The Gatway Building, Sunderland

The entrance to the secure area of the studio lot is marked by the Gateway building. It not only functions as the security check at the Studio entrance but also plays an important role in establishing the high-quality image of the Crown Works Studios. It is a five-storey high focal point building that straddles a 4.8 metre drop in the landform leading from the entrance courtyard into the operational areas of the studio. It presents a four-storey façade to the studio entrance road and a five-storey façade to the operational areas that lie to the west. It signals the Film Studio when seen from the north side of the River Wear and the Spire Bridge. The Gatehouse accommodates the security check point for entry to the studio lot for both vehicles and pedestrians as well as housing administrative offices and catering for those working in the studios.

Accommodation comprises:

  • Lower Ground Floor – café, servery, kitchen, male and female toilets, showers, plant room
  • Ground Floor – security office, security check and entrance lobby with access to the Studio Lot
  • First Floor – general offices
  • Second Floor – multi-function room and toilets
  • Third Floor – meeting rooms and toilets
  • Access stairs and lift core serve all levels.

The Gateway entrance building serves as a registration checkpoint for incoming and outgoing lorries and vans, as well as a reception welcoming in visitors, guests and couriers to the site.

The building has a shape and form unlike any other building on the site, deliberately creating a juxtaposition between the curved organic shape of the front eastern facade and the more utilitarian, rectilinear architectural forms of the proposed soundstages and existing surrounding buildings, thereby intentionally helping to draw attention to it.

Internally, the generous floor-to-ceiling heights and large areas of glazing will create pleasant bright spaces. A cafe is offered with access to external landscape amenity spaces, and at the upper levels there are administration offices, and located with a curved glass rotunda at the top of the building is an executive suite offering panoramic views deep into the studio, over the forecourt and over the river.

The small tower creates a way-finding point for visitors, demarcating it as the entrance to the studio complex, and the curved facade of the ground floor visually beckons people in. The buildings organic form on plan melds with the landscape design creating opportunities for green ‘breakout’ spaces.

Wrapped with a curtain wall of glazing and featuring tall external mullions, there is a lyrical rhythm to the building and an architectural language that relates to the nearby multi-storey carpark. However, the proposed material for these mullions is a lustrous copper which will give the building a distinct and distinguished appearance unlike any other building in the area.