The iconic Art Deco Co‐operative store in the heart of Newcastle is a Grade II listed building which opened as a flagship store in 1932. With its twin towers, sweeping curves and huge windows it was once one of the city’s most elegant shopping outfits. When we began work, it was suffering from severe neglect, including water ingression and dry and wet rot. The majority of the building had been empty for more than 10 years and its famous clock faces had been stolen and its roof and beautiful dome had been stripped of copper. Given the building’s significance, architecturally and locally, we worked with our historical buildings consultant to ensure we could preserve this once proud building for future generations. We created a sensitive programme of works worthy of its heritage.
However, we faced the regulations and restrictions which come with working on a Grade II listed building, as well as challenges from working on a tight, city centre site.
The scale of the building was vast – 15,000m2 – and due to planning regulations we had to demolish the building brick‐by‐brick and restore and rebuild it again all at the same time. It comprised painstaking efforts to salvage and restore where possible and recreate using traditional skills. We sourced some of the original companies which had worked on the building to help retain the features from its glory days while providing a modern, insulated 184‐bed building fit for the Premier Inn hotel group, basement gym and ground floor retail units.