Tyne and Wear HER(15093): North Kenton Estate - Details
North Kenton Estate
Gordon Ryder and Peter Yates wanted to develop their ideas used at Thorntree Gill in Peterlee. They were appointed in 1962 by Newcastle City Council to design a high profile social housing scheme (over 600 dwellings) at North Kenton. Ru Williams, later Ted Nicklin was the design architect. The North Kenton Estate, built in 1964, reflected the government's Parker Morris Report ('Houses for Today and Tommorrow'), which set minimum standards for public housing. The design also reflected increased car ownership (each house had an allocated garage). Pedestrian and vehicular spaces were separate. The site had several problems - it was north facing, exposed to the wind and was steeply sloping. Central heating served the ground floor. Thermal insulation and tv aerials were hidden inside the dwellins so not to spoil the roofscape. A road encircled the northern and western boundaries of the estate with an exit onto Kenton Lane. The houses, shops and schools were served by spurs from the main ring road. There was pedestrian access to all buildings. A central core at the intersection of the three main pedestrian routes housed all the public buildings - shops with two duplex flats over each one, schools and public house (had public, cocktail and men-only bars). There were play space and recreational areas. Infant play areas had a sandpit sheltered by shrubs with low walls and integral seating. Junior play areas had permanent play equipment and sculpture, swings, slides and roundabouts enclosed by walls, seats and planting. On the upper level of the central public square there was a piazza with a pool, fountain and sculpure, groups of trees and small areas of flowers. At the lower level there was a decorative play garden with curved pre-cast concrete screens. At North Kenton there were eight house and flat types. The dwellings provided the new requirements - space for homework, hobbies, central heating (warm air or under floor) and insultation. Flat roofs were a key design aesthetic of Ryder and Yates's work but the un-insulated mineral roofing felt failed. Other construction problems included ultraviolet radiation, thermal stress and condensation. Nevertheless, North Kenton has survived remarkably well, apart from replacement doors and windows.
Rutter Carroll, 2009, Ryder and Yates - Twentieth Century Architects, pp 41-42; The Journal, 7 September 1967, 'Good housing designs take top awards'; Ministry of Housing and Local Government, 1962, circular No. 13/62 'Homes for Today and Tomorrow'; Northern Echo, 17 January 1964, 'Top People's Rents for New Estate'