Sunbeams Music Centre

Sunbeams Music Centre
Location : Penrith, Cumbria
Sectors: Healthcare, Education, Sustainability

We have been working with the charity Sunbeams from the embryonic stage on their £2 million music therapy centre located on a sensitive site overlooking Ullswater.

The building is designed as a home and advert for the amazing work Sunbeams do working with disadvantaged members of society. Bringing music into the building was on of the key drivers alongside harmonising the building with the natural surroundings and wider environment.

The building exemplifies what we believe good design to embody; passive environmental principles, contextual connection through materials and techniques and innovation in form and layout. The design incorporates ground source heat pumps, photovoltaics and locally sourced materials such as sheep’s wool insulation.

Theatre Royal Back of House Refurbishment

Theatre Royal Back of House Refurbishment
Location: Theatre Royal, Newcastle
Sectors: Civic, Heritage, Leisure

This latest project completed by MawsonKerr at the Theatre Royal comprises half million pound refurbishment project over six floors of dressing rooms, rehearsal spaces, band rooms, staff facilities and an enlarged green room area. Construction work within the Grade I listed building was phased floor by floor basis over 14 months while the building was live with actors and staff for the majority of the works.

The Iconic building has an amazing history and we were delighted to be involved in redesigning the back of house area to a brief of providing ‘the best dressing room facilities in the country’. In opening up the existing cellular space on the ground floor the back of house has a new heart working with artists and photographers bringing the spaces to life.

Norbord OSB Housing

OSB Low Rise High Density
Location : Byker, Newcastle
Sectors: Residential, Affordable, Competition, Sketchbook

This housing prototype was developed for a RIBA Journal competition looking into the potential for Norbord OSB as a product for creating affordable housing.

Working with the material our proposal pushed the material in terms of providing shelter, structure and form within a 4.8×4.8m module that allowed for interlocking units. The way the units tessellate presents a private space available to each unit proving a density of 115 units per hectare. CNC techniques are utilised to give minimal waste and allow construction on site by relatively unskilled labour. We chose a brown field site in Byker to show how the units could be planned forming a new community complex on unused plots of land.

Our design went on to win the competition with discussions ongoing to develop the prototype for affordable housing.

Levens Hall Restaurant

Levens Hall Restaurant
Location : Levens Hall, Cumbria
Sectors: Restaurant, Leisure, Historical

Levens Hall and Gardens is a grade I listed hall and gardens and is recognised as the oldest original garden in England featuring the oldest Haha. Famous for the topiary hedges of amazing scale and variety it is regularly used for film sets and garden programmes. The house has been in the Bagot Family for centuries who are looking to give a more contemporary offering to complement the amazing historical fair that has been a tourist destination for decades.

We worked with them looking at a number of different sites within the grounds and design options before homing in on a proposal that was simple in plan but had a dynamic roof form pointing to the future. The building sits on a plinth above the flood zone and provides a new destination alongside the gardens and hall that can operate all year round. The material palette and detail have been carefully developed to make strong connection to the neighbouring structures with a finely manicured hedge running through the building and out towards the river Kent referencing the gardens. The project is to develop the Bagot Family’s keen interest in ‘field to fork’ eating using products all grown within close proximity for sustainable dining.


Star & Shadow Cinema

Star & Shadow Cinema
Location : Warwick Street, Ouseburn, Newcastle
Sectors: Community, Leisure, Workspace

Star and Shadow Cinema is a co-operative and registered Community Benefit Society which runs an independent theatre whilst providing a venue for artists and musicians. The organisation is run entirely by volunteers with decisions made democratically.  Previously located on Stepney Bank Ouseburn they have grown out of their currently venue and managed to secure a dilapidated building on Warwick Street to transform into their new venue.  This exciting community led scheme includes a Cinema, Venue Space, Café, Community Spaces, Artist Studios and Workshops which are all to be built by the volunteers who have many different skills and expertise– a truly immense DIY project .

Design development has been an holistic and bespoke process incorporating ‘found’ items, recycling materials from their current venue and allowing an evolving scheme to incorporate other items founded during construction.  The design ethos is ‘buildings within building’ to make maximum use of the volume of the industrial shell whilst also creating the high acoustic performance needed within the cinema and venue space.  The layout and design has been created to have a vibrant heart to the building, a welcoming face to the street frontage and to enable volunteers to have a sociable time in the building whatever they have been allocated to do.  Construction work starts in summer 2016 and is due for completion early 2017.

