29/10/2015 Office trip to Venice

The Mackenzie Wheeler team took advantage of a long weekend in Venice at the start of October. With the background of the Biennale Festival and a plethora of tourists with selfie sticks, the team enjoyed a fantastic 3 days of sightseeing, eating, drinking and Gondola watching.

The British pavilion at the Biennale got the vote as the most provocative and interesting of the exhibitions and we all agreed it was best to stay off the cigarettes!

Rare Art Deco London Home Restoration and Refurbishment Completed by Mackenzie Wheeler
27/07/2015 Rare Art Deco London Home Restoration and Refurbishment Completed by Mackenzie Wheeler

Mackenze Wheeler have completed the careful restoration of a beautiful Grade 2 listed Art Deco townhouse in central London as a private family home. The building, orignally built for a knighted consultant surgeon and his wife and their staff, is a concrete encased steel framed building cleverly arranged around a series of open light wells which affords natural light to every room.

Designed in 1934, the house exhibits many stunning features which have all been painstakingly refurbished and restored. This includes many orignal fittings by Betty Joel (furniture), Waldo Maitland (lights) and Marion Dorn (rugs) who were all leading desginers of the day.

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3 Redchurch Street Shoreditch London Residential Architects Mackenzie Wheeler
24/07/2015 Mackenzie Wheeler Complete Historic Shoreditch Terrace

The project comprises the redevelopment of a terrace of 19th century buildings with additional 2 and 3 storey extensions to provide 6 flats on the upper floors and 3 shops on the ground floor and basement, set within the fast developing Redchurch Street in the South Shoreditch Conservation Area.

Nos. 5-7 comprised the refurbishment and extension of the original 19th century buildings with a 2 storey extension at 3rd and 4th floor levels. No.3 comprised a complete new build, retaining only the façade of the original 2 storey building and rebuilding all the accommodation behind from basement up to the new 4th floor level.

The existing facades were carefully repaired to their original condition while the extensions are highly contemporary. The top, 4th floor level, provides a spectacular sequence of modern glazed spaces opening up onto new landscaped roof terraces.

The front elevation of no.3 features a large splayed projecting bay window to the upper floors that allows views from the accommodation east and west along Redchurch Street while also allowing the morning and evening sun to penetrate into these spaces.

The bay window is faced on the street elevation with a perforated Corten steel screen that shields the internal accommodation from view of the offices in the Tea Building on the other side of the street. The screen is laser cut with a text that records every owner, occupier and use of the site throughout recorded history, including all their dates, back to when it was part of the Priory of St.John the Baptist in 1158.

The screen masks the junction between the old and new elements of the building, creating a continuity of building form, and provides as link with the history of the site in an area where so much of the history is being lost beneath the rampant redevelopment of Shoreditch. The very specific nature of the information recorded on the screen ensures that the building could be nowhere else in the world, in London, or even in Redchurch Street.

One of the joys of the screen is way it plays with the sunlight that the projecting bay window captures at the beginning and the end of each day. The history of the site is both projected and reflected onto the facade and into the interiors, and even bounced back off the glazing onto the inside face of the screen, to create an ever changing and dynamic visual effect that both entertains and informs.


Architects: Mackenzie Wheeler

Quantity Surveyors: Rex Proctor & Partners

Structural Engineers: Waldeck Associates

Services Engineers: Wallace Whittle

Contractor: Thomas Sinden

Metal Screen: Redhouse Forge

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14/07/2015 Duncan Mackenzie

After 29 years, Duncan is moving on from Mackenzie Wheeler Architects and Designers to focus his experience, expertise and enthusiasm on Hotel, Spa and Destination projects at an international level. Rupert will continue to manage and develop the practice in their core sectors of Hospitality, Leisure, Education and Residential development. Mackenzie Wheeler will continue to work with Duncan on new projects where their combined input will benefit both projects and clients.

For further enquiries, please contact Rupert Wheeler on 0207 042 7670.

Bristol Cathedral Primary School - Mackenzie Wheeler Architects and Designers
24/03/2015 Mackenzie Wheeler Win Planning Consent for Bristol Cathedral Primary School


Mackenzie Wheeler have won planning permission and listed building consent for the conversion of the redundant lower two floors of Bristol Central Library for use by the Cathedral Primary School, a new 420 place Free School with a budget of about £4 million to be operated by the Cathedral Choir School that has operated from the adjoining site since the 12th century.

The Central Library is a Grade 1 listed building completed in 1906 to the designs of Charles Holden. It is built in a free Arts and Crafts style, subtly linking with the Norman gatehouse next door and forming part of a group of major historic building surrounding College Green that includes the Cathedral, Lutyens’ City Hall and The Lord Mayor’s Chapel.

The lower two floors of the Library were designed by Holden as a grand double height space top lit by roof lights and clerestory lighting to accommodate the archive work of the library. The space is an interesting precursor to the very similar but overtly modernist spaces that accommodate the ticket halls in his 1930’s designs for the London Underground, but here it is hidden within an Arts and Crafts building that characterised his earlier work. Unfortunately the space was infilled with a mezzanine in the 1950’s to maximise book storage.

