Firms’ Auckland Castle project vies with three other schemes for regional recognition

The renovation of Auckland Castle and the creation of a new live music venue next to Sunderland’s former fire station are among four projects in the running for RIBA’s 2023 North East Awards.

Níall McLaughlin and Purcell’s scheme has created a national museum of religion and religious art at grade I-listed Auckland Castle, which is the former historic home of the Bishops of Durham.

Flanagan Lawrence and Howarth Litchfield’s Fire Station Auditorium project in Sunderland, meanwhile, was commissioned by Sunderland Music, Arts And Culture Trust to address the city’s lack of appropriately sized specialist venues for music. It can accommodate audiences of 750 people.

Also shortlisted for the North East Awards are Elliott Architects’ extensions to the grade II-listed Percy Cottage, in Northumberland, and the Raven Tower glamping hut in Northumberland by Newton Architects with Shed structural engineers.

Fire Station Auditorium, Sunderland_806_Andrew Heptinstall_ORIGINAL_1

Source: Andrew Heptinstall

Fire Station Auditorium, in Sunderland, by Flanagan Lawrence and Howarth Litchfield

Eric Parry Architects associate Emily Posey is chair of the RIBA North East Awards jury. She praised all four shortlisted projects for being “playful” in their use of design interventions.

“Covering a range of typologies, these buildings have all made a positive contribution to their North East locality: whether socially, environmentally or through clear concept and materiality combined,” she said. “The challenges of the brief have been met with unique responses, while bringing joy to the architectural process and end user experience.”

The winning projects are due to be announced in the spring. They will be considered for several other RIBA awards, including the RIBA National Awards, which will be announced in the summer.

Raven Tower_942_Neil Denham_ORIGINAL_3

Source: Neil Denham

Raven Tower in Northumberland, by Newton Architects with Shed structural engineers