Vale House Topographical Survey

The Two Towers

Blake Hopkinson Architecture

Scope of the project

If you’re from Newcastle you’ve probably been out for a “posh” day or night in Jesmond as it is known for its boutique shops, cocktail bars and cafes.  But the people of Jesmond are as down to earth as the next Geordie.  Unless that is, you live on the 28th floor of Vale House on Lansdowne Gardens as at 262 feet up you’re quite a distance from terraferma and this offered the Gridmark Survey team some unique challenges whilst conducting a topographical survey for our valued architect client, Blake Hopkinson Architecture. 

Surrounded by Jesmond Vale’s busy allotments the team were tasked with the collection of survey data which was to feed into a project for some renovations to some of the lower floors of the 1967 residential tower block which is Newcastle’s second tallest building.

And it wasn’t only Vale House the team were to be surveying as the scope of works included topographical and elevation data to be collected for one of the three iconic towers in Shieldfield which when built in 1961 were seen as a way of clearing the local slums and named “cities in the sky” by local press.   As part of a bold vision of post war Tyneside, Shieldfield House, the tower we were focused on is believed to sit on the site of the house which King Charles I rested in after a round of golf in Shieldfield.  No time for such luxury for our squad though and whilst we, as usual, were fascinated by the local history we had to focus on the task at hand and gather the survey information which included elevations and very detailed roof plans.

Site and technical challenges

Anyone from Newcastle, or even frequent visitors will know that timing your travel to avoid the traffic can be a challenge in itself but our main challenge on these sites were picking up detailed data towards the top of Vale House as we were testing our scanner to the brink of its capability at 81 metres.

At a”mere 26 floors” Shieldfield House proved less of a challenge as at 77 metres we were back in our comfort zone as we decided not to use our longer range SX10 to conduct complete scans for both towers as the scan time is slower and we had a limited amount of time on site to meet deadlines.  But the trusty SX10 worked perfectly for 4-5 high density longer range scans for the top half of the buildings and when coupled with approximately 20 X7 scans for the lower parts it worked well.  The final piece of the jigsaw was a further five scans on the roof which we tied into the rest of the survey with GNSS control.

Points of Interest

The Vale Allotments in Jesmond were a real hive of activity and are clearly an important part of the community.  It was lovely to see people coming and going and chatting as they began preparing their patches for a busy Spring and Summer season of growing their own.  And of course, being able to take in the view from the second and third  highest buildings in Newcastle was a rare and unique opportunity.

If you have topographic & measured building survey requirements and believe that Gridmark Survey might be able to help you with your project please get in touch with one of our friendly team and we can discuss your specific needs.

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