The National Glass Centre is prominently sited on the River Wear waterfront. Initiated by an international competition by the Tyne and Wear Development Corporation, the winning design was developed with European Regional Development, Arts Council and National Lottery funding. The proposal for this complex building typology amalgamates several functions within one envelope - a working factory, a series of independent work-shops for smaller scale designer glass production, gallery spaces, a café and restaurant. The building was awarded Millennium Product status, by the Design Council in 2000, in recognition of its creativity and innovative environmental approach. It was one of the first buildings in the UK to use an earth tube to bring pre-cooled air into the public areas while the excess heat from the factory is recovered to heat public areas in the winter months.