GT3 Architects, The National Trust, and Northumbria Uni give creative students their lucky break

Leading architecture practice GT3 Architects has teamed up with the National Trust and Northumbria University to search for the next generation of architects. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the scheme is part of the Rising Stars creative partnership strand of the Trust’s Curtain Rises project.

The live project was set up to encourage and inspire students, give them an opportunity to flex their creative skills, and offer invaluable industry experience. With more than 20 students from Northumbria’s BA Interior Architecture programme taking part in the project, Hattie Keel was crowned the winner with her striking structure centred around visual trickery.

Hattie’s design was unveiled with a celebration at Seaton Delaval Hall, where it is located for visitors to enjoy.

Taylor Grindley, project architect at GT3, was the day-to-day lead on the work. He said:

We really enjoyed taking part in the Rising Stars project and working closely with the National Trust and Northumbria University. All the designs were fantastic and incredibly creative, but Hattie’s really blew us all away.

“We worked really closely with Hattie to ensure all aspects of the design were viable and that we could bring it to life, with the construction handled by Raskl. We love educating and inspiring the next generation of architects and designers, so the Rising Stars project has been a brilliant experience.”

GT3 Architects, which has studios in Nottingham and Newcastle, was approached by Northumbria University and the National Trust to assist with the project and provide engaging speakers who would inspire the students.

Hattie, who recently graduated from Northumbria University has also since secured a job with GT3 and is now working as a designer at their Nottingham office. She said:

“I’ve really enjoyed the entire process and seeing my initial concept brought to life, thanks to GT3 and Raskl.

“My design was inspired by the playfulness and trickery of the Delaval family, who lived in Seaton Delaval Hall in the 18th century. I wanted to provide a space for visitors to sit and dwell within the structure. The seats therefore follow the natural folds of origami, enabling visitors to interact and engage with the structure.”

“Working with GT3 really opened my eyes to the architectural world and gave me an insight into the real-life workings of a creative project. It has been such a rewarding experience and having my design chosen has given me a huge confidence boost, building not only my creative confidence but also my communication skills and knowledge.”

Emma Thomas, the National Trust’s general manager of Seaton Delaval Hall, said:

“Hattie’s excellent design helped us achieve our ambition of telling the stories of the Hall and our National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported project more creatively to members and visitors.  The Rising Stars project has supported the employment and soft skills development of Northumbria University’s students and at the same time helped the National Trust realise several creative and conservation-based ambitions.”

Paul Ring, head of the architecture subject group at Northumbria University, said:

“In creative partnership with the National Trust, Rising Stars provides a folio of live project experiences for our students across many creative disciplines, and we are delighted that Hattie’s design was chosen and then built for the National Trust’s visitors at Seaton Delaval Hall.”

“GT3 worked with students to guide them through client meetings, design detailing, budget, and fabrication decisions. Hattie is without doubt a more informed and accomplished designer thanks to this experience and we are exceptionally grateful to GT3 and the National Trust for the opportunity, their expertise, and their support to our students.”

The installations are available to visit in the Saloon at Seaton Delaval Hall.

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