, Mark, and our leadership team continued to prioritise a collaborative and transparent environment, communicating not just within our own practice, but proactively seeking peer reviews and external mentorship opportunities with our contemporaries.”  Alongside staff-centric changes made during the pandemic, the workplace consultancy team at GT3 offered consultation sessions to local businesses struggling to adapt to a Covid-19 working environment, and the practice also launched its first Virtual Work Experience offering for students aged 14 – 18, subsequently supported by both the RIBA and Speakers for Schools.  The award period also saw the firm secure new projects and R&D work – including the UK’s first wet and dry Passivhaus leisure facility in Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey – and grow its staff base by 10%.   Simon Dunstan, director at GT3 Architects, said: “In a year when countless milestones, projects, and career choices were put on-hold, we made a conscious effort to continually put our people first, as well as contribute to the wider industry and support our local communities.  “We are a rapidly growing practice, and we recognise that there is still plenty of work to do. We are exceptionally proud of our team, and will continue to align practice strategy and – hopefully – our continued successes with the individual development and wellbeing of our people. This award win is a real testament to our approach and we’re delighted to have been awarded to top spot.”  For further information visit www.gt3architects.com or join the conversation over on Twitter @_GT3Architects. 

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Northumbria supports search for next generation of creative talent

The National Trust and leading architecture practice, GT3 Architects, have teamed up with Northumbria University to search for the next generation of talented architects as part of a project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Rising Stars creative partnership is a strand of the National Trust’s The Curtain Rises  project, centred on conservation and improvement work at the historic Seaton Delaval Hall, which was acquired by the trust in 2009. A live project inspired by the building was set up to give students an opportunity to flex their creative skills and offer invaluable industry experience. With more than 20 students from Northumbria’s BA Interior Architecture programme taking part in the project, Hattie Keel was crowned the winner with her striking structure centred around visual trickery. Hattie’s installation was unveiled with a celebration at Seaton Delaval Hall, where it has now been constructed for visitors to enjoy. After recently graduating from Northumbria, Hattie has secured a job with GT3 and is now working as a designer for the company, which has studios in Newcastle and Nottingham. She explained: “My time at Northumbria gave me great insight into the industry through numerous live projects, including this partnership with the National Trust. Throughout the process I also worked alongside GT3 Architects, giving me valuable career experience in the industry. “The Rising Stars competition put my foot in the door to life after graduation; the knowledge it gave me boosted my confidence in my creativity and design capabilities. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity provided by Northumbria, as this enhanced my portfolio and assisted in securing my role as a Graduate Interior Architectural Designer at GT3.” Thanks to a donation from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, since 2018 Seaton Delaval Hall has been the focus of The Curtain Rises  project, where as well as improvements to visitor facilities and extensive conservation work, the stories of Seaton Delaval Hall’s colourful past are now being brought to life through initiatives like the Rising Stars creative partnership. Speaking about her winning entry to the project, Hattie added: “My design was inspired by the playfulness and trickery of the Delaval family, who lived in Seaton Delaval Hall in the 18th century. I wanted to provide a space for visitors to sit and dwell within the structure. The seats therefore follow the natural folds of origami, enabling visitors to interact and engage with the structure. “I’ve really enjoyed the entire process and seeing my initial concept brought to life.” Paul Ring, Associate Professor and Head of Architecture at Northumbria, said: “In creative partnership with the National Trust, Rising Stars provides a folio of live project experiences for our students across many creative disciplines, and we are delighted that Hattie’s design was chosen and then built for the National Trust’s visitors at Seaton Delaval Hall. “GT3 worked with students to guide them through client meetings, design detailing, budget, and fabrication decisions. Hattie is without doubt a more informed and accomplished designer thanks to this experience and we are exceptionally grateful to GT3 and the National Trust for the opportunity, their expertise, and their support to our students.” Taylor Grindley, project architect at GT3, was the day-to-day lead on the work. He said: “We really enjoyed taking part in the Rising Stars project and working closely with the National Trust and Northumbria University. All the designs were fantastic and incredibly creative, but Hattie’s really blew us all away. “We worked really closely with Hattie to ensure all aspects of the design were viable and that we could bring it to life, with the construction handled by Raskl. We love educating and inspiring the next generation of architects and designers, so the Rising Stars project has been a brilliant experience.” Emma Thomas, the National Trust’s general manager of Seaton Delaval Hall, said: “Hattie’s excellent design helped us achieve our ambition of telling the stories of the Hall and our National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported project more creatively to members and visitors. The Rising Stars project has supported the employment and soft skills development of Northumbria University’s students and at the same time helped the National Trust realise several creative and conservation-based ambitions.” The installations are available to visit in the Saloon at Seaton Delaval Hall. There are a range of study options available within the department of Architecture and the Built Environment at Northumbria. Find out more here about the courses and facilities on offer.