Friar House

Friar House Apartment Hotel
Location : Newcastle City Centre
Sectors: Leisure, Conservation

Friar House is an excellent example of pre-Grainger Newcastle and has seen various transformations since it was built in the 1700’s.

The large Georgian town house was in a poor state of disrepair when we took on the project of returning the grade II listed building into Roomzzz Newcastle, an award winning boutique apartment hotel which can now be enjoyed by the general public.

The numerous original features are highlighted in a building employing all the modern trappings hotel guests would expect with all the detail of a restoration project.

Conservation Project of the Year – RIBA Northeast
Conservation Project of the Year – Newcastle Lord Mayors Award
Highly Commended – RICS Award

Sessay Community Hub

Sessay Community Hub
Location : Sessay, North Yorkshire
Sectors: Leisure, Community, Competition

Ran as an international design competition by the RIBA, Sessay Parish Council requested designs for a new village hall providing a new focus for the village and the thriving sporting groups.

Our design consolidated the programme of facilities into three main volumes with strong vernacular resonances and connected with a lightweight canopy providing shelter from the nearby carpark to the circulation hub.

The building is home to a library, community hall, venue space, changing to accommodate two cricket matches simultaneously and the bowling club facilities among other requirements. We felt it was important that each part of the programme functioned without compromise with volume and orientation to reflect this whilst also taking into account the impressive views of the nearby Kilburn White Horse.

Our resultant design was long listed in the RIBA competition.

Malmo Quay Masterplan

Malmo Quay Masterplan
Location : Ouseburn, Newcastle
Sectors: Masterplan, Residential, Leisure

We were invited by urban developers Igloo to submit a design proposal for the Malmo Quay where the Ouseburn meets Newcastle Quayside as part of a design competition.

Working with the Urbed masterplan strategy our proposal described the external community space as the generator of the resulting plots which housed the cycle hub, restaurant and live/work units. The view from the Freetrade Pub was a key design driver in the massing with urban space created on the roof of the restaurant to keep the view from becoming cluttered.

The cycle hub building has a dynamic but light structural form to reflect the function it houses and also giving a landmark to this amazing site on the Tyne River.


The Great Fen Visitor Centre

Location: Great Fen

Sectors: Cultural, Sustainability, Competition

In collaboration with landscape architects OOBE we created this vision of the Great Fen Visitor Centre which was long listed as part of an RIBA competition.

Working with the existing ecological heritage, the historical grain of field drains and hedgerows was reinforced to form a network of pathways and interventions forming the masterplan in which the centre is sited. Drawing inspiration from the vernacular of historical pump houses and chimneys, the living tower gives the visitor an observation deck, a focal point and an understanding of the macro and micro biodiversity.

Visitors are encouraged to follow their senses as they experience the Fen habitats through a network of waterways, paths and boardwalks branching out from the Visitors Centre into the extraordinary landscape.

Stewart Park Visitors Centre

Visitors Centre at Stewart Park
Location : Stewart Park, Middlesbrough
Sectors: Heritage, Sustainability, Retail, Education
Dan Kerr Project Architect at Napper Architects

Part of a £6million (HLF funded) restoration works to the park and the historic buildings within the grounds of the Stewart Park, Captain Cooks birthplace, this timber framed visitors centre provides tourist information, retail, and an education centre.

The Centre is a contemporary intervention providing tactile architecture which is sympathetic and respectful to its context of surrounding Grade II listed buildings

Utilising renewable technologies and construction techniques such as photovoltaics, heat pumps, rainwater harvesting & super insulation the centre continues the tradition of Sir Henry Bolckow in embracing cutting edge technologies of its time. The centre itself is part of the visitors experience and is used as a teaching tool with visual displays of energy and resource production, collection, and usage within the building.

Salford Meadows Bridge

Salford Meadows RIBA Bridge Competition
Location: Salford
Sectors: Infrastructure, Competition

Required to span from the busy A6 to historic Peel Park in Salford our entry to the RIBA Salford Meadows Bridge Competition draws on the rich history of the Cotton Mills in the surrounding area.

Designed in collaboration with structural engineers Shed, the Bridge has two pylons formed in corten steel creating a focal element with the deck hanging via a dynamic cable weave reminiscent of the large industrial looms.

Permaculture Centre

Permaculture Café and Retail
Location : Hexham, Northumberland
Sectors: Heritage, Retail

This design is part of a wider holistic project to provide a Permaculture Centre within the Hexham area where produce is grown by the community through a community vocational training programme and sold to the community on site and in local outlets such as the café in central Hexham. The design utilises an underused area of the Priory Courtyard as part of the refurbishments to the Grade I listed buildings