However, the bookstore now falls a long way short of the environmental standards required for proper archive storage so it is to be moved to more suitable accommodation nearby, and the vacant space is to be converted into desperately needed Primary School accommodation. This creates the opportunity to reinstate the original form of the interior and offers a much more appropriate use for this architecturally important space.

The plan is very simple and direct and comprises classrooms being arranged on two levels around the perimeter of the building, where they have the best access to natural light and ventilation, all accessed off the central hall. A new entrance is to be formed within the original loading bay to provide access from College Square to the south and link with the adjoining school buildings each side of this square.

The constraints of working within the Grade 1 listed building has generated a distinctive but highly effective layout. This, alongside the unique styling of the interior spaces developed in response to the original Arts & Craft architecture, will create an educational environment of a quality, style and character that is rarely achieved within usual educational budgets and procurement strategies.

Client: Bristol Cathedral Choir School

Funding: The Education Funding Agency

Project managers: Turner & Townsend

Architects: Mackenzie Wheeler

Structural Engineers: Campbell Reith

Mechanical and Electrical Engineers: Building Services Design

Planning consultants: Jones Lang LaSalle

Contact Rupert Wheeler, Mackenzie Wheeler Architects & Designers

1 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, London E2 7DJ.

Tel: 0207 042 7670.

Email: rwheeler@mackenziewheeler.co.uk

12/02/2015 River Cottage Winchester Finalist in Casual Dining Awards 2015

Mackenzie Wheeler Architects and Designers London entry, River Cottage Canteen Winchester, is one of forty casual pubs and restaurants across the UK to be shortlisted in the second annual Casual Dining Awards, taking place at the Business Design Centre in London on 25th and 26th February.

“Consumers are becoming more discerning where design and branding is concerned. There’s more to consider than just the senses of taste and smell – ambience and visual stimulation beyond the plate are more important than ever,” comments David Worthington, chairman of Holmes & Marchant Design Group 

“This year’s shortlist boasts an extraordinary array of talent and innovative projects and the casual dining sector has proven yet again, that design should be at the forefront of business decisions. I look forward to some lively debate with my fellow judges at this year’s awards.”

Further details of the awards, and a full list of finalists is available via the press release in hotel-industry.co.uk

River Cottage Winchester by Mackenzie Wheeler Architects and Designers
11/02/2015 Shortlisting for RICS Awards 2015

Mackenzie Wheeler Architects and Designers project River Cottage Canteen, Winchester is one of eight projects shortlisted in this years’ RICS South East Awards 2015 within the Building Conservation category.

The restaurant opened its doors in September, 2014 and is the third project undertaken by Mackenzie Wheeler for the River Cottage chain.

The restaurant has been created within an 18th century Grade 2 listed mill, known as Abbey Mill, located within Abbey Mill Gardens in the centre of Winchester and very near the Cathedral.

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14/10/2014 Mackenzie Wheeler Complete River Cottage, Winchester

The River Cottage Canteen in Winchester is the fourth restaurant to be opened by Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall’s high profile West Country operation, adding to those in Axminster, Plymouth and Bristol, and it is the third one to be designed by Mackenzie Wheeler.

The restaurant has been created within an 18th century Grade 2 listed mill, known as Abbey Mill, located within Abbey Mill Gardens in the centre of Winchester and very near the Cathedral. The mill comprises a collection of fairly utilitarian brick buildings, developed and adapted over the last three centuries as milling technology changed but, rather oddly, was faced with a fine classical portico in 1800 so that the building might present a more attractive façade to the new public park formed in the centre of the city at that time.

Internally the building comprised a complex arrangement of fairly small and low ceilinged spaces on varying levels that, while typical of most old mill buildings, did not seem to offer a very attractive venue for a new restaurant. However, with a grand entrance accessed directly off the public park and built over the fast flowing mill race, a tributary of the River Itchen, the location and setting was both very attractive and quite unique.

River Cottage aspires to the highest standards of sustainability in all its operations, from the sourcing of ingredients to building construction and energy generation, so the emphasis of the project was to make the best use of the existing building stock and the embodied energy present within these buildings. This approach also offers the best way of achieving a unique sense of place so that the venue is properly rooted within its location and quickly becomes an integral part of the city.

The brief required the delivery of at least 130 dining covers, including a private dining area for about 20, a deli’ area for retail sales and a bar, both to support the restaurant and to trade in its own right. A further 50 covers were required outside to capitalise on the unique parkland setting of the venue. The restaurant should also offer a base for River Cottage’s environmental campaigns, offer cookery courses and provide a venue for live music nights, meetings, presentations and events.

The diverse range of internal spaces has been used to create a variety of dining areas, but the trick to making all these spaces light, accessible and visible has been the removal of various areas of floor to create a sequence of double height spaces through which the main dining spaces can be viewed. The result actually adds to the complexity of the original sequence of spaces but offers fascinating views through the building, inviting visitors to explore further, opens up the public areas to space and daylight and cleverly reveals the historic development of the old mill.

