Gibside Interventions: Gibside Pleasure Grounds, The National Trust

Paul Ring, Andrea Couture*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Non-textual formDesign


This design partnership with the National Trust developed a new model for the management of heritage buildings, moving from preservation to restorative re-use and continued placemaking as the best way to extend life and ensure permanence.

The partnership explored how using a ruined property on the National Trust At Risk register as a live project could agitate awareness, attract funding and ultimately lead to the re-use and occupation of the building, generating increased public interest and footfall. The creation of speculative, provocative installation proposals based on contextualised ideas of narrative, heritage, place and topography produced a volume of experimental ideas, highlighting the embedded value of the hall in arresting ways.

These proposals were exhibited on the estate to raise awareness in the local community and gather feedback; to the local authorities to educate them about the value of the asset; and in a bookazine and presentation to National Trust management to encourage action.

The proposals were curated and developed by the PI to form the basis of successful funding bids to halt demise of the Hall and create a phased development plan including architectural work to create new structures and allow visitor occupancy of the ruins.

The success of the project in both attracting funding and increasing visitor numbers has changed the National Trust’s perception of heritage ruins from objects of preservation to buildings of use. The approach is known internally as the Gibside Model and reverses the usual process of funding-design-execution, instead using radical conceptual proposals to generate awareness, stimulate action and attract funding. The PI has been invited to apply the approach to a further project within another National Trust estate.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Northumbria
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


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