The $122 million Sage Gateshead was conceived in 1997 after the Gateshead Council, the city’s governing body, held a competition for the concert hall complex. It would be subsidized by an $83 million grant from the Arts Council, grants from One North East, a regional development agency, and the European Regional Development Fund, plus a $10.5 million donation from Sage, a local software company. Of the 100 architects who registered for the competition, 12 were asked to do concept sketches; ultimately, Foster won, out of a shortlist of six firms. This would be Foster’s first concert hall, but not the last—since then the firm has been commissioned to design the Winspear Opera House in Dallas, and to renovate Avery Fisher Hall at New York City’s Lincoln Center.
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