The Sage Gateshead is a regional music centre of international standing, with approximately half a million visitors each year. It fills a 'gap on the map' for music venues in the North-East and has helped to consolidate Tyneside's position as an arts destination. The building forms the heart of an ambitious project to regenerate Gateshead's river frontage and lies alongside the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the Tyne Bridge with its great arch, which is echoed in the form of the Sage's roof.

Home to Northern Sinfonia and a base for and Folkworks, which promotes folk, jazz and blues performances, The Sage Gateshead provides three auditoria and accommodation for the Regional Music School. The largest of the three main performance spaces is an acoustically state-of-the-art concert hall that can seat up to 1,650 people. The second hall can be arranged to suit folk, jazz and chamber performances and seats up to 400. The third space is both a rehearsal hall for Northern Sinfonia and the focus of the Music School. The school is accessible to children, schools and people of all ages, raising the profile of the region as an innovative provider of musical education.

Each auditorium was conceived as a separate enclosure but the windswept nature of the site suggested a concourse to link them along the riverfront. As a result the entire complex is sheltered beneath a roof that is 'shrink-wrapped' around the buildings. Containing cafés, bars, shops and box office, the concourse acts as a foyer for the auditoria and as a common room for the Music School, which is located beneath it. Back-of-house hospitality areas have been kept to a minimum to encourage performers to interact with students during the day and to mix with their audiences in the bars in the evenings. With its informal atmosphere and unrivalled views out across the Tyne, it has become one of the city's great social spaces.

Sketches + Drawings




The Times

“The Sage is a symbol of Newcastle's regeneration.”

12 January 2008

Anthony Sargent

“Congratulations on being the only architect to appear twice in the '10 best buildings' Rough Guide list! And of course on this magnificent palace which we adore afresh every time we set foot in it...”

General Director, The Sage Gateshead

Sunday Times

“The clarifying, lustrous acoustic of Gateshead's gleaming architectural icon ... ideally proportioned for audience comfort and sound, which allows you to hear the quietest pianissimo and contains, to thrilling effect, the most ear-splitting fortissimo.”

July 2011

Facts + Figures

  • Appointment: 1997
  • Completion: 2004
  • Area: 20,000m²
  • Capacity: 2,725
  • Client: Gateshead Council
  • Structural Engineer: Mott MacDonald
  • Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon
  • M+E Engineer: Mott MacDonald
  • Landscape Architect: Desvigne & Dalnoky
  • Lighting Engineer: Equation Lighting Ltd


  • Civic Trust Award
  • LABC Built-in Quality Awards – Best Public/Community Project,
  • LABC Built-in Quality Awards – Best Access/Disability Regulations Innovation
  • The Journal North East Landmark of the Year Award
  • The Journal Landmark Public Sector Award
  • The Wood Awards – Winner Commercial & Public Access category
  • Roses Design Award for Best Public Building
  • RIBA Inclusive Design Award
  • British Construction Industry Local Authority Award
  • Retail & Leisure Property Awards – Best Public Sector-funded Leisure Development,
  • RIBA Award
  • Construction Excellence North East Award – Mobile Acoustic Ceiling Panels at
  • ICE North Robert Stephenson Award for Concept and Design

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