Gateshead Council Design Services: The Sage Gateshead

Gateshead Council Design Services: The Sage Gateshead
Gateshead Council Design Services: The Sage Gateshead

The only double winner in this year’s awards, the Sage Gateshead is proof that a building can achieve outstanding quality on many levels. An access consultant was employed to ensure that the building exceeded the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act. All external approaches are accessible and the interior circulation areas use colour contrast to aid the partially sighted. The customer service points have split level counters to assist people in wheelchairs and five lifts allow for movement between floors.

Highly commended

Paul Davis & Partners: Codogan Hall, London: RNLI Lifeboat College and Survival Centre, Dorset

Converting a 100-year-old church into a venue for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was always going to be an ambitious task, but the team behind Cadogan Hall also set their minds to making it accessible to performers and the public. Because the building is on different levels, a combination of conventional lifts and platform hoists were chosen rather than stair lifts. This now means there is step-free access to the auditorium – which has four dedicated wheelchair spaces and adjacent companion seating.

The finalists

City and County of Swansea: Capstan House

People with disabilities encounter physical and social barriers as soon as they leave their front door, but often life can be equally challenging in the home. That’s why Capstan House set out to provide 27 affordable rented flats that would enable accessible and independent living. To do this the team consulted a wide range of experts as well as future tenants. The result is a development that caters for every aspect of people’s everyday needs – from adjustable-height kitchens and level access showers, to refuse chutes on each floor and tactile paving on external steps.

Brammall Blenkharn: Visitor centre in Scamptston Hall

The architectural challenge at Scampston Hall was to create a modern building that would be in keeping with England’s largest walled garden. But while the estate’s Capability Brown heritage had a big influence on the design team, equally important were the needs of disabled visitors, who have been provided with level access, toilet facilities, clear signage for doors and glazed areas and well laid out paths in the garden areas.