However, the Grade II-listed building, which was once a seat of learning for thousands of Sunderland schoolchildren, is now home to BDN’s headquarters, as well as eight luxury apartments.
BDN, an architecture, structural and civil engineering practice, relocated its 22-strong team to the distinctive red-brick building in April 2021, with the
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The remaining two thirds of the building comprises of eight one-bedroomed apartments, which are now complete and available for short-term stays.
Designed by BDN’s architects and engineers, the apartments combine the building’s original features with a stylish minimalist design. Specialist roofing and sash windows, with panoramic views of the city skyline, have been installed to match the period features of the property.
As many original Victorian features as possible have been retained to sympathetically restore the old school, including making the most of original glazed bricks, beams and fireplaces. The addition of mezzanine floors to a number of apartments have been carefully crafted to keep with the building’s character, whilst also fully modernising the Grade II-listed property.
Richard Marsden, managing director of BDN, said “We are incredibly grateful to everyone involved in the project for being so invested in bringing our vision to fruition, to restore the building to its former glory.
“The apartments have a real sense of history, creating a unique asset to the city, unlike anything ever before in Sunderland.
“Simpson Street acts as a real shopfront for our business, showcasing just what we can achieve. The completed transformation highlights BDN’s pledge to make a difference within Sunderland, and alongside the Sheepfolds development, demonstrates that we are investing in the regeneration of the city, creating contemporary places to live, work and enjoy. Simpson Street has been successfully restored for future generations.”
Built in 1867, the former school first opened as Deptford Yard Church of England School and had various guises as a school over the years. The school rang its bell for the final time in 1961, shutting to make way for an industrial development. In 1994, the Victorian building was protected with a Grade II listed status but fell into subsequent disrepair whilst in use as artist studios, suffering vandalism and arson attacks.
BDN are also behind the planned transformation of a disused stable block in Sheepfolds into a food, drink and leisure venue which will be at one end of the new pedestrian footbridge being built across the Wear.
The eight one-bedroomed apartments, which sleep up to two people sharing a double bed, are being managed by Properties Unique, where they are available to rent for short-term stays. Prices start from £85 a night.
To book a stay, visit propertiesunique.com