Gibside Carriage House Cafe

Ben Elliott Architects, Gateshead , 2014


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  • Ground floor plan    
  • External elevation    
  • Internal NE elevation    
  • Internal NW elevation    
  • Internal SE elevation    
  • Internal SW elevation    
  • Site plan    
  • Detail    

Refurbishment of a grade II* listed stable block into a cafe.

The project demonstrates the creative re-use of an existing grade II* listed stable block which sits within the grounds of the National Trust’s magnificent 18th Century landscaped estate of Gibside.

The intervention is very small in size and budget, and was an exercise in careful detailing and the subtle use of materials. The concept was to insert a crafted timber lining within the space; minimising the impact on the historic fabric of the existing building whilst adding an explicitly modern layer to be read as part of the evolution of the building.

The design is humble in detail and material, taking its cues from the toned down grandeur of the Georgian stables. The panelling makes reference to Georgian interiors whilst taking its proportional cues from the pragmatics required of a café as well as the datum of the stonework arches within the main courtyard.

The glazed wall reveals the stone arches internally as well as the courtyard beyond whilst externally the deep set glazing is recessive visually and is articulated as a separate element through the deeper shadow.

The new internal lining is warm and inviting, and reflects some of the native timber species found in the woods around the estate. Constructed in ash boards and birch faced plywood panels, occasional panels have been removed to reveal unique features of the carriage store, reminding visitors of the history of the building. Internal finishes continue the tradition of hard wearing, practical, natural materials, whilst precise, modern detailing and craftsmanship articulate the scheme as a contemporary addition to the layers of history within the estates buildings.


  • Begun: Jan 2014
  • Completed: Mar 2014
  • Floor area: 34m2
  • Sectors: Arts and culture, Public realm
  • Total cost: £50,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Dec 2013
  • Procurement: JCT Minor Works
  • Address: Stable Block, National Trust, Gibside Estate, Nr Rowlands Gill , Gateshead , NE16 6BG, United Kingdom

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