The project is located in the centre Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK a former shipbuilding and manufacturing hub in the North East of England during the Industrial Revolution and is now a centre of business, arts and sciences.
Set within a grand Georgian building within the heart of the city centre, it stands as a corner stone for the cities Grainger market dating back to 1830s and is now a Grade I listed building.
Designed by John Dobson and named after Richard Grainger, it is one of the few remaining covered markets in Britain today. A plaque, signifying its historical importance of the site as a bookshop and commemorates individuals who visited the bookshop during the 19th century. Notably, the Italian Revolutionary, Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1854 in addition to visits by the Hungarian Revolutionary Louis Kossuth and the American Reformer.
The bookshop became renowned across the city and soon became an informal meeting place for such people. Reflecting back to the time when the site was a former bookstore the “re_Forum” proposal sets out to recreate an informal place to promote the act of novel reading for a 21st-century city, taking into account the context of the site and the pragmatics to ensure the functioning of such an establishment.
The design intention is to recreate an open-plan interior space, allowing free flow movement for visitors by using layout strategy to encourage any passerby to engage in the act of novel reading and appreciate the value of stories. The proposal aims to respect the existing Grade I listed, responding to the existing architectural features and building layout whilst marrying it with a contemporary interpretation for its new role and creating an open light space.
The interior layout is a response to the Grainger Market’s multi-entrance, intersecting walkways, free movement and encouragement of enticing the local passersby. The idea of adapting the building to the surrounding environment is the main concept. Its aim is not to only represent the existing building itself but—in a broader context—to represent the City of Newcastle. This idea is to translate by creating a space that mimics what is around the perimeter and blends with the surroundings – the marriage of the old and the new. The space is divided into two areas:
1) functional – circulation and seating area
2) promotional – engagement of novels
The offset glass main entrance blurs the boundary of outside and inside and stimulates passersby to enter the building liberally. The bookshelves and the ceiling’s design refer to the façade and cornices of Georgian Architecture. The charred timber surface on features increases the drama of the novel bookstore. The delicate approach to the staircase encourages the visitors to effortlessly move and explore the space, the mezzanine—a restoration area where light meals and beverages can be enjoyed, inviting visitors to sit, relax, and read.
The towering bookshelves, positioned at strategic locations conceal both existing and new structural supports for the building and mezzanine. For environmental attitude, internal architectural elements where people may gather are located to avoid glare from incoming sunlight, allowing a more comfortable environment. The dark toned interior furniture absorbs the heat from low-angled winter sunlight while the flooring is kept lighter in tone to bounce the high-angled summer sunlight minimizing energy used for artificial lighting.
Project Name: re_Forum: The Novel Bookstore
Project Type: Conceptual
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Architect/Designer: Try Andy
Use: Retail & Leisure
Area: 195 sq m
Project Year: 2017
Photo Credits: Try Andy
As second-year BA (Hons) Interior Architecture student from the University of Northumbria Newcastle, Try Andy has been involved in several architectural competitions locally and internationally. Being a highly enthusiastic and inspiring student especially in architectural field has made him successful in university and has received a lot of positive feedback from judging panels. In addition, this project has won multiple awards from The American Architecture Prize in 2017 including “New Discovery of the Year—Interior Design” and the main category.