The iconic Grade II* listed Byker Wall, which is owned and managed by Byker Community Trust (BCT) housing association, has won one of the top refurbishment awards at this year’s Newcastle City Council Lord Mayor’s Design Awards.
The Wall, which underwent a £9.7 million refurbishment to 628 flats and maisonettes including link blocks, won the Public Sector Refurbishment accolade at the awards, which were held at the Mansion House in Jesmond on 30 January 2018.
The biennial awards have been running since 1994 and encourage, promote and publicise the best in architecture and environmental design to help improve the built environment. Awards are presented to outstanding projects in the fields of architecture, planning, environmental, urban and landscape design.
The award follows recognition of the Byker Estate which was awarded the ‘Great Neighbourhood’ Award in the UK and Ireland at the Academy of Urbanism Awards 2018.
Refurbishment works completed in January 2017, were one of BCT’s promises within the official transfer offer document to tenants when the Estate was transferred from Newcastle City Council to BCT in July 2012.
Works to the 1.3-mile long structure were completed by Keepmoat (now Engie Places & Communities), and security systems provider OpenView, working in partnership with Newcastle City Council, Your Homes Newcastle and Historic England.
The refurbishment works included a full external fabric overhaul including the installation of a new roof and photovoltaics, new windows and doors, improvements to communal stairwells and entrances, a new digital aerial system, upgraded door entry and CCTV and a complete repaint in line with the original Ralph Erskine colour scheme.
The scale of the refurbishment took two years to complete and saw the installation of 132 PV panels, the removal of 300 tonnes of asbestos and the installation of fibre optic cabling for telephone and broadband services to 628 homes enabling all residents to access faster internet and telephony services.
Michelle Bell, Director of Property and Development at BCT, said: “We are delighted to win this award in recognition of the extensive refurbishment that was undertaken on the Byker Wall. The works have delivered major improvements to our tenants’ homes but also public access and security in and around the Wall. Like any refurbishment on a Grade II* listed building, there were restrictions to respect and understand the original Byker context and built fabric. There was a need to comply with Historic England’s guidelines, planning listing restrictions and modern building regulations but the end result is fantastic not only for Byker but the City.”
The Wall is internationally renowned and dominates the City’s skyline. Architects, designers and consultants come from all over the world to visit this iconic structure and following the refurbishment works, BCT will continue to welcome people to show them why the Byker Estate is becoming a sought-after area to live and work.