Islington Mill is a Grade II listed mill building in Salford, the building is home to a rich mix of uses; art gallery, music venue, artist studios, apartments, a B+B and lots more. The building has a become a cultural hub in Salford and has an international reputation. The creative arts organisation IMAC and Bill Campbell have saved the building from dis-repair, demolition or conversion to yet another commercial apartment block. Over the last 10 years we have completed several projects at the mill, including the venue space, B+B and the two bed flats.
We are currently working on an Arts Council funded project to open up the upper floors of the building into a large open gallery and artists residency spaces. Costing about £1.6m the project will secure the building's future. It is due to be submitted for planning permission in summer 2015 and construction is due Spring 2016.
Completed in 2010 the Manchester Academy project was the culmination of a long relationship with the Students Union at Manchester University, it started with a toilet conversion in the basement of the old student union building and ended in a £3.8M refurbishment of their flagship venue space.
The old academy building was a big box, much loved by music fans for its raw experience, but lacking in accessibility, toilet facilities and good support spaces for the bands.
Our project grafted new elements of changing rooms and a disabled viewing platform onto the sides of the existing hall and introduced a new glazed tower which acts a beacon on the busy Oxford Road frontage. One of the biggest challenges as designers was to keep the venue open for as long as possible so much of the construction took place whilst the venue was still operating.
We are proud to have successfully delivered such large and complex project, which for an small, independent practice is a great achievement. We are grateful to the Manchester University Students Union for showing the confidence in us and knowing we could deliver.
Over the years we have been involved in many domestic alterations from the modest extension to a total re-modeling. As with all of our projects we take the time to understand the needs of the client and the qualities of space they require in order to transform their home.
Salford Lads Club
This iconic Edwardian building was originally designed in 1903 by Henry Lord in the eclectic edwardian style. It is built of brick and terracotta and the design cleverly arranges a series of spaces around a main gym. The building is a fascinating mixture of high quality architecture, amazing social history and strong local community use. More recently it has become a shrine to The Smiths fans from all over the world.
The club retains most of its original features and we have refurbished many of the rooms to their former glory. This is not so much an act of persevering but of actively enabling the needs of the club. The building has been in continuous use for over 100 years.
Our latest project was funded by Sport England for a new disabled lift and fire stair which will allow the building to be fully used by the local community (and The Smiths tribute bands no doubt!)
An old printing works, this building dates from about 1760 and is one of the oldest building on Chapel Street the main thoroughfare into manchester from the north west of Manchester and Lancashire.
We bought the building in 1999 and it has become an architectural experiment into how to breath new life into redundant buildings. It had been pretty much abandoned by the previous owner who saw it as a liability. We saw the potential in a building with architectural character, in a location on the edge of Manchester and in an area with significant regeneration investment.
It is now home to an independent Italian cafe, Lupo, serving the best fresh pasta in Manchester. A design studio for White Paper Games, a digital games company, International III, and their gallery bringing emerging artists to a wider audience an office for Architects Britch and finally a home for ourselves.
The project has taken 10 years to get to this stage, we have enjoyed the creative freedom to experiment, learning along the way and ultimately arriving at a sustainable creative ecology of small business in the heart of the Manchester. We believe the Chapel Street Project, an organic multi-functional approach to development to be a great model for other ‘redundant' buildings.
Architecture can make a difference both to people’s lives and the enjoyment of the built environment.
Competitions and teaching
Like teaching competitions allows us to explore our thinking and we have enjoyed collaborating on ideas with other architects, landscape architects and artists. the appeal is in working without the confines of day to day architecture.
We really enjoyed the Forgotten Space project in sheffield 1998 in which we received a commendation. It was a light hearted take on abandoned non-space under and around civil engineering infrastructures.
Other entires include the Wirksworth Pavilion of the arts festival and the Smokery for the Tatton Park Biennial.
Teaching has been a foundation of our practice allowing us time and space to develop the theories behind our designs. We enjoy the opportunity to reflect and question our work and test our ideas with young emerging architects. At Sheffield University David is currently running a studio in Third Year and Isabel teaches in First Year, both on the undergraduate course.