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LEISURE MEETS LEARNING IN NEW DESIGNS FOR MORPETH COMMUNITY HUB

INSPIRING DESIGNS for a new £21 million Northumberland leisure centre and library – which puts inclusivity, community pride, and connectivity at its heart – have been revealed by sports and leisure experts GT3 Architects as work gets underway on site. The design places the residents of Morpeth first, with the practice consulting key groups through workshops and VR sessions to reach a design solution that truly meets their needs. The key themes – connecting the high street, creating local pride for the centre, and offering a diverse range of uses – were developed and incorporated into the design to create a hub where leisure meets learning. The state-of-the-art scheme combines leisure facilities with a comprehensive library and learning suite to suit Morpeth’s diverse community. Paul Reed, associate director at GT3 Architects, said: “Inclusivity is at the heart of this project and it was so important to us that the leisure centre’s new facilities were designed to be integrated and connected to the town centre. “We really enjoyed hosting workshops, presentations, and VR sessions with stakeholders from the library, adult learning, and community groups to really get to know the people of Morpeth to deliver exactly what they need. “During these workshops we discovered the importance of the three key themes of inclusivity, community pride, and connectivity. The design therefore extends to the high street through a series of stepping-stones that figuratively and literally integrate and connect to the town centre ensuring inclusivity and accessibility. The town also has a strong identity, so we wanted to capture that pride and nod to the town’s ‘living amongst woods and streams’ motto. “The result was an accessible and community-focused design, with people at its heart, and we can’t wait to see the finished development. The facility is set to include a new two-storey library, customer services and adult learning classrooms as well as a six-lane 25m swimming pool with spectator gallery, a learner pool, spa facilities, a four-court sports hall, a new 100 station fitness suite, a dedicated spinning studio, a soft play area and a café that is open to the public. The scheme is funded by Northumberland County Council. Jeff Watson, Northumberland county councillor and cabinet member for healthy lifestyles, said: “The new centre will be a real asset for the town and a wonderful place with great facilities for residents and visitors to enjoy for many years to come.” The scheme will provide 550m2 of library space, including a group room, poetry corner, and children’s library, as well as 450m2 of learning space with five flexible classrooms, offices, and tutorial spaces. The centre will be located at Gas House Lane with a new library garden addressing the river from its north bank sat amongst the existing mature trees.   For further information visit www.gt3architects.com or join the conversation over on Twitter @_GT3Architects

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GT3 ANNOUNCES NEW SECTOR LEADS TO SPEARHEAD GROWTH

LEADING architecture practice GT3 Architects has created four new sector leads within its senior team to diversify and drive its core areas of expertise. As part of a wider restructure, which sees senior architects take more of ownership of projects, Paul Reed has become head of sport and leisure, Suzanne Blair is leading education and masterplanning, Liz Clarke overseeing residential, and Michael Simpson is responsible for workplace. The move follows a period of growth for the firm, which has seen nine new members of staff join its ranks within the last six months. Mark Gowdridge, director at GT3 Architects, said: “We’re delighted to announce our new sector leads. Paul, Suzanne, Liz, and Michael are all experts in their considered fields and we’re looking forward to supporting them in this new challenge. By having focused heads of department, we can really streamline our offering, projects, and direction to give the best possible service for our clients. “Since implementing, our sector leads have had more time to drive our research and development arm, mentor younger members of the team, and get involved in our more complex projects. Our senior architects are also benefitting from the increased autonomy and responsibility within their respective sectors. Simon Dunstan, director at GT3, added: “The firm was established more than 12 years ago, and we’ve spent many years developing our skills over a number of sectors. We’re keen to focus our efforts across all our specialist sectors and by having dedicated leads, we can ensure that education, masterplanning, residential, and workplace are given the same emphasis as sports and leisure. “It’s a really exciting time at GT3 and, despite the challenges of Covid-19, we found that the new structure has really empowered our team. We have two studios but operate as one practice and one team, which means everyone is able to work on projects they are interested in, rather than be dictated by geography. I’m looking forward to seeing both the practice and our staff as individuals grow as a result.” For further information visit www.gt3architects.com or join the conversation over on Twitter @_GT3Architects

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HOW CAN DESIGN MAKE LEISURE CENTRES MORE INCLUSIVE?

