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1966 April: Gas Board HQ by Ryder and Yates

Accounting, engineering, legal and administrative which were previously scattered throughout Newcastle are all placed in the same building. It is called Norgas House and stands in parkland to the south of the artificial lake which forms the centre of the new township of Killingworth, an extension of the main urban area of Newcastle which will soon be directly linked by urban motorway, via the Tyne Tunnel, to the Durham seaboard.

South-west front

South-west front

Maximum flexibility was required since the Gas Board’s activities are subject to change and extension. This has been achieved by planning the building on two main levels and leaving most of the ground floor temporarily open, with 12,000 sq. ft. of it available for use in the future without disturbing the remainder. The heating installation has been designed to allow for this future extension. In the office space demountable partitions are used throughout on a 5ft. 3in. modular grid. Modular ceiling panels ensure a unified interior.

South-west front

South-west front

Construction is with a steel frame on pile foundations. The framing consists of two-storey single bay secondary frames carried on bridge beams of 21ft. span, themselves carried on three-storey main frames. The upper part of the main frames is similar to the secondary frames and the lower part consists of columns with deck beams, cantilevered out at either end and carrying the upper frame supporting the second floor and flat roof. The two upper floors are clad with anodized aluminium curtain walling with infill panels of vitreous enamelled steel sheet, backed by asbestos and expanded polystyrene.

Night view of the office

Night view of the office

Cleaning is by a suspended cradle, with tracks at roof level. The main office areas and control room are air conditioned. The restaurant and kitchen have forced warm air heating and mechanical extract ventilation. The conditioned air in the offices is distributed from induction units at each window cill. The boiler house, containing three gas-fired boilers, is placed at one end of the entrance hall and can be viewed by visitors through a plate-glass panel.


Twentieth Century Architects

The C20 Society, with English Heritage and RIBA Publications, has published a monograph on the work of Ryder and Yates, by Rutter Carroll (April 2009).

The C20 Society campaigns for the preservation of post 1914 buildings, find out more and become a member on the C20 website.

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