City Hall

City Hall is a new civic building at the heart of Sunderland’s ongoing regeneration. The project combines a new civic workplace for Sunderland City Council with private tenants, and municipal services, support spaces and community outreach, in a truly democratic ‘hall for the city’.

Our design is driven by authenticity and character, to deliver a warm and welcoming workplace tailored to Sunderland. Located on the former Vaux brewery site, City Hall is central to the Riverside Sunderland masterplan and the city’s drive to be carbon neutral in 2030.

Civic and private workplace

Sunderland, England



Sunderland City Council

November 2021

Sometimes a project goes beyond meeting architectural aspiration to embody something truly meaningful. City Hall is both grand, yet personal. It’s dynamic, yet quiet. It’s private, and yet offers the warmest welcome to everyone. Setting a new bar for the public sector workplace, this project demonstrates what can be achieved with inspired vision.

Northern Region Judges
British Council for Offices Awards

A Civic Presence

City Hall’s envelope takes inspiration from the city’s advanced material craftsmanship. The building uses rhythmic, civic columns clad in reconstituted stone to create a distinctive presence in the city.

Large, glazed openings promote transparency and create an active ground floor with a strong visual relationship to the public realm.

Sunderland City Hall Facade Elevation L
City Hall Sunderland People Walking Past Entrance Sp
City Hall Sunderland Facade Design Development Models L

Interior Craftmanship

At the centre of City Hall’s atrium, a steel staircase acts as the focal point of connection between the workspaces. Inspired by the city’s rich history of industrial craftsmanship, the 23-tonne stair was locally sourced and fabricated by Beal Architectural, a former ship-building firm, and is finished with a weathered steel-effect, matt-oxide paint.

Our design seeks to foster community and collaboration between the different workspaces by arranging the offices in open floorplates, either side of a light-filled atrium.

Each workplace is rich in collaborative settings and incorporates innovative furniture and lighting solutions, designed and developed with manufacturers and suppliers for a post-covid, agile workplace.


  • RIBA Awards 2023
    Regional Award
  • AJ Architecture Awards 2022
    Best Civic Building
  • BCO National Awards 2022
    Best of the Best - Best Workplace in the UK
  • BCO National Awards 2022
    Best Corporate Workplace
  • BCO Northern Region Awards 2022
    Best Corporate Workplace
  • Mixology North Awards 2022
    Public Sector and Cultural Interiors Project of the Year
  • Insider's North East Property Awards 2022
    Design Excellence Award
  • Insider's North East Property Awards 2022
    Commercial Development of the Year
  • Constructing Excellence Awards 2022
    Highly Commended
  • Architecture Today Schuco Excellence Awards 2022
    Specialist Contractor Award
  • Mixology North Awards 2022
    Public Sector and Cultural Interiors Project of the Year