Friar House Apartment Hotel

Friar House is an excellent example of pre-Grainger Newcastle and has seen various transformations since construction in the 1700’s from the Town Recorders main residence to an industrial factory.

The large Georgian town house was in a poor state of disrepair when we took on the project to restore the grade II listed building and convert into a boutique hotel. Roomzzz Newcastle is an award winning which can now be enjoyed now by all. There are 14 suites over the five floors including a penthouse suite with mezzanine floor in the roof space. Proportions of key spaces have been retained employing  “Manhattan Lofts” style subdivision to create different moods within original proportioned spaces.

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


Newcastle Lord Mayors Awards – Conservation Award
RIBA North East - Emerging Practice of the Year
RIBA North East - Conservation Project of the Year
RIBA North East - Building Award
RICS North East - Tourism & Leisure Commendation

Mount Grace Priory Cafe

MawsonKerr were commissioned to design and deliver a cafe within the grounds of Mount Grace Priory in order to increase visitors numbers, the sites offer and to enhance an underused area of the site. Mount Grace Priory is the most complete surviving Carthusian Monastery in Britain dating back to the 14th Century including a Scheduled Ancient Monument, Grade I & II* Listed buildings.

The café was part of an overall masterplan for the redevelopment of the gardens designed by Chris Beardshaw (Gardens World).  Mount Grace Priory cafe reaches out into the landscape and becomes part of the interpretation of the site whilst increasing dwell time and visitor experience.  We worked closely with Chris and the team in the integration of the café within the landscape.

From the outset the project has been envisioned as a contemporary building which is respectful to the context. The design refers to traditional wood working techniques, vernacular forms and traditional materials evidenced in the Monument. The oak screen ‘reaches’ out into the landscape and the double pitched form mounted on the oak screen refers to the crossing of thresholds – the boundary walls of the monk’s cloister with the repeating pitches of the monk’s cell’s beyond.

In such a sensitive historic and environmental context, the specification of the materials has to be carefully and creatively considered. The Oak screen was manufactured from unused 30-year-old oak boards. The boards were being stored at an English Heritage Store at Helmsley, North Yorkshire minimising the use of new hardwoods. Slate material for the roof and external walls was sourced from a reclaimed stock of local slate, this was selected as the material requires very low levels of maintenance and can be easily repaired or replaced when required.  


North York Moors National Park – Best Non Residential Building
RIBA Yorkshire - Shortlisted
RICS Yorkshire – Tourism & Leisure Shortlisted

Beamish Football Centre

Beamish Football Centre is an redevelopment of the clubhouse in Stanley. Situated in county Durham the existing clubhouse was no longer fit for purpose and required a new centre to provide the club a more suitable home for their future ambitions.

Anna and Carl Marshall, who run Stanley Events, are addressing an immediate need in an area. They are transforming a community asset into a state-of-the-art centre of excellence for education and sport. The Centre is already used for football and fitness training, skills development and socialising. Their dream is to create a community hub for education and skills development. A centre for coaching excellence where footballers of all ability develop their love of the game and provide an asset that will revitalise sport in County Durham and attract others from across the region to learn, play and enjoy themselves.

“We dared to dream big and we know there are businesses and individuals who will be inspired by our vision for Beamish Football Centre. We are creating an incredible sporting and education venue. Not only to help people today, but to continue inspiring generations for years to come.”

- Carl Marshall, Client

Beamish Football Centre - MawsonKerr


Beamish Football Centre - MawsonKerr


Beamish Football Centre - MawsonKerr

Our design utilises much of the existing building to reduce the carbon footprint. For example the ground floor being largely retained and a new, small brick extension introduced the north and west seamlessly tied in. Furthermore, the first floor is replaced which was formerly a pitched roof space with limited footprint. A lightweight illuminated polycarbonate intervention is now introduced to this floor. Featuring a new kitchen, servery and function room with dual aspect terrace onto the surrounding pitches.

Sustainability was at the forefront of the proposals ethos, with the existing building not only reused but retrofitted to increase performance. Alongside a fabric first approach to new build elements, coupled with a natural ventilation strategy to reduce heating and cooling demands throughout.

Furthermore the new façade has an intelligent LED lighting system. This can be colour changed to light each elevation in a different colour as required.

More on the centre in the press HERE.

Beamish Football Centre - MawsonKerr


Beamish Football Centre - MawsonKerr


Beamish Football Centre - MawsonKerr

Birdoswald Roman Fort

Birdoswald Roman Fort is part of Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site, a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade II listed (Courtyard Buildings).  The Cumbrian site is run by English Heritage with the existing visitor centre providing interpretation displays for the Roman Fort as well as a new café, retail, education space and accommodation. On an elevated site the building benefits from expansive views across Northumberland and Cumbria.

This project looked at an overall masterplan and refurbishment/new build options for the centre including visitor flow and experience.

A key aspect to the project was the spatial assessment of the current and proposed and the ‘jigsaw puzzle’ that needed to be solved to appropriately accommodate all functions to maximise the visitor experience and allow for an efficient running of the site.  The design involved both refurbishment and a new build contemporary glazed link.

We have worked closely with the project team to develop and scheme which we be an exemplar family experience and their flagship family site on the Wall.



RICS North West Leisure and Tourism Award

Star & Shadow Cinema

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 Star & Shadow 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.



Newcastle Lord Mayors Award – Sustainability Award
RIBA McEwen Award















Prior to works

Prior to works

Calverley Old Hall

Calverley Old Hall near Leeds is a Grade I listed medieval manor house with fabric dating from the 13th to 17th centuries. While part has been a Landmark holiday let for many years, the rest of the site had fallen into disuse and such decay that it is currently on the Heritage at Risk Register. In 2017 an international design competition was launched; our design was shortlisted against 75 proposals, we went on be part of the final interview process.

Our proposal imagined recreating the former uses of the original hall in their configuration, bringing back the glory of the main congregation spaces with historic fabric retained throughout. Any interventions were to be in contemporary materials to be easily read against the original building. Using CLT as the main proposed material four bedrooms with en-suites were created with the dramatic medieval spaces kept as livable follies for banquets and gatherings.

Levens Hall Restaurant

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. The house has been in the Bagot Family for centuries who were looking to create a contemporary restaurant within the grounds to complement the amazing historical fair that has been a tourist destination for decades. Famous for the topiary hedges of amazing scale and variety it is regularly used for film sets and garden programmes.

We worked with the family and staff looking at a number of different sites and design options within the grounds before homing in on a proposal that was simple in plan with 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.

Tyne Tee

The Staithes at Dunston, a listed structure, is considered to be the largest timber structure in Europe. This relic of the industrial era currently collects flotsam and is slowly decomposing in the silt of the Tyne.

Our light touch proposal is to bring this back to life as an ecological gold driving range where you can “hit some balls and feed the fish”. This is part of the Forgotten Spaces North East competition where surreal and wild ideas are pitched in a public arena discussing areas requiring regeneration.

There is a more serious debate behind the light-hearted solution; the loss of this iconic structure. We are putting our whole-hearted support behind this industrial monument and will be generating other ideas in the coming months.


Forgotten Spaces North East Winner


Malmo Quay Masterplan

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 obstruction.

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.