New Architects 3

New Architects 3 is the definitive survey of the best British Architects to have set up practice in the ten years since 2005. The third book in the Architecture Foundation's highly influential series, it feature close to 100 practices, selected by a jury of leading critics and curators. As a portrait of the emerging talent in one of the worlds most consistently influential architectural cultures, New Architects 3 casts light on the future of architecture in the UK and beyond. The book features more than 450 illustrations of the selected practices' work and is introduced by the Pritzker Architects Prize laureate, Norman Foster. 

We were extremely pleased that we were able to share some of our work alongside some of Britains other best young architecture practices. We were able to share briefly our Essex Mews and Cecelia Road projects, which you can check out fully on our projects page. 

The Housing Design Handbook

by David Levitt and Jo McCafferty

Everyone deserves a decent and affordable home, a truth (almost) universally acknowledged. But housing in the UK has been in a state of crisis for decades, with too few homes built, too often of dubious quality, and costing too much to buy, rent or inhabit. It doesn’t have to be like this. Bringing together a wealth of experience from a wide range of housing experts, this completely revised edition of The Housing Design Handbook provides an authoritative, comprehensive and systematic guide to best practice in what is perhaps the most contentious and complex field of architectural design.

This book sets out design principles for all the essential components of successful housing design – including placemaking, typologies and density, internal and external space, privacy, security, tenure, and community engagement – illustrated with case studies of schemes by architecture practices working across the UK and continental Europe.

Written by David Levitt and Jo McCafferty – two recognised authorities in the field – and with contributions from more than twenty other leading practitioners, The Housing Design Handbook is an essential reference for professionals and students in architecture and design as well as for government bodies, housing associations and other agencies involved in housing.

Makeover - Conversions and extensions of homes and residential space

Makeover - MW Architects
Makeover - MW Architects

In the world of architecture and construction there is a general consensus that many existing residential buildings will have to be substantially renovated within the next few years – not only because they are technically outdated but also because their functionality and esthetics are no lon - ger in line with contemporary demands and requirements. For each venture of this type, the owners and architects must deal and come to terms with the existing structures. Some projects consist of only a few square meters within an old building while others exceed the size of the previ - ously existing living space.

Based on more than 100 carefully selected works, the whole scope of possibilities for extensions and conver - sions is presented – from multi-floor annexes, via newly designed existing spaces, to additional sections or merged spaces. Some of the interventions are understated, while others are preeminent, utilizing matching or contrasting materials, and exhibiting a great variety of different styles – whether minimalist, rustic, elaborate, elegant ..


(Description from athour)

We are hiring!!

Part I Architectural Assistant

MW Architects are looking for a Part I Architectural Assistant to join their vibrant studio in central London! 

We have an exciting opportunity for a Part I to become an integral part of our team giving you the opportunity to gain large amounts of experience across all RIBA stages from initial design to experience on site. Focusing mainly on the high end residential market that thrives here in London, there is the opportunity for you to play an integral role in our design process. Assisting our architects with the day to day running of projects you will also be given the opportunity to flourish as an individual leading on competition entries. 

As the perfect candidate you will ideally be an enthusiastic, hard working individual having recently gained your Part I qualification ready to join our team for a minimum of 9 months. You will comparable of competently working as both part of a team and individually when you are required to do so, taking initiative to deliver the best work you are capable of. As a Part I at MW Architects you will be required to have excellent visual and graphic skills, fluent in the Adobe Creative Suite, as well as excellent architectural design skills. As a practice we use BIM to assist us throughout the architectural process, therefore experience using 3D modelling software is essential, with experience using Archicad being an added bonus. We also produce all of our own in house renders using CineRender by Maxon so experience with rendering will also be an added benefit to your application.

