Sir Terry Farrell, founder of the prestigious architectural firm Farrells and noted Newcastle alumni, has donated both his personal archive and £1m to the university for a renovated “Farrell Centre”. This space will include a new architectural exhibition center, an urban room that allows the public to learn more about the past, present and future of Newcastle and a start-up space to aid recent graduates.
Due to his work on the Newcastle Quayside and the Centre For Life, among many other structures around the country, Farrell is considered one of Newcastle University’s “Remarkable Alumni”. The world-renowned architect has won seven Civic Trust awards, worked on the MI6 Building that has appeared in several Bond films and was made a Knight Bachelor in 2001 for his postmodern work.
Professor Chris Day, the Vice-Chancellor and president of the university said that he is “incredibly proud” that one of “the world’s most eminent architects” is a Newcastle graduate. Despite working on projects all around the world, Farrell himself is also proud to have “contributed to (the) future” of Newcastle as he still considers it “one of the greatest cities in England”.
“Newcastle has a very clear identity, with the Tyne gorge and its bridges.” Farrell said. “When you see the Great North Run on TV, you know where it is.”
An influential architect in Newcastle and around the world, Farrell’s work is studied by students in the school of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. Professor Adam Sharr, the head of Newcastle’s school for Architecture, Planning and Landscape, said:
“As part of their (architectural) history courses, students study ‘Postmodernism’ which Terry Farrell is famous for. In the 1980s and 90s, Postmodernism was a challenge to previously-accepted ‘modernist’ ideas about rational planning in architecture, representing instead a return to historical decoration.
“Students’ design projects also pursue many of the themes evident in Farrell’s work: like urban design that promotes vibrant public life in the spaces of the city; like infrastructure projects which make good spaces for people as well as accommodating commercial interests; like thinking about buildings and the city together as a whole in ways which improve both.”
Farrell’s extensive archive includes models, diaries and papers that reference iconic designs such as the MI6 Building and Beijing South Station in China. It also includes mementos from his years as a student at Newcastle University. Professor Adam Sharr believes that Farrell’s donation will greatly benefit students in their studies.
“The gallery will give an amazing opportunity for students, and the world-leading researchers we have here at Newcastle University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, to influence urban agendas locally and globally. The archive also gives us lots of fascinating models and drawings that we can use in our teaching, as well as in the gallery.”