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Today, let’s talk about a case study called Smith’s Dock. It’s a housing development in North Shields in which facing The River Tyne. Currently there is only the phase one (The Plateau). These award-winning modular houses are flexible enough to work around people’s needs. And the surrounding areas are also full of residence which means this scheme respecting existing buildings and land uses around the development site. Due to this development is surrounded by a large residential area and the River Tyne, there are not many facilities and services. Only exists some small stores, green parks and football studio, also few schools. So I think more those facilities and services needed to be put around the site, so that people can get convenience from it. Public transport is quick good from the perspective of the Smith’s Dock. The nearest metro station is North Shields Station which is 0.5 miles away from the site, and Meadow Well Station is 0.7 miles far. Another one is South Shields Station which is 1.0 miles far away from the site. Also there are enough bus stations and people can easily catch a ferry across the Tyne. In that case, it will be helpful to reduce car dependency. Currently, phase A, the Plateau contains two blocks which are Fab House and Town House. Phase B called The Docks and phase C called The Terraces, and the final phase is The Waterfront which will coming soon. Under all of these different phases, this development will have a mix of housing types and tenures that suit local requirements.

This project has a local inspiration. The site used to be a shipyard and the housing would lead to a “rebirth” of Smith’s Dock, which initially opened as a shipyard in 1851 by William Smith. Just as its website said “Smith’s Dock was once a thriving shipyard. But for the last 30 years it has lain quiet. Now we’re bringing it back to life and transforming it into a vibrant new neighborhood where you can live, work and play.” The Smith’s Dock takes advantage of existing landscape—The River Tyne and the old shipyard. The developers use the Tyne to draw a concept of its phase D, the Waterfront which is good. Beautiful river views and walkable beach can always attract people’s attention. This development also creating well defined streets and spaces. However, the scheme is not designed to make it easy to find people’s way around. Because currently, houses in The Plateau are exactly same as each other. People may get lost when they try to find their home.

Streets within this development are not very suitable for all. Because it’s dangerous when there are children play on the vehicle roads. But those streets still can be social spaces for people to use. Within the site, there are many public car parking areas so that it doesn’t dominate the street. Also in front of every house, they all have private car parking areas. Public and private spaces are clearly defined since every house has their own private garden. And also can be a safe play areas for people to use since they are enclosures. Both public and private spaces will under well maintenance. This development has external storage and amenity space. Every house has some external storage outdoors which is convenient for people.

Above evaluations are based on Building for Life worksheet which is an useful tool in my opinion. However, there are still some shortcomings about this form. The form doesn’t mention anything about recycling and sustainability. As we all know, the natural resource is becoming less and less, so how to use some recycle materials in buildings are important to designers. And that’s also a necessary question we must ask ourselves every day.


BfL Booklet,


Link to The Smith’s dock:



School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509


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