The entrance through the grand classical portico leads to a raised reception area. This overlooks the first double height volume over the café and gives views of the open kitchen and deli at the lower level and the bar on the upper level. Passing down through the cafe leads to another double height space through which you enter the old milling room that now forms one of the main dining areas. Climbing up to the bar level leads you past this second double height space and into the granary at first floor level that forms the second main dining area, under a lofty roof supported on great exposed timber trusses.

All these spaces are linked with views, balconies and a second staircase to create what is an unconventional layout but one that clearly expresses the buildings historic development. This sensitive and highly sustainable development of the old building creates a unique and engaging interior that now matches the unique setting.

The materials largely comprise those found within the original building, so the patchwork of brick and stone to the original walls is retained and exposed. The original pine and elm floor boarding remains on the upper levels while the ground floor is tiled with simple red quarry tiles to suit the utilitarian nature of this space. The only new area of flooring is in the old milling room where beautiful Purbeck stone from the Dorset coast replaces an earlier concrete floor to give a lighter finish of much greater quality. The ceiling of this room is lined with hand cut timber laths that would have supported the original plastered ceiling.

Old fittings, ropes and pulleys from the original milling operations prompted the development of a lighting design that features numerous lights hung from a network of ropes that run throughout the upper roof spaces, linking all these spaces and dropping down through the double height spaces to light the café and dining areas at the lower level as well. Furniture has generally been sourced from the West Country and is of a simple functional design, enlivened by some colourful floral fabrics that echo a patterned wallpaper found in the bar on the first floor.

The highly sustainable approach to the project is to be capped with the future development of the mill race to provide hydro electric power for the restaurant operation. This, the creation of the new restaurant and bar, and River Cottage’s use of the venue for its campaigning work will ensure that the old mill buildings once again form a lively and valuable local resource for the people of Winchester and its many visitors.

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25/09/2014 21 Wilkes Street Location for Latest Fashion Shoot by Leading London Brand: Ghost

It’s always exciting to see our projects featured and used in various ways in the media.

Most recently, one of our signature residential projects was selected as an ideal location for a fashion shoot for recently re-launched heritage fashion brand Ghost.

21 Wilkes Street provides a wonderful backdrop for the most recent shoot, launching the Autumn/Winter, 2014 collection.

This early Georgian Grade II listed townhouse, built in 1720, had once been a furrier’s factory for 150 years but although derelict and opened out into a factory space on the ground floor, remained in original condition on the upper floors.

The family residence was sensitively repaired to retain all of the properties original panelling, floor boarding, joinery, plaster and lime wash finishes, and was reroofed. The stunning blend of period interiors and modern essentials blend seamlessly.

Outside, the factory space to the rear yard was removed to create a modern garden, divided from the house by a dramatic sliding glass screen, pool and light well that illuminate the lower floors. The combination of modern design and ancient finishes has created a unique and attractive historic environment.

Ghost have produced a great video of the one day shot on location:

Ghost AW14 Shoot from Ghost Online on Vimeo

Box on the Docks
18/08/2014 Mackenzie Wheeler’s ‘Box On The Docks’ Wins Pub Of The Year Award

Hall & Woodhouse, a new pub and restaurant on the quayside of Portishead Dock in Somerset, has recently been awarded “Pub Design of the Year 2013” in the annual CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) and English Heritage awards. This is the 1st year since 2006 that CAMRA and English Heritage have found a new pub worthy of the award.

Nicknamed locally as the “Box on the Docks”, the design is notable for its prominent use of 28 shipping containers in its construction, recycled after delivering gifts from China for Christmas 2011. These containers give the building much of its architectural character that is highly appropriate to the marine location and forms a strong visual link with the Dock’s industrial past. They also accommodate many functions such as private dining and meeting rooms, customer toilets, storage areas and staff accommodation that are ideally suited to the cellular nature of containers.

However, the idea of shipping containers as the form of construction is no architectural whimsy but was generated by the requirement to design a building that could be extended upwards, to accommodate 3 additional storeys of hotel rooms within a further 108 containers at a later date, once the pub and restaurant had become established. The use of containers will allow the hotel rooms to be added with minimal disruption and closure of the existing operations... so the building’s biggest trick is yet to come!

In the meantime the new pub and restaurant forms a very popular, lively and appropriate focus for the on-going development of the new town quarter of Portishead around its old Docks. Its appeal across all generations of residents, tourists and business users indicates a real appetite for new and contemporary design within the pub sector and it is CAMRA’s hope that the award will encourage others to once again build new pubs that contribute architecturally, as well as socially and economically, to the civic life of their communities.

Read more about the awards and nominations for the project in Premier Construction News.

Owner and operator:
Hall & Woodhouse Ltd, Blandford, Dorset

Floor area:
10,980ft2 (1,020m2)

Construction cost: approx’

Construction period:
January to November 2012