November 28, 2022

sookhouse

Interior The Freshmaker

Home of famed North East architect John Dobson and demolished Liquid nightclub set for office revamp

The former home of a celebrated North East architect that later became part of one of Newcastle’s most popular nightclubs is set for a new lease of life.

Council chiefs have backed plans to refurbish the disused John Dobson House in the city centre to turn it into office space. The neoclassical home in New Bridge Street West was built by John Dobson, who designed Central Station and worked with Richard Grainger to transform the centre of Newcastle, in 1823 for himself and his family.

But it will be better known to many Geordies for being a part of some of the city’s most famous venues. A huge dance hall built next to the villa saw it joined onto a complex that opened as the Oxford Galleries ballroom in 1925 and was later reborn multiple times as Tiffany’s, The Studio, Ritzy, Ikon, Central Park, Diva, Liquid/Envy and Club LQ.

Read More: Demolition work begins to tear down one of Newcastle city centre’s ugliest buildings

The dance hall was finally torn down in 2015 to make way for a student flats development and the grade II* listed house has stood empty since then. But it will soon be home to architects once more, after Newcastle City Council approved plans to have the building converted into a new base for local firm GT3.

The company, which has offices in Jesmond, is now set to move into the house of one of the region’s most revered designers – a space that their planning application states will “support their growing business and reflect their interest in architecture and, in particular, a high quality work space”.



The former Liquid night club, in Newcastle, which is being demolished
The former Liquid night club, in Newcastle, when it was being demolished in 2015

They added: “GT3 aim to have a workplace to reflect their office culture, which promotes flexible working and a focus on producing high quality work, through design and delivery of projects. Central to all other objectives, is a desire to support and inspire their people; both staff, communities and clients alike.

“John Dobson House will provide a rich environment for GT3 to work. The building, as existing, embodies the principles of high quality design which is first and foremost practical, yet still creates an attractive and welcoming space.”

A council report concluded that the architecture firm had a “good level of awareness of the significance of the building as a heritage asset” to the city. City planners said: “The proposed works to the building include the creation of office space across the ground, first and second floors, with staff facilities and plant located in the basement.

“Minor changes to the internal layout and the renewal of electrical and heating services are also proposed, together with general refurbishment works. The conversion of the building to office use is supported in conservation terms.

“The application demonstrates a good level of awareness of the significance of the building as a heritage asset and is considered to respond reasonably well to the constraints this imposes. Although some minor harm would result from penetrations through the external fabric, the proposals are relatively light-touch, reversible and largely preserve the building as found.”

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