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15 Facts about BALTIC

To celebrate BALTIC’s 15 year anniversary here are 15 facts you may not know.

  1. BALTIC is a major international centre for contemporary art situated on the south bank of the River Tyne in Gateshead, England and has welcomed over seven million visits since opening to the public in July 2002.

  2. BALTIC is home to 2,600 square metres of art space, making it the UK’s largest dedicated contemporary art institution.

  3. Level 1 of BALTIC holds a 300 capacity performance space and a purpose built cinema.

  4. Level 2 of BALTIC houses a library with over 11,500 books on contemporary art and design.

  5. Level 3 holds an art space which is carefully environmentally controlled so that sensitive and fragile artworks can be exhibited, free from the threat of damage from light, moisture or changing temperatures.

  6. Level 4 is BALTIC’s largest art space with a huge floor area of 800 square metres.

  7. BALTIC staff are all based on 2a, a hidden floor which is suspended over Quay and BALTIC Library on Level 2. If you look carefully as you go up the scenic lifts you may see it.

  8. The Ground Floor of the Riverside Building is made of Ffestiniogg slate from North Wales, while the rest of the floors throughout the building are Swedish pine. To protect the environment BALTIC ensured that for each tree felled another one was planted. Beyond the Ground Floor art space is an art handling and loading bay big enough to house a 40 tonne lorry.

  9. BALTIC is open 7 days a week, 362 days a year and is free to enter.

  10. During the Spring and early Summer months, the North Face of BALTIC is home to 700 breeding kittiwakes. The largest inland colony in the world.

  11. What does the Angel of the North and BALTIC have in common? Parts of BALTIC are finished with Cor-Ten steel, which is the same material used to fabricate Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North.

  12. BALTIC’s scenic lifts, travel the height of the building at a speed of two metres per second. They are made of glass to provide panoramic views of the River Tyne.

  13. BALTIC’s only permanent art work is a sculpture on the Riverside Terrace by Jaume Plensa. Blake in Gateshead (2002) has a powerful light beam at its centre which when lit, reaches two thousand metres into the sky.

  14. BALTIC has a unique ‘wing door’ at the back of the building. The door slides across the windows to screen daylight from the gallery spaces when dark conditions are required for artwork such as film or projections. The wing door measures 21 metres high and weighs 11 tonnes.

  15. On the very top floor, Level 6, a restaurant aptly named Six is host to fine dining, with breathtaking views. The fine dining restaurant is in a glass box, suspended between the four towers of the building.