Rochester Roundhouse

School of Architecture Planning & Landscape, Newcastle University, Rochester, 2016


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View from the south 

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  • View from the south    
  • External deck    
  • Sedum roof    
  • Drystone amphitheatre    
  • External view    
  • Ukulele lessons in the pavilion    
  • Amphitheatre    
  • A storytelling event    
  • Kids drum workshop    
  • location plan    
  • site plan    
  • pavilion plan    
  • sections    
  • elevations    
  • pavilion long section    
  • pavilion elevations    
  • community consultation    
  • community design event    
  • groundworks    
  • drystone walling training    
  • wall panels    
  • cladding    
  • construction sequence    
  • detail    

A self-build timber pavilion and outdoor amphitheatre that provides a multi-purpose community space in the Northumberland National Park

The Rochester Roundhouse is the latest project to be completed as part of the 'Testing Ground' programme which was established in 2012 by The School of Architecture Planning and Landscape at Newcastle University and the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust through its commissioning programme Art & Architecture at Kielder.

Testing Ground is an ongoing series of modestly scaled self-build architectural projects constructed in rural Northumberland with the aim of encouraging public engagement with architecture and user participation in design and build activities. Each project is founded on an intensely local approach to design and has sought social sustainability by working directly and collaboratively with communities to identify and support local needs.

The projects are designed and constructed by architecture students working alongside a volunteer workforce, using locally available resources, local expertise and craft skills whilst also providing training opportunities and adding direct social and economic benefits to the local community.

The Rochester Roundhouse is located on a dramatic site in Rochester village just to the south of the ancient Roman fort of Bremenium. The project comprises a circular dry stone wall (reused from the Brigantium Roundhouse) to provide an open-air amphitheatre and an associated timber pavilion which are used for a range of community organised events, including music and theatrical performances, stargazing, exhibitions, workshops and village meetings.


  • Begun: Jan 2016
  • Completed: Aug 2016
  • Floor area: 43m2
  • Sector: Civic
  • Total cost: £16,465
  • Funding: Newcastle University, Rochester Parish Council, Northumberland National Park
  • Tender date: Oct 2016
  • Procurement: Self-build
  • Address: Brigantium Roundhouse Site, A68, Northumberland, Rochester, NE19 1RH, United Kingdom