Top 5 Architectural Wonders Of Newcastle Upon Tyne

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Newcastle boasts some fantastic architecture. It’s a city bursting with buildings of an eclectic mix of styles and periods. From Roman to postmodernist, ours is a place of rich architectural heritage.

As it is, architecture and graphic design are not worlds apart. They both share a common goal of aesthetic harmony. They are both, at heart, visual endeavours. And if you look close enough, you’ll see distinctive graphical styles reflected in architecture. From the flamboyant Art Nouveau period of the 20s, to the postmodernist period of the 60s. And, visa versa, often graphic designers will look to architectural styles for inspiration in their own work.  

So, to honour the wonderful art of architecture, here are Red Square’s top five architectural wonders of Newcastle upon Tyne.

5 - St. Andrew’s Church

Dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, one of the most charming aspects of this church is how it proudly stands alongside an eclectic mix of modern   There’s the new Eldon Square development just across the road, the art deco Co-op building next door, and Percy Street just up along the way. It’s so strange to see an old church like this nestled in the heart of a bustling city. And for that St. Andrew’s stands out even more, with its old gothic aesthetic and graveyard.

The reason St. Andrew’s church made the list above the likes of St. Nicholas’s Cathedral is simply a personal preference for smaller churches. Not only that, but the architecture of a church carries with it the story of its history. And to look closely is to see the influence of each historical period it’s lived through, etched into the walls.

This really is a wonderful example of our ancestral architectural heritage.

4 - Newcastle Central Station

Newcastle’s one-and-only station, opened in 1850, is a wonderfully strong and imposing building. Its grand entrance portico has incredibly strong-looking, and its interior is impressive and sweeping.

The design of the station was quite avant-garde for its time, with the sweeping barrel-vaulted ceiling of its interior. There’s also an interesting juxtaposition of the intricate, almost fragile, ironwork on the inside and the massive stonework on the outside.

This is a big statement of a building, whose effect is enhanced by the fact that it is many people’s entry-point into the city.

3 - Civic Centre

Perhaps a curveball choice considering the era in which it was designed. But the Civic Centre stands as one of the better examples of 1960s architecture in Newcastle.

Designed by architect George Kenyon, the Civic Centre projects a distinctly sparse, Scandinavian aesthetic. Which is fitting considering that it was formally opened by HM King Olav V of Norway.

What makes the building extra-special is its many sculptural embellishments. From the vertically inclined ‘River God Tyne’ and ‘Swans in Flight’ statues, to the stylised seahorses and several abstract murals. There’s a lot of artistry to the place, which only adds to the overall appeal of the building itself.

2 - 117 Newgate Street: Co-operative department store

The fantastic former Co-op department store building, now home to a Premier Inn, is a classic in Art Deco style. Built in 1902, this striking piece of architecture is one Newcastle’s greatest heritage pieces.

The interior is especially impressive, and thankfully the new hotel has retained many of the original Art Deco features. In fact, the developers peeled back much of the 60s and 70s decor to reveal the original 1930s details.

One of the primary interior features which has been kept is the handrail of the main staircase, adorned with little stylised figures of running men. There’s also a restored war memorial inside the building, commemorating the Co-op workers who died in the war.

1 - Grey Street

The most famous street in Newcastle. Originally part of John Dobson’s plans for a new town centre in the 1830s, and named for Earl Grey. This street was once home to bankers and financial clerks — a far cry from its current occupants, made up mostly of diners and drinkers. With its continuous sweep of classic columns, Georgian windows, and neo classical-style buildings, this street is a feast for the eyes.

The uniformity of the buildings is incredibly aesthetically pleasing. All enhanced, of course, by the street’s iconic gentle curve.

Grey Street really is a sprawling treasure in Newcastle’s heart. And was voted “best street in the UK” by Radio 4 listeners in 2002.

So that's our top 5! Now what about yours? Have we missed any of your favourite geordie buildings off the list? Let us know in the comments!

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