Leeds School of Arts

Wildlife hide collaboration with RSPB and Environment Agency

Students from our MArch Architecture course recently completed a collaborative project on the construction of new seal and bird hides on a North East nature reserve.

Computer Render of Seal Hide

In November 2017, BMMJV-working on behalf of the Environment Agency, RSPB and Teesside Environmental Trust, approached a number of Universities for expressions of interest in the design and erecting of a seal and bird hide. The hides where to be located on Greatham Creek between Middlesbrough and Hartlepool.

Computer Render of Bird Hide

Computer generated render of the bird hide design

The budget of the project was a lump sum of £100k, with a completion date of November 2018. The client group elected to run with Leeds Beckett Universities Abstract Machine Studio, which is part of the School of Architectures MArch course. The Abstract Machine Studio are proponents of digital design and fabrication methodologies in architecture, with a track record in the design and production of built works.

Students of the Abstract Machine met with the consortia of interested parties in February 2018 presenting a range of initial designs. The designs were well received, leading to a final design of both the bird and seal hide being developed by both students and alumni of the studio. The designs were presented to the client in April 2018 and signed off for production.

Seal Hide During Construction
Seal Hide During Construction Stage 2

The Seal Hide during construction

The seal and bird hides are both Cor-Ten steel fabrications, over-looking the estuary and newly created salt marsh. They were officially opened on Thursday 8 November 2018 by Sir James Bevan the chief executive of the Environment Agency, the event featuring on the BBC Look North Tyneside news program.

Bird Hide

Completed bird hide

Completed Seal Hide

Completed Seal Hide

Further Information

Keith Andrews

Senior Lecturer - / Leeds School Of Arts

Keith is Deputy Head of the Leeds School of Architecture, coordinator of postgraduate architectural technology, and the course leader of the MA Architecture. He also directs the MArch (Master of Architecture) studio Abstract Machine.

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