School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Live Build

Live Build Projects

A collaboration with Kielder Art and Architecture’s Testing Ground programme has produced three projects which have been designed and built by architecture students and the local communities.

The projects were completed under the supervision of Professor Graham Farmer whose academic work explores the connection between design practice, teaching and research through engagement with communities. The projects provide students with practical insights and skills as well as the opportunity to work with external organisations, clients, users and communities. They also allow for ‘real world’ experimentation with materials, performance and different modes of design practice.

The projects have been grounded within a consideration of the broader ecology of the building process, using locally sourced materials, or reusing or recycling locally available resources where possible. They have also sought to explore social sustainability, by working directly with communities in participatory ways, using local expertise or providing local training opportunities whilst also adding a direct social and economic benefit to remote rural communities.

BANNER Rochester Roundhouse
Rochester Roundhouse

Rochester Roundhouse

Project Dates: Completed August 2016
School ContactProfessor Graham Farmer
Partner(s): Kielder Art and Architecture; Kielder Water and Forest Park Trust; Northumberland National Park Authority; Residents of Rochester community; Newcastle University Students' Union (NUSU) Go Volunteer schemeFunding and support also came from Arts Council England, Lord Redesdale, Redefest, and the Sir James Knott Trust
How we got involved: Continued collaboration with Kielder Art and Architecture 

This project in Rochester, Northumberland, responded to community consultation and residents' wishes to reuse the dilapidated Brigantium roundhouse to create a community resource.  The site is now home to an open air amphitheatre and contemporary timber pavilion to be used for stargazing, musical performances and a range of community workshops.

The roof of the stone circle has been removed to turn it into an open-air space and local craftsmen worked with students to carry out repairs to the dry stone wall, before the addition of new seating and flooring. The larch-clad timber pavilion is located next to the stone circle and includes a sedum green roof. The pavilion and associated outdoor spaces will provide a multifunctional, bookable facility that will be managed by the community.  It was a key performance venue for the annual Redefest folk music festival.

Warm room for visitors to the Dark Sky Park at Kielder

Project Dates: Spring 2014 - March 2015
School ContactProfessor Graham Farmer
Partner(s): Kielder Art and Architecture; Kielder Water and Forest Park TrustThe Forestry Commission; Kielder Village community
How we got involved: Continued collaboration with Kielder Art and Architecture 

Architecture students worked with the project partners to develop a brief for this project, from which proposals were drawn up and presented to the Kielder community.

The resulting timber-framed building is clad with larch and lined with birch plywood and has floor to ceiling windows to allow views of the Kielder landscape and sky. The Warm Room provides a sheltered space and equipment charging point for stargazers who participate in overnight star camps as well as a venue for meetings and educational events. The students also designed and built a sheltered external cooking area for use by campers.

Stonehaugh Stargazing Pavilion

Project Dates: Autumn 2012 - May 2014
School Contact: Professor Graham Farmer
Partner(s): Kielder Art and Architecture; Stonehaugh residents
How we got involved: Initiated as part of Kielder Art & Architecture's Testing Ground programme

In Stonehaugh, Northumberland, architecture students worked with Kielder Art and Architecture and the local community to design and build a new pavilion for star gazers and nature watchers to enjoy the recently designated Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, the largest area of protected night sky in Europe.

Developed out of a teaching and research module, the idea for the pavilion was generated through a series of community consultation events and the village were actively engaged in the process of designing and building the project. The form of the pavilion is based on a spiral and it provides a sheltered space for nature watching as well as a ‘sky court’ where groups can gather to view and discuss the night sky. Where possible, the pavilion has been constructed of locally sourced or recycled materials and it has a ‘green roof’ to increase biodiversity.

The project was shortlisted for the Architects Journal Small Projects 2015. Watch a short film about the project.

Live Build gallery

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Warm Room

Stargazing Pavilion

Rochester Roundhouse

Rochester Roundhouse

Rochester Roundhouse

Rochester Roundhouse

Rochester Roundhouse