Making Byker

James Longfield

Published in OASE #96 Social Architecture: The Architecture of Use and Appropriation. June 2016


In this paper I outline a a series of in-situ social practices that take inspiration from the ‘amateur’ activities of Erskine’s team at the Byker redevelopment in Newcastle upon Tyne in the 1970s. By stepping outside the architectural profession I explore the latent potential within personal hobby activity, for users to intervene within the city.

Through a project focussed on Byker’s hobby rooms, I advocate a mode of practice situated within the post-occupancy conditions of inhabitation, operating in the realm of the user, and engaging with architecture as an ongoing process of adaption, (mis)use, management and maintenance, capable of supporting the engagement of users through interrelated acts of spatial and social poesis.