Essential Skills Required

  • Excellent design and aesthetic awareness
  • Experience producing content for social media
  • Fluent in both spoken and written English
  • Productive both as a team and an individual
  • A desire to work on competition entries, producing unique designs
  • Interest in learning and developing knowledge of all RIBA stages
  • Strong graphic, visualisation and layout skills
  • Experience using Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator)
  • Previous 3D modelling experience

Preferred Skills;

  • Fluent using MacOS
  • Videography skills
  • Experience rendering using CineRender
  • Experience using Archicad

Benefits of working at MW Architects;

  • Valuable and insightful experience across all work stage
  • Competitive salary
  • Health insurance

How to apply;

If you think you would fit well into the MW Architects team then please send your CV, covering letter and a short portfolio of your work to with the subject 'Part 1 - August 2018' (please ensure the file size is less than 5mb and in pdf format as otherwise we won’t receive it!) 

Why is a budget so important to us?

 Clapham house was a whole house refurbishment with lower-ground and ground floor extensions, made successful through the detialin of costs to the client. 

Clapham house was a whole house refurbishment with lower-ground and ground floor extensions, made successful through the detialin of costs to the client. 

At MW Architects we pride ourselves with being able to offer every client a detailed predictive bottom line cost from the earliest stage of the project, sometimes even before we visit site. We believe that this helps us to maintain a happy relationship with our clients, as being clear and upfront with the projects costs eliminates the shock factor later down the line. Having successfully completed projects from £100k to £3m we believe that this philosophy should be applied to every project to ensure that we can help you realise your vision while staying within budget. 

Melissa Robinson, Director at MW Architects, went into further detail about what we do and how 'Giving clients the bottom line makes for happier projects', with the RIBA following a pecha kucha on the topic at the RIBA Guerilla Tactics Conference in November 2017. If you want to find out more then head over to the RIBA article and have a read for yourself. 

RIBA Article -


Luxury Master Suite

This project in NW3 was a brand new home for a previous client.  Having inherited a planning permission for the site from the previous owners, external works were limited to the approved envelope and style but the inside provided a canvas for the clients to display their personalities all the way through the home.

With a generous 750 SQM floor plan, spaces were able to be given more area than in other smaller homes.  This led to grand connected spaces at all levels.

On the first floor, the Master Suite is the epitome of private luxury with a 90 sqm bedroom, bathroom and dressing area across the entire south facing rear of the property behind a large double door from the main hallway.

With a central Juliette balcony the bed sits against a bespoke back-lit bedhead wall with inbuilt side tables and reading lamps and lights floating above.  This opens up onto a large dressing area with a set of corner cupboards and a central dressing unit.

Walking around to the bathroom there is a suggestion of what is to come as large slabs of contrasting marble ‘peek out’ into the passageway.  The design here is based on a series of slabs rising from floor to ceiling in contrasting and inverted marbles to create distinct spaces for the functions of the room as well as to define ‘his and her’ spaces. 

As you enter the bathroom you are greeted with Panda White book-matched marble slab denoting ‘her’ dressing area with a sink unit on the reverse.  Facing onto this is ‘his’ sink area on a Black Moon book-matched marble slab.  Behind this slab is a 2.5m walk through shower and separate ‘his and hers’ toilets behind the final partition.

The marbles were carefully selected to be as close to a perfect invert of each other as possible, with the monochrome adding to the impressive contrast.

The floor-to-ceiling slab partitions are set to be perpendicular to the rear wall and window allowing light to flow into the entire bathroom space.  The striking pebble free-standing bath floats harmoniously in front of one of the windows.  The effect is a dramatic yet very functional bathroom space.

Materiality was of high importance throughout with the suite flooring in timber parquet throughout allowing a real sense of continuing space -  the only break in this is for the walk through shower slab.  White plastered walls are used in all spaces to allow the materials to be visually prominent.  A dark grey stained oak is used on the bedroom furniture with the bedhead being a painted softwood and a bespoke construction built in situ. 

Acle Bridge Visitor Centre Competition - Norfolk Broads

We recently entered into a competition to design the new visitor's centre at Acle Bridge, in the Norfolk Broads. We were given the task of designing a canal side visitor centre that provided cafe space, facilities for mooring boats, an education space and an exhibition area in order to educate visitors about the history of the Norfolk Broads and the importance of water. The building was also to be designed in order to take advantage of the surrounding landscape, the largest protected wet land in the UK. 

