Ollie has designs on success

Talented architectural graduate Ollie Currie, 28, of Newcastle-based Alston Murphy Associates, has been shortlisted in a UK awards scheme that could see the transformation of pockets of overlooked space in the North East.

The Forgotten Spaces 2012 awards are being organised by RIBA North East in partnership with industry magazine Architects’ Journal, in a bid to encourage imaginative proposals to improve and celebrate the region’s left out areas.

Ollie’s idea for a City Wall Circuit proposes a series of coloured beams and LEDs that help people retrace existing and lost sections of Newcastle’s ancient city walls, and could see him collect a £5000 prize and have his proposal showcased in a public exhibition in autumn.

“Even though not all the length of the wall is visible now, it is still a reminder of our great heritage and worth celebrating,” said Ollie.

“Ironically, while invaders failed to penetrate the wall, a combination of deterioration and development has resulted in the wall becoming a forgotten space.

“My hobby is motorsport and I wanted to create a circuit for cars that as far as possible retraced the line of the old walls, showing where the six main gates stood and where new and old roads dissect the walls. Coloured beams and beacons identify various points of interest along the way, and the scheme could work as both a visitor trail or even a motorsport event to boost sustainable tourism.”

Alston Murphy’s team submission, Lost Icons, has also been shortlisted in the awards. This involves a series of periscope-like viewing platforms and interventions along a route around the city, creating an alternative sight-seeing trail and using modern technology to juxtapose images of past and present views and give users a unique perspective on lost icons of the North East.

Iain Murphy, head of Alston Murphy Associates, said: “We are delighted that Ollie’s talent, and that of the rest of our team, has been recognised in the shortlists and we are looking forward to the finals. We encourage all our staff to enter competitions and awards, as a way to spread their professional wings a little, challenge preconceptions and show people what they can do.

“Forgotten Spaces 2012 is the perfect opportunity for architects, designers and artists to test out their ideas and bring some new thinking to the spaces that surround us.

“We hope the awards will encourage local authorities, landowners and investors to see what is possible, and maybe even spark a re-think about areas that have not been seen as potentially profitable or worth developing.”

The awards were open to all UK university students and professionals within the arts, design and built environment, and entries were judged on accessibility, sustainability, inclusivity and cost relative to the site.

A panel of judges will award first, second and third prizes, for £5000, £2000 and £1000 respectively. The winners will be announced at the launch of the Forgotten Spaces 2012 exhibition in autumn, which will give people the chance to see 25 of the best proposals.

Alston Murphy Associates celebrated 20 years in business last year, with a move to bigger premises and the successful completion of its 75th care home.

The company has a UK-wide client list and has worked on architecture and interior design projects ranging from nurseries, private homes and offices through to sports centres, churches and heritage buildings. Its care home designs range from the tightest of budgets through to the luxury end of the market, with contemporary designs including roof gardens and terraces.

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