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Baltic sky

BALTIC was the last remaining industrial brick building on Tyneside. Built in the 1950's the original silo building of the Baltic Flour Mills, as it was once known, has become a familiar landmark of the Northern Region. 

  • 1982 The Baltic Four Mills, built for Joseph Rank Ltd. on the south bank of the River Tyne, closed after just 30 years in operation. The mill opened in 1950 and the silo building, where wheat was stored before processing in the mill, is the only remaining part of the Baltic factory. 
  • 1992 Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council commissioned a report into the feasibility of converting the remaining silo building into an international centre for contemporary visual art. The report, produced by Sandy Nairne and Graham Marchant, was published in late 1992. The proposal to convert the Baltic Flour Mills predated the development of the overall regeneration strategy of the area. The needs and opportunities created by the complex are, therefore, integral to much that is planned.
  • 1994 Dominic Williams of Ellis Williams Architects, London, was announced as the winner of an international design competition launched by Gateshead Council and the Royal Institute of British Architects to find an innovative design for the conversion of the Baltic Flour Mills into an art centre.
  • 1997 The Arts Council awarded the project £33.4m from National Arts Lottery fund to build BALTIC plus a further £1.5m a year revenue funding for five years towards running costs post opening. 
  • November 1997 Director, Sune Nordgren, appointed.
  • December 1998 - June 1999 Removal of 148 concrete grain silos inside the building, leaving only the brick walls of the North and South facades standing, supported by an intricate counter balanced scaffold.
  • July - September 1999 "Taratantara" a temporary installation by artist Anish Kapoor within the hollowed-out walls of the building. This was the first ever art event inside BALTIC. 
  • September 1999 Construction of new building began. 
  • Summer 2000 All the main floors were in secured in place.
  • November 2000 Exterior scaffold removed and erection of roof steel supporting the Rooftop Restaurant. 
  • Spring/Summer 2001Work in progress includes: Installation of the glass facades of the main building and installation of the Corten Steel to crown the four 'cores' (the corner towers) of the main building.  
  • Autumn/Winter 2001 Work on the internal features nearing completion , including the dry slate walling in the Riverside cafe/bar as well as work on the main walls, floors and surfaces of the five arts spaces within the main building.
  • 2002  BALTIC opens to the public on 13 July. The inaugural exhibition, B.OPEN, featured work by Chris Burden, Carsten Holler, Julian Opie, Jaume Plensa and Jane & Louise Wilson and attracted over 35,000 visitors in the first week.


Contact us

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
Gateshead Quays
South Shore Road

0191 478 1810