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The Warm Room

Newcastle University School of Architecture, 2015

An astronomers' warm room and cooking shelter for Kielder Campsite users

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Students at Newcastle University's School of Architecture worked with Kielder Art & Architecture and the Kielder village community to design and build a warm room for stargazers and other campsite users.

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Kielder Campsite is signposted off the C200 a quarter of a mile north of Kielder Village in the direction of the Scottish border. The Warm Room is sited in the middle of the campsite adjacent to other site facilities.

The Warm Room was initiated as part of the continuing collaboration between Kielder Art & Architecture's Testing Ground programme and Newcastle University School of Architecture.

Architecture students held their first discussions with the community in spring 2014, and subsequently developed a brief for the project, presenting their ideas at a community meeting in the autumn.

To encourage a range of design options to come forward, the brief was deliberately kept open but described the purpose of the building as a 'warm room' for campsite users engaged in stargazing who would benefit from an internal space to warm up and to use and charge laptops and other equipment.

The campsite was also interested in the design incorporating a sheltered but 'external' cooking area for use by campers in inclement weather.

The warm room itself needed to hold up to 10 people, have the option for white or red night lighting and provide work surfaces and electrical outlets for users. Its preferred location was also agreed during early university visits. 

 

In response to this students presented three proposals:

Proposal 1

Proposal 2

Proposal 3

 

Proposal 1 was selected with the addition of some elements from the other proposals. This was then developed to a final design over the following months.

 

Foundations were prepared in early January...

...while the structure was being fabricated in the University's workshops.

Most of the installation took place over a week in late January starting with the main timber frames...

...followed by the ply skin.

The tall Warm Room windows were installed...

...the weather closed in, but work continued.

Next day the sun came out and the external waterproof membrane briefly turned the building black.

Larch cladding completed the exterior...

IMAGES TO COME

and the interior fitted with a skin of larch ply.

 

The project was completed in March 2014.

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The Warm Room and Kielder Campsite are close to Kielder village and Kielder Castle, the home of the Minotaur maze and the Birdhide.

Cyclists and Walkers can access the Lakeside Way and Kielder Water from Kielder village to travel along either the north shore via Kielder Viaduct, or the south shore towards Lewisburn, Leaplish and Tower Knowe.

Three miles along the C200 towards Scotland is the Source of the North Tyne sculpture. A short distance in the opposite direction towards Leaplish and Kielder Water is the access road leading to the Kielder Skyspace and Observatory.