Sport England estimates that inactivity causes one in six deaths and costs the NHS approximately £1 billion per year. With UK sport and leisure facilities now reopening their doors, we need to consider who is using these facilities and what barriers they face. GT3 Architects, a leading architecture firm specialising in sports and leisure, has undertaken a research piece as part of its Inclusive Design series to dig deeper into the issues people face when visiting leisure centres. “As people architects, we believe that a fundamental part of our role is understanding, anticipating, and designing for the needs of our users” says Paul Reed, associate director and head of sports and leisure at GT3. “This means not only ensuring existing, active users are engaged, but also creating exciting, beautiful, and well-balanced facilities to support underrepresented groups and demographics who don’t currently feel catered for at sports and leisure facilities. At present, leisure centres only cater to 16% of the population so these issues need to be addressed if we are to get more people active. “Our Inclusive Design series forms part of a wider research and development push led by a team of architects, interior designers and engagement specialists. For our first project, we looked specifically at caregivers of young children – this was defined as any adult who had experience taking a young child to a leisure centre.  “We discovered that 85% of caregivers surveyed find it incredibly difficult to deal with the challenges of a leisure centre – such as where to put a child while you get changed or how to get into the pool safely if your child cannot stand by themselves – particularly when alone. “59% of people surveyed said they are usually the only adult responsible for their child or children during a visit and the word ‘stressful’ was used frequently, with caregivers feeling that the experience is more difficult than they would like. “Encouragingly, 58% of people surveyed would like to visit a leisure centre more often. We believe that if facilities were designed with caregivers in mind, they would use the facilities more, increasing both their own and their children’s exposure to water and/or fitness activities.” According to the 2018/19 Active Lives Children and Young People Survey by Sport England, it was estimated that only 46% of the nation’s children are meeting the recommended level of activity. This has dropped even further with Covid-19 restrictions to just 19% of children being active for 60 mins per day. Paul continued: “It is critical to identify the barriers faced by users and ensure that any design meets the physical, mental, and social needs of caregivers. “By including a few simple additions – such as safe parking and access to the facility, a waiting area in reception, clear wayfinding, buggy stores near the changing rooms, and considered family changing rooms – it can have a massive impact on how caregivers use the space and ultimately create an improved experience. “Design is more than just shaping the physical environment. It involves addressing standards, practices, and behaviours as well as changing the way users are engaged. By considering space, layout, technology, and visual aspects, we can create a more family friendly and safer design that will ensure modern leisure centres are used and loved. “As an industry we need to fully understand how our designs can be used to provide more welcoming and inclusive facilities for all, improving both the physical and mental health of our communities in the process. As architects, we can play a part in encouraging activity, especially now that leisure centres are reopening, and we need to see this opportunity as a much-needed contribution to public health.” Judith Atkinson, project architect at GT3, led on the survey. She added: “This is the first report in our Inclusive Design series, so we really wanted to dig into the issues and barriers people face when attending a leisure centre. As a parent of a toddler myself, I felt it really important to highlight the difficulties caregivers often face when using facilities – it can be difficult taking a young child out of the home environment, particularly when facilities don’t meet your – or your child’s – basic needs.  “Even small things – such as making sure windows are in children’s sight line and they can hold a handrail when going into the water – make a big difference. I firmly believe that by understanding these caregivers’ experiences – such as knowing that 50% consider a waiting area within the reception important or that 96% would prefer a family-friendly cubicle – we can make leisure centres more inclusive. “Our caregivers research was such a success; we’re currently doing a similar piece of research into autism and dementia. Our hope is that we will be able to provide proven design solutions for our clients, which in turn will ensure their end-users feel supported. The result will be a far more inclusive, welcoming space for the whole community, and will hopefully encourage far more people to use exercise to support a healthy lifestyle. A win-win for everyone.” GT3 Architects is currently working on its next research pieces: designing for autism and dementia in Leisure Centres. As an award-winning architecture practice, with studios in Nottingham and Newcastle, the people focused firm champions an inclusive, sustainable, and engaging way of doing business that positions people at the heart of every project. For further information visit www.gt3architects.com or join the conversation over on Twitter @_GT3Architects

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