Skip to content
Header banner full
Header banner

Building for Life comprises of 12 criteria [1] in which a housing scheme can be assessed and awarded an appropriate red, amber or green symbol based on how successfully the development meets each criteria. I have chosen to analyse Smith’s Dock in North Shields – a trendy new development which combines cutting edge urban living, waterfront views and modular construction.

Integrating into the Neighbourhood


  • Ferry Terminal which connects the site to South Shields
  • 0.8 miles from Fish Quay for restaurants, bars and entertainment
  • 1.2 miles from Royal Quays Outlet Centre for retail shops

Fig.1 Site Plan, Author’s Own (based on Google Maps)

Facilities and Services

  • Very few facilities within a 5min walk
  • Only a 10min walk from town centre
  • Schools and sports facilities all within a 4min drive

Fig.2 Surrounding Facilities, Author’s Own (based on Google Maps)

Fig.3 Vision for Future Site Facilities, Urban Splash (n.d) [2]

Public Transport

  • No. 19 bus to Ashington
  • Metro Station 12min walk
  • Ferry Terminal to South Shields

Fig.4 Public Transport Networks, Author’s Own (based on Google Maps)

Meeting Local Housing Requirements

  • Smokehouse – 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments – from £160,000 [3]
  • Town House – modifiable 3 storey houses – from £299,950 [4]
  • Fab House – 3 bed houses – from £225,000 [3]

Creating a Place


  • Character in keeping with Dock history
  • Not locally inspired – similar to developments in Ancoats, Manchester

Fig.5 Character Materials, Author’s Own

Working with the site and its context

  • Smokehouses oriented to maximise natural light and capture waterfront views
  • Town House curves around inclined site – 3 storey advantage to gain waterfront views
  • Fab House views are blocked

Fig.6 Town Houses on Incline, Author’s Own

Creating well-defined streets and spaces

  • The Town House curves to create a small shared green space with Fab House
  • Smokehouse is angled with floor to ceiling glass – turning corners well

Easy to find your way around

  • A simple road network follows the triangular green area within The Plateau
  • Strong circulation

Fig.7 Circulation in The Plateau, Author’s Own (based on Google Maps)

Street and Home 

Streets for all

  • The Plateau’s only communal green space is bordered by vehicular roads
  • Pedestrianised waterfront at the Smokehouses

Car parking

  • Smokehouse – underground parking
  • The Plateau – 1 parking space per dwelling (private drive)

Fig.8 The Smokehouses Underground Car Park, Author’s Own

Public and private spaces

  • The Plateau is designed so that all facades are facing inwards with little public open space
  • Private rear gardens are not visible
  • Smokehouse has little public green space

Fig.9 Fab House Facade, Author’s Own

External storage

  • Smokehouse has an underground cycle and bin storage
  • The Plateau has outside wooden bin covers



The Smith’s Dock development takes advantage of its waterfront location, making the most of River Views and Ferry links. The main areas which showed up as poor from the BfL assessment is the lack of public open space, particularly in The Plateau development which had its only green space trapped in by vehicular roads. This development overall scored highly, by offering many types of accommodation and by taking advantage of its waterfront location.

Fig.10 Summary Table for Overall BfL Ratings, Author’s Own


[1] Building for Life 12. (2018). [pdf] Available at: [Accessed 27 Feb. 2020].

[2] Smith’s Dock. (n.d.). About Smith’s Dock | Smith’s Dock. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Feb. 2020].

[3] Urban Splash. (n.d.). Smith’s Dock | Urban Splash. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Feb. 2020].

[4] House. (n.d.). Town House | House. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Feb. 2020].


Leave a Reply

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509


Hit Counter provided by recruiting services