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Rebecca Iwnicki. Portfolio.

Contents. 01. Yeavering Bell Visitor Centre 4 02. The Young Lit & Phil 12 03. Intervention 20 04. Invisible Cities 26

01. Yeavering Bell Visitor Centre.

The brief was to design a visitor centre for visitors to Ad Gefrin mountain in the heart of the Northumbrian countryside. The final design should reflect the deep history and spirituality of the beautiful location and enhance the experience for the many hikers that visit this site every day. I was inspired by the stories in Celtic mythology of the ‘Thin Places’, these are spiritual places where the boundary between past, present and future, and between heaven and earth are thin. Places for peace and meditation. Embedding the buildings into the hillside enhances the connection to the earth and specifically to the site where so many of the historic artefacts displayed in the museum part of the visitor centre were discovered. Roof lights bring down glimpses of sky, emphasising the depth as well as connecting the heavens to the earth.

Exterior Perspective of Cafe Building.



Above: Site Plan Below: Site section a-a

Interior shot of youth hostel living/kitchen space

Interior shot of museum

02. The Young Lit & Phil.

View of Tyne Bridge from site

The Literary and Philosophical Society in Newcastle-upon-Tyne is a historic library, founded in 1793 as a ‘conversation club’ and still in use today as a library for lending and reference. The Young Lit & Phil will be a specialised library based on the Literary and Philosophical society of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, it will be specialising in film, specifically in promoting independent film makers from the area and film artists. A small cinema will be included within the building as well as a gallery space specifically designed to show film art. This will be a place where professionals working within the art/film industries can come together with students and other people looking to get into the industry or just interested in film and art. Discussions will be held after films or during exhibitions as well as talks from visiting professionals.

Above right: View of city walls from back of site Above left: Castle Keep Left: Development sketches showing glass circulation section

Interior shot of bar/restaurant

Interior shot of lobby, reception desk and bookshop

-Technical Section. 3


2 4




- 100mm rigid board insulation - Sloped concrete topper - Aluminum capping to parapet


- reinforced concrete roof - Bitumen vapour barrier - 200mm rigid board insulation - Plastic sealing layer - 50mm drainage layer of gravel - 50mm paving slabs

3 -

- structural glazing panels of 1600mmX700mm - 100mm depth structural transoms - 200mm depth structural mullions

4 -

- acoustical ceiling panels attached to metal hangers fixed to concrete floor slab - Reinforced precast concrete beam supported by bearing wall - 300mm precast hollow core floor slab - 70mm rigid board insulation - 100mm concrete screed with underfloor heating pipes


- concrete cladding panels with cladding rail fixed back to concrete wall - Plastic sealing layer - 100mm rigid board insulation - 300mm reinforced concrete bearing wall - 14mm plaster


- drainage layer of gravel - Waterproof membrane - 300mm reinforced concrete ground slab - 70mm rigid board insulation - 100mm concrete screed with underfloor

03. Intervention.

“In this extraordinary house on a windy hill with an unkind sea at its foot, there  came to live an equally extraordinary family. They were the “gay Delavals”, the most  charming, mischievous, spendthrift people in the North of England, utterly without  morals, loved by the people of the countryside and damned from birth”                    - Laurence Whistler Delaval Hall, in Northumberland, is the baroque style hall that was once host to the Delaval family’s lavish parties. The Delavals were famous amongst high society for their grand partying, love of theatre and practical joking, their parties would always culminate in a theatrical production performed by all members of the family. The hall is now owned by the National Trust, who are developing a long term strategy in order to celebrate the connection to theatre. Whilst the hall is being reconstructed to allow visitors full access, the grade 1 listed, historical ruin of the mausoleum, which stands to the east of the hall’s grounds, is to be developed into an intimate theatre. Above left: Seaton Delaval Hall Mausoleum - Graham, F.(1973) Tynemouth, Cullercoats, Whitely Bay, Seaton Delaval. A short History and Guide. Newcastle upon Tyne: Frank Graham  Above right: Site plan of grounds - Pevsner, N and Richmond, I. ( 1992) Northumberland. London: Penguin Books Left: Seaton Delaval Hall -

The brief required a large amount of accommodation in a very small area so I was challenged to use the space efficiently and effectively. My solution to this was to create only a thin separation between performance space and public space, the actors are integrated with the viewers in a way that reflects the intimacy of the Delavals’ performances. The auditorium is placed on the ground floor with the circular stage at the back of the space, making use of the large window to allow access to backstage, during intervals or after performances, the audience will be invited to cross this boundary by going backstage in order to reach the bar in the crypt. The crypt creates a very interesting, cavernous bar space while a small part of it is sectioned off for the dressing rooms, meaning that actors may mingle with their audience. The entrance to the theatre takes inspiration from the surroundings, the approach to the mausoleum is through overgrown woodlands and I wanted to emphasise the feeling of discovery and of traveling deeper into the fairytale-like forest. The pointed roof emerges through the overgrowth, while the door is extended outwards with sheets of plywood, cut into woodland shapes and inviting the visitor to venture deeper, these layers also reflect the layers of scenery in a theatre. To make the most of a small space for the stage, I have incorporated a revolver, which sits in the centre of the stage and allows scenery to be changed quickly. As the mausoleum is in such a beautiful location, I took advantage of this by also designing an outdoor stage to be used in summer, this is located behind the main structure.

04. Invisible Cities.

Invisible cities was an exercise in model making and photography in which we were asked to select a chapter from Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’ and the take a series of 6 photographs, portraying words or phrases from the passage. This project allowed me to explore model making in a much more free and creative way and also allowed me to develop skills in photography which I found incredibly enjoyable.

Cities and Eyes 5.

“When you have forded the river, when you have crossed the mountain pass, you suddenly find before you the city of Moriana, it’s alabaster gates transparent in the sunlight, it’s coral columns supporting pediments encrusted with serpentine, it’s villas all of glass like aquariums where the shadows of dancing girls with silvery scales swim beneath the Medusa shaped chandeliers. If this is not your first journey, you already know that cities like this have an obverse: you only have to walk in a semicircle and you will come into view of Moriana’s hidden face, an expanse of rusting sheet metal, sackcloth, planks bristling with spikes, pipes black with soot, piles of tins, blind walls with fading sides, frames of staved-in straw chairs, ropes only good for hanging oneself from a rotten beam. From one part to the other, the city seems to continue, in perspective, multiplying it’s repertory of images, but instead has no thickness, it consists only of a face and an obverse, like a sheet of paper, with a figure on either side, which can neither be separated nor look at each other.”

Italo Calvino

Silvery Hidden Rusting Bristling with spikes Fading Rotten

Rebecca Iwnicki's Portfolio  
Rebecca Iwnicki's Portfolio  

A few of my favourite projects from my time studying architecture at Northumbria University