The art and architecture of Peter Yates and Gordon Ryder at Kenton, Newcastle upon Tyne

Bob Giddings, Oliver Moss

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This paper sets out to investigate the origins and legacy of a significant 1960s modernist public housing estate in the North East of England. This estate at Kenton Bar remains virtually intact, and as such represents a unique example in Newcastle upon Tyne. Its architects, Ryder and Yates, had personal contact with Le Corbusier, Georges Braque, Berthold Lubetkin, Ove Arup and Clive Entwistle; and the influence and mentorship of these individuals is clearly evident in the design. Being selected to join the small team at Peterlee New Town in 1948, provided the opportunity for Ryder and Yates to work together for the first time. The experience enriched their architectural vocabulary and modernist values; and ultimately led to the establishment of their business partnership in 1953. By the time of Kenton Bar, it was by far the largest project that their architectural practice had undertaken. The office was greatly appreciative of Eric Lyons and Span Developments, and their work appears as a distinct precedent in the layout. With a pyramid in its central square, and an assortment of innovative design installations, the estate resonated strongly and immediately with residents.Today, even the pyramid that was removed some years ago, lives on in the collective memory of residents, past and present. Recently, weblogs have been established; and collages and models produced by artists, as well as adults and children from the Estate, in the style of the original design presentations. Fifty years after it was conceived, the interest of local artists and galleries, the tenants’ association, former residents, and pupils of the primary school specifically designed to be at the heart of the estate may not be unprecedented but it is certainly rare. Ryder and Yates have created a living monument to twentieth-century ideas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-154
JournalArchitectural Research Quarterly
Issue number2
Early online date13 Feb 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Feb 2018


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