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Coreena Ford

Former Newcastle city nightclub and home to architect John Dobson to become new base for growing firm

A growing architecture practice is transforming a former Newcastle nightclub into its new head office after buying the historic building.

John Dobson House on New Bridge Street west was once the family home of celebrated Tyneside architect John Dobson, the designer behind Central Station who worked with Richard Grainger to create much of the city centre in the 19th Century. But the building will be better known to several generations of Geordies for providing part of the home to a number of popular night spots including Ikon, Liquid and Tiffany’s.

In the 1920s an adjoining dance hall helped to create the Oxford Galleries ballroom, and in more recent times it was reborn as Tiffany’s, The Studio, Ritzy, Ikon, Central Park, Diva, Liquid/Envy and Club LQ. Now the neoclassical building, designed and built by John Dobson himself in 1823, is coming full circle to provide a base for the current generation of designers as the head office for GT3 Architects.

Read more: Newcastle's magnificent Grey Street as it was 85 years ago - and the same view today

The company – which has studios in Newcastle and Nottingham – has purchased the four-storey, Grade II listed building to bring a fresh purpose to the site, and has been granted permission to turn it into offices.

Simon Dunstan, director at GT3 Architects, said: “As a Newcastle-based business, it’s important that we’re located in the heart of the city as it undergoes transformational regeneration. We want to be able to offer our colleagues, clients, and visitors a well-connected location, close to the railway station and with all the facilities of our fantastic city on the doorstep.

“We’re pleased to give such a historic building - designed and lived in by one of Newcastle’s most pre-eminent architects - a new lease of life and a sustainable and secure future. Our first priority is to get the building sensitively and comprehensively refurbished. We have a local contractor already on site and are excited to see the transformation progress over the summer.”

The work on John Dobson House will form part of the wider regeneration of the Newcastle’s city centre, alongside the new HMRC headquarters in the Pilgrim’s Quarter complex.

Tiffany's nightclub hosts electro and hip-hop event The Sidewalk in 1983. DJ Stesh, a local musician set up an outlet for kids to showcase their dance skills at the club every Saturday afternoon (Newcastle Chronicle)

GT3 Architects has grown its staff base by more than 17% over the past year and the new office space will accommodate the growing workforce in a series of phases, incorporating flexible work zones, collaborative spaces, quiet corners, an outdoor terrace, and a social kitchen which can also double up as a movie space.

Michael Simpson, interiors and workplace lead at GT3 Architects, said: “We’ve got lots of experience designing amazing workspaces to suit the needs of the new working world so this is a great opportunity to employ our creativity and really go to town designing an amazing space for our team.

“With four levels to play with, our interiors and consultancy teams are working to design a homely, welcoming, and flexible space. Our goal is to deliver a new Geordie home for GT3, which will support our staff, meet the needs of our flexible working policy, and provide a great new meeting and collaboration space for guests and clients.”

GT3 Architects will move into its new home later this year.


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