Byker Redevelopment

Ralph Erskine, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1982


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Inside Byker wall 

B. Toomey, G.Clarke     Download Original

  • Inside Byker wall    
  • Housing on Byker estate    
  • New byker encircles the old    
  • Church and Byker wall    
  • Corner shop in planted square    
  • Inside the wall    
  • Old building accomodated by the wall    
  • Old byker and the wall    
  • Stairs between housing    
  • The wilfully sinuous wall    
  • Access decks with rail to lean on    
  • Children socialising    
  • Location plan    
  • Site plan    
  • Typical ground and first floor plans    
  • Typical plans    
  • Typical section and plans of Wall    
  • Section and ground floor plan of two-person home    
  • Section through three-storey house    
  • Section through external wall    

Housing scheme which sought to maintain the spirit of a community whilst redeveloping its environment

Ralph Erskine’s Byker Estate comprehensively redeveloped an area of run-down housing approaching 200 acres. Existing housing was gradually replaced in phases from 1969-1982 in order that Byker’s residents could continue to live on site.

The Byker ‘wall’ is the redevelopment’s best known feature, a string of undulating blocks ranging from three to twelve storeys in height, intended to protect the northern edge of the development from the noise of a proposed motorway.

The wall’s height allows lower blocks and large areas of green space to occupy the centre of the site, whilst maintaining the overall density of the redevelopment. It also defines the edge of a largely car-free zone, with most car parking kept to the perimeter of the site. The provision of these car-free public spaces was intended to encourage social interaction and foster the community spirit Erskine sought to preserve.

In 2007 the Byker Redevelopment received a Grade II listing in recognition of its innovative planning.


  • Begun: 1969
  • Completed: 1982
  • Sector: Residential
  • Address: Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE6 2DQ, United Kingdom

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