Firm believers that the quality of life is reflected in the quality of place, GT3 Architects is approaching its recent RIBA Future Place commission for Gateshead town centre with a mix of both architecture and environmental psychology
Gateshead Council was announced as one of five RIBA Future Place partners at MIPIM earlier this year and set about the creation of a brief that would complement the extensive investment opportunities at the Gateshead Quays and Baltic Quarter with a focus for this project on the town centre.
With Gateshead Council’s Thrive Agenda at its heart, GT3 Architects’ task is to guide the creation of a lively and connected town centre, which promotes a better quality of life, increased opportunities for social interaction and ultimately, as a place where people can prosper.
The council’s focus on people and the diverse communities that exist within the borough and around the town centre was particularly evident at the recent Met Club networking event at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead.
At the event, Gateshead Council chief executive Sheena Ramsey and service director of property and design Peter Udall set out their ambitious and considered plans to shape a borough that helps people flourish.
In response to the brief, GT3 Architects has compiled an internal project team. It includes architects expert in the crafting of community- oriented spaces and places, a community engagement lead, an experienced communicator and an environmental psychologist.
To reflect the council’s objectives to improve wellbeing and opportunity, Carys Thomas- Osborne, who joined GT3 Architects this summer following completion of an MSc in Environmental Psychology, is providing a human-focused analysis that aims to really get under the skin of what success looks like for the people of Gateshead.
Carys will use her expertise and understanding of how design affects human behaviour to add weight and strength to the creation of a sense of identity and belonging as the project progresses.
“Environmental psychology has the potential to positively impact different areas of our Gateshead Town Centre Future Place project,” she says.
“Our research methods mean we can really understand what people need, want and crave and we can find themes that allow the architects here to make better informed design decisions.
“When people feel like they have been listened to, they are far more likely to get on board with a scheme,” continues Carys.
“In keeping with the council’s ambitions to improve wellbeing, listening and consultation, it gives people a sense of power and ownership, which reduces stress levels during major changes.
“Further, our approach to data analysis means we can provide clear yet detailed illustrated documentation to our clients to underpin our work and help them achieve future internal buy-in and support.” The move to employ Carys comes as part of GT3 Architects’ mission to increase the value it offers to clients.
Already with a proven design methodology, interior design team and a strategic brief writing service to support clients in the development of their projects – in addition to the growing team of architects and technologists within the organisation – the recent addition of environmental psychology supports GT3 Architects’ efforts to understand the science of good design and give clients tangible outputs.