The Malings

Working with Igloo Regeneration, Ash Sakula has created a new neighbourhood of seventy-six homes on the site of the former Malings Pottery in Newcastle.

Located on the bank of the River Ouseburn, in a steep-sided, ex-industrial valley The Malings is designed to nurture a genuine sense of cohesion and engagement among the inhabitants.

The architectural critic Rowan Moore described the scheme as embodying “the spirit of Tyneside compressed into a sociable, varied, intriguing new neighbourhood. It is a masterclass in quiet invention, style and sustainable living. If its lessons are followed by Newcastle, Gateshead and other British cities, its influence could be profound.” (The Observer, November 2015)

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Ash Sakula has been engaged with the future of the Ouseburn Valley for ten years, combining hundreds of conversations in pubs, streets and homes - “loitering with intent” - with formal consultation and collaboration.

The design of The Malings grew out of understanding what was happening there in combination with a radical approach to place-making and housing design.

Our new streets run down the contours of the valley towards the river, rather than across the slope, following desire lines to connect into surrounding neighbourhoods.

Avoiding the expected apartment block typologies, we shaped a neighbourhood of houses and streets forming sequences of spaces of varying character.

Its simple, syncopated architecture of brick walls and windows has hidden subtleties, curving with the landscape and avoiding repetition.

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The Malings blends traditional terraced street typologies with a combination of stacked duplexes, courtyard dwellings, back-to-backs and six-storey tower houses. The stacked duplexes are a contemporary variant of the local Tyneside Flat.

No two homes are identical and every home has its own front door onto the street, as well as either a small garden or a large roof terrace.

A genuine sense of cohesion and engagement has been nurtured by Ash Sakula’s characteristically convivial approach to outdoor and communal spaces, which treats cycle stores and recycling areas as opportunities to promote informal encounters between people and promotes shared resources such as communal allotments.

A successful addition to the scheme is a craftsman-made feasting table where residents hold diverse parties and events.

You can learn about the community of The Malings at our post-completion project site: https://peopleofthemalings.co.uk

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Our compact design increased the number of units on site beyond the original requirement. It has delivered commercial value and all homes sold at prices higher than anticipated.

The Malings provides apartment density without the cost. There are no common parts, lifts or corridors, so net to gross is 100%. This meant less capital cost for the developer and lower service charges for residents.

It has attracted a particularly lively, diverse and creative-minded community of residents who readily engage in the thriving residents’ association and contribute creatively to the cultural invigoration of the area.

Following the completion of the scheme, the neighbourhood is thriving, with new businesses such as a pottery, a café restaurant and a brewery pub opening on adjacent sites.

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Architect: Ash Sakula 

Civils, structure and transport: Civic Engineers

Developer: Igloo Regeneration

Planning Authority: Newcastle City Council 

Contractor: Gentoo Tolent

Number of homes: 76 

Net density: 138 dwellings per hectare 

Apartments: 14 x 1-bed, 22 x 2-bed, 15 x 3-bed 

Houses: 11 x 2-bed, 9 x 3-bed, 5 x 4-bed 

Smallest–largest home size: 43sqm–134sqm

Awards

2018 Lord Mayor's Design Awards Housing Category Winner

2017 RIBA Award for Architecture

2016 Supreme Winner, Housing Design Awards

2016 RICS Regeneration and Residential Awards

2013 Housing Design Awards Project Award

Sustainability 

Achieves Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 

Off-site modular timber-frame construction

Locally sourced brick and timber windows

SUDS drainage principles used, with rills, gabions and rain gardens  

Fabric-first approach: building envelopes are highly insulated, doors and windows are high performance 

MVHR (Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery) 

Sloping, south-facing roofs house photovoltaics

Meets all Building for Life criteria

Achieves Igloo's Footprint accreditation