Greatham Creek Seal Hide, Middlesbrough

© Vicky Matthers

Architect
Abstract Machine (Leeds Beckett University)

Structural Engineer
BMMJV (BAM Nuttall/Mott MacDonald Joint Venture)

Steelwork Contractor
S H Structures Ltd

Main Contractor
BMMJV (BAM Nuttall/Mott MacDonald Joint Venture)

Client
Environment Agency

As part of a wider flood alleviation scheme in an area renowned for its wildlife, new seal and bird viewing structures enhance the project and encourage better and more frequent use of the area by the local community as well as other visitors.

A design competition working collaboratively with Leeds Beckett University graduates resulted in an innovative design using weathering steel to provide long lasting and low maintenance structures that would complement the industrial surroundings of the creek and the newly created intertidal habitat area whilst withstanding the harsh coastal environment. Perforated panels create dappled shadows inspired by seal markings.

Judges’ comment

An enlightened client, and an innovative response from architecture students at Leeds Beckett University, has resulted in two truly unique hide structures. The existing conventional wood hides had to be removed as part of a flood alleviation scheme. Their replacements are formed from sculpted weathering steel and provide a legacy to be enjoyed by visitors to this vibrant wildlife area.