JDDK to expand RIBA Enterprises' Newcastle HQ

Local practice Jane Darbyshire & David Kendall picked to refurbish and extend Old Post Office building

RIBA Enterprises has chosen Jane Darbyshire & David Kendall (JDDK) to carry out a major expansion of its Newcastle premises at the Old Post Office in the city centre. The practice was chosen from a shortlist of six following a competition run by the RIBA Competitions office and an interview with a panel including RIBA president Stephen Hodder.

Newcastle's Old Post Office.
Newcastle's Old Post Office.

JDDK, which is itself based in Newcastle, formed in 1987, and has undertaken a range of work across the north-east of England, including award-winning housing and public schemes. It has expertise in environmentally low impact design – a key part of the brief. The firm beat competition from five other local firms: Napper Architects, +3 Architects, Ryder, Space Group and Xsite Architecture.

The project will expand the space occupied by RIBA Enterprises from 18,000sq ft to 26,000sq ft through a combination of refurbishment, extension and some new building. In addition to housing RIBA Enterprise’s 180 Newcastle employees, the bigger vision for the development includes the creation of an architecture gallery and possibly a lecture theatre and other social spaces to host industry and public events.

Commenting on the appointment, RIBA Enterprises’ chief executive Richard Waterhouse said: ‘It was a great process, and I’m absolutely delighted with the result. It was a difficult decision as we had six excellent practices on the shortlist, but JDDK fulfilled all of our requirements.’

RIBA Enterprise's Old Post Office HQ in Newcastle.
RIBA Enterprise's Old Post Office HQ in Newcastle.

The architect is going to have to deal not only with the Old Post Office being a listed building with a complex refurbishment brief, but with Waterhouse’s wish to use the refurbishment as a technological exemplar for the industry in the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM).

JDDK director Ian Clarke commented: ‘We are delighted to have won this prestigious commission, and are looking forward to working with RIBA Enterprises to help realise their ambitions for their headquarters. The project offers the great contrast of a heritage city centre site in Newcastle and a very ambitious, forward-looking brief – a combination we find very exciting.’

RIBA Enterprises’ Waterhouse added: ‘Our aim is not just to get a great building that will inspire customers, colleagues and the local community, but to develop a case study of the process involved that will be of use to the industry.’

The project, whose budget has yet to be announced, has a projected completion date of June 2015.