Concept

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

Résumé
Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (also known simply as (the) Baltic, stylised as BALTIC) is a centre for contemporary art located on the south bank of the River Tyne in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England. It hosts a frequently changing variety of exhibitions, events, and educational programmes with no permanent exhibition. The idea to open a centre for contemporary arts in Gateshead was developed in the 1990s, which was a time of regeneration for the local area—the Sage and Gateshead Millennium Bridge was also being conceived of in this period. Baltic opened in July 2002 in a converted flour mill, which had operated in various capacities from 1950 to 1984. The architectural design of Baltic was devised by Dominic Williams of Ellis Williams Architects, who won a competition to design the new contemporary arts centre in 1994. The building features exhibition spaces, a visitor centre, a rooftop restaurant and external viewing platforms which offer views of the River Tyne. Baltic's current director, the centre's fifth, is Sarah Munro, who joined in November 2015. As of January 2022, Baltic had welcomed over 8 million visitors. Baltic Flour Mills was built by Joseph Rank of Rank Hovis to a late-1930s design by Hull-based architects Gelder and Kitchen. The first foundations were laid in the late 1930s, and although construction ceased during the Second World War, the mill was completed and started operating in 1950. Known locally as "the pride of Tyneside", 300 people were employed by the mill at its height. The building was composed of two parallel brick façades running east to west, sandwiched between a foundation of concrete silos. The structure could store 22,000 tons of grain. The design of the building also featured a larger silo in which to store and clean wheat. The site was extended in 1957 by the addition of Blue Cross Mill which processed animal feed. In 1976, a fire forced both mills to close, but the silos remained in operation until 1984 to store a portion of the grain owned by the European Economic Community.
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