Promotional feature

Createability

Bringing back the baths - The iconic City Baths in Newcastle have reopened to the public following complete restoration by Createability


Design and construction specialist Createability has finished work on the iconic City Baths in Newcastle, UK. Working together with Napper Architects, the firm has overseen a £7.5m redevelopment of the historic Turkish baths for client Fusion Lifestyle, which manages the facility on behalf of Newcastle City Council. The three-year project has brought the once-neglected Grade II-listed building – which had sat closed since 2013 – back to life.

Planning the works
Fusion Lifestyle won the tender to restore the baths in 2016. Anthony Cawley, Fusion’s Operations Director, says the project’s focus from the very start was to keep the building’s original features and retain its history – but also to add a modern fitness and wellness element.

“We’ve managed to restore a building of outstanding beauty to what it had always been – and that’s what makes it such a special project,” Cawley says.

After initial work with Napper Architects, Fusion brought in Createability to help plan the construction process and add detail to the plans. 

Work included the restoration of the 25m ‘ladies’’ swimming pool and transforming the ‘men’s’ 25m pool into a gym space and fitness studios. The historic Turkish bathing areas – featuring six separate areas – have also been restored, while a day spa has been added to create a modern wellness offering.

“Once we came on board, we went through what was needed and value engineered the project,” says Ian Cotgrave, Createability MD. “We were responsible for every aspect of the works inside the building – the restoration and all construction work. The great thing is that we managed to deliver the project to the price we initially calculated.

“It has been a unique project – not least because there aren’t many Turkish Baths left in the UK.“

A mix of old and new
At the heart of the project have been the Turkish bathing areas and the two swimming pools. 

“The 25 metre former ladies’ pool is now back to its former glory,” Cotgrave says. “We managed to retain all of its original architectural features – even the tiling, which we painfully restored. Some of the features would be hard to repeat using modern methods, so it would’ve been a shame to lose that heritage.”

The building’s Grade II-listed status meant there were limits to how much the project team could change structurally. This resulted in innovative planning work to provide the building with the modern facilities it needed. 

These included an entire gym and group exercise studios being created inside another swimming pool, which had originally acted as the men’s pool. “The former ladies pool is now for swimming, while the men’s pool has been completely filled in and decked over to create a fitness area and the two-level studios,” Cotgrave says. He names the gym space as one of his favourite design aspects of the project. “When you look down at the gym space from the balcony, the studio looks like it’s floating in mid air,” he says.

Retaining history
Cawley says the partnership between the three companies has ensured the project has been delivered on time and on budget. “Createability and Napper Architects have been unbelievable,” Cawley says. “We told them what we wanted, they took it all on board, designed it and built it all.”

Focusing on history

The City Baths are one of only 11 Turkish baths in operation across the UK. Originally designed by architects Nicholas & Dixon-Spain, the Art Deco facility first opened in 1928. “The focus of the project has very much been on bringing a historic building back to life and securing its future by reconfiguring it to ensure it can generate income and becomes sustainable,” says Createability MD Ian Cotgrave.

Economic sustainability

As well as restoring the building to its former glory, the project has focused on securing its operational success. “We need to make the building economically viable, so we can keep it open,” Cawley says. “The reason it closed down in the first place was because it wasn’t sustainable. The work Createability has done to create fantastic, modern facilities will help with that – the more people we can get to use the facility, the better.”

Gallery
Click on an image to open the image gallery
company profile
Company profile: TVS Group
The TVS Group supply and install sports and fitness flooring to a wide range of facilities. We cater for every type of exercise and every level of competition, from recreational to elite level performance.
videos
BluGalaxy a Division of Blu Spas
Blu Spas
This animation showcases the beautiful concept design of BluGalaxy Spa.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
The Shenzhen Sky Garden will be built on existing reclaimed land
Stephen Barrett (left) 
and John McElgunn (right) were both made partners at RSHP in 2016
"Leisure space – public space – is at the very root of democracy, and architecture is about democracy"

As RSHP completes its latest cultural project, we speak to two of its partners about why Richard Rogers isn’t leaving his succession to chance

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, US
José Almiñana
"We are committed to designing evocative landscapes informed by the best environmental science"

The Andropogon principal on pushing the boundaries of landscape design for the benefit of humans and nature

Collaboration is at the heart of NBW’s working practices
Thomas Woltz
"I am very proud of stewarding the largest public space to be built in Manhattan in a century"

The Wall Street Journal’s Design Innovator of the Year on designing the gardens at Hudson Yards and looking to the Native Americans for ideas on how to create a resilient future

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
The museum features 3,400 square metres of archaelogical gardens
Elizabeth de Portzamparc
"We need to stop the destruction of our world through predatory practices. We need to think of the future"

The architect behind Nimes’ Musée de la Romanité on designing to counter loneliness and the need for more cultural buildings

Zaha Hadid Architects’ Hamburg River Promenade scheme
"Funding woes and murky timelines are common problems. It can be easier to make a difference one small project at a time"

From parks designed to mitigate the effects of flooding to warming huts for one of the world’s coldest cities, these projects have been designed for increasingly extreme climates

features
Scott Lee became president of SB Architects in 2000. Tracy Lee founded TLee Spas in 2015
"We design to connect the guest to the place, positioning people at the centre of the design"

Architect Scott Lee and spa consultant Tracey Lee on marrying the worlds of design and wellness in a series of interesting projects

Marianne Shillingford
"The technology involved in paint is extraordinary"

Used cleverly, colour has the power to influence how people use the spaces they inhabit, says the creative director of Dulux

cladkit product news
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
Matteo Thun grows Allaperto collection with new suspended outdoor armchair
Megan Whitby
Allaperto, the lounge collection spawned by the partnership between design studios, Matteo Thun, Ethimo and Antonio Rodriguez, has been expanded ...
LianTronics’ glasses-free 3D Star Trek LED screen attracts attention
Magali Robathan
LianTronics’ giant curved LED wall with stunning glasses-less 3D spaceship display effect has attracted many on the street of Chengdu, ...
cladkit product news
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
ASPA International launches handheld UV-C light disinfection lamp
The compact plug-in product can be used easily in a commercial spa or domestic setting to disinfect surfaces with UV-C light
Megan Whitby
For over 30 years, ASPA International has designed and built high-quality spas for the hotel, health and wellness sectors. During ...
Atelier Alain Ellouz launches handcrafted precious stone lighting collection
LYRA has a sleek, cylindrical design complete with an elegant brass dimming switch
Megan Whitby
LYRA, GAMA, MONA and ATHENA are the first pieces from designer Atelier Alain Ellouz’s new.édition collection of handcrafted stone lighting ...
cladkit product news
Siminetti unveils first glimpses of Mother of Pearl decorative surfaces inspired by the four seasons
The new winter design is finished with naturally occurring hexagonal patterns found in snowflakes
Megan Whitby
Siminetti has collaborated with British designer Chrisanna London to create a luxury Mother of Pearl decorative surface range inspired by ...
Painting with Light pushes boundaries to create unforgettable visual concepts
The team combines lighting, video, sound and special effects, with scenic and architectural elements, to create unforgettable visual experiences
Megan Whitby
Belgium-based light and video design studio, Painting with Light, will translate the story of your location into a visual experience, ...
Christie laser projectors power new Five Senses Bubble dome theatre
The dome aims to integrate technology with arts and culture
Magali Robathan
Christie® GS Series 1DLP® laser projectors are delivering vivid and lifelike visuals in a new dome theatre located in Xiong’an ...