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NETTA competition adds a bit of theatre

20 February 2017

A challenging brief to design a new theatre space in the North East in the annual competition organised by the North East Timber Trade Association (NETTA), in conjunction with TRADA’s University Engagement Programme, saw students really getting to grips with the possibilities of designing in timber.

The competition, which was this year sponsored by Stora Enso, encourages architectural students at Northumbria University to understand, design and specify with timber.

James Southern, of M H Southern & Co Ltd, who works tirelessly on the NETTA board to co-ordinate the sponsorship of the competition said: “The 30th Annual NETTA Structural Timber Award gave students a choice of one of two theatre projects to work on. Both projects charged the students to analyse forms and spaces in an existing urban context and then propose a new contribution.

“They had to propose a concept design which could be developed through appropriate technical solutions to provide a fully integrated building design. Students were given the choice of sites in Newcastle and Morpeth to pick from.”

First prize winner Harrison Lowthrop’s design echoed the river frontage location. The judges thought it displayed interesting thoughts about the feature of the ‘light pollution’ at night, to cause dramatic effect and was a “well thought out coherent use of space”.

Second prize went to Levi Sibthorpe. The judges said his design had “good consideration of natural light and space” and was “a dramatic building”. Meanwhile, third Prize went to Alice Langstaff for her design that demonstrated good exploration of use of space and shape.

The students were invited by NETTA to attend its annual dinner at the Assembly Rooms Newcastle, on 25th January 2017 to receive their prizes and reveal their designs to the NETTA members.

Stephen Roberts, Senior Lecturer in Architectural Design, is to be especially congratulated this year for organising his students to enter the competition, as before Christmas he had a bike accident and had broken his leg. Despite this setback, he continued to help his students compile some excellent entries. He was incredibly helpful encouraging students to explore the wider use of timber in their designs.

The next step is to find practices for the students to work for to gain yet more experience. Any architects looking for willing students, contact at TRADA.

Timber frame buildings and panels

Robertson Timber Engineering Limited

10 Perimeter Road
Pinefield
Elgin
IV30 6AE

t: 01343 549786

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Blackwater Place
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