We approached this project, designing what we hoped had the ability to be a landmark building for the Norfolk Broads Authority. Being in such a significant part of the country we took inspiration from one of the greatest pieces of architecture found in the Norfolk Broads, the wherry boat. We wanted to capture the wind filled sails that can be seen cutting through the reeds of the Norfolk broads in a solidified structure but in an abstracted manner. Due to the organic shapes created by the sails we thought it would be counter productive to begin with computer modelling. Instead, we started our

investigation using craft rock to create organic 'sail like' shapes. We were then able to establish numerous roofing schemes that we could use in the design of our building.

The result, we believe, is one that answers the brief while delivering a unique piece of architecture and in some way a part of the Norfolk Broads, in building form. We have proposed a collection of 'sail like' swooping curved roofing planes which create a dramatic and spacious interior. Large expanses of glass frame the outstanding surrounds while also flooding the building with natural light, while making the building more sustainable as a result of large solar gains. The concave roof planes also serve as grey water collectors allowing the building to be serviced by the water it collects. The roofing system itself is a unique system that we invented and pioneered in conjunction with structure mode (read our blog about that here). A cnc cut, LVL structural timber, self reciprocating, double curved timber roof with a stressed skin

How we developed an innovative roof construction method!

In 2014 we were given the exciting opportunity to design a replacement for a dilapidated, unused and unloved glass conservatory in East London. In this we saw the opportunity to experiment and develop an innovative timber roofing system. The result, a self reciprocating, double curved timber roof with a stressed skin. A unique roof was created unlike any in the surrounding area, floating above a beautiful space which is flooded with natural daylight everyday no matter the time of year. 

STEP 1 - 3D Modelling

After we had the idea for our new roofing system, we modelled it completely down to every nut and bolt on BIM. This allowed us to collaborate with structural engineers to ensure the rigidity of our proposed design. From our BIM model we were then able to extract each timber beam's outline for our test model. 

STEP 2 - Laser Cut Model

As our excitement increased about our idea becoming a reality we decided that we wanted to build a little version to keep in our office for ourselves. We produced a scaled laser cut model of the roofing structure - which not only looked cool but helped settle our nerves about it fitting together. Effectively we had designed a timber jigsaw on a building scale. 

"How we developed an innovative roof construction method" - Independent Place - MW Architects
"How we developed an innovative roof construction method" - Independent Place - MW Architects
"How we developed an innovative roof construction method" - Independent Place - MW Architects

STEP 3 - CNC Cutting

Physical model complete, it was now time for the real thing! After final structural checks, we exported our template for the timber beams and sent it over to Finland. We had decided that the best construction material would be Kerto-Q Structural LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) from Metsa Wood in Finland. The reason we decided on this was due to its exceptional structural performance. This super strength comes from its cross lamination, with each layer going in a different direction, meaning that when cut into curved beams the structural strength is in no way comprised. The below image shows how each sheet of LVL was cut using a CNC machine forming our individual pieces, with millimetre accuracy.  

It was then a waiting game for our timber to arrive in London! 

STEP 4 - Timber Arrives!

After a quick few weeks the wait was over and our oversized jigsaw pieces were in London! We began the trouble free, seamless operation of slotting ever piece together forming our double curved timber latice that served as the roofs 'structural bones'. Each element was bolted together, spreading the load across the entire roof, then down to the foundations through the steel support columns. Of course we had to go to site in order to see this process happen, we couldn't miss it! 

STEP 5 - Completion 

After the roof structure was assembled it was then lifted into to place, floating on thin steel columns and then made water tight with slithers of glass between the roof and the minimal side walls. The result, an innovative roof curving up graciously towards the sky. Not only an architectural showpiece in East London but also an engineering triumph. We were thrilled with our design but not as excited as the clients were to gain an extra room in their house. They were able to enjoy their garden all year round and fall back in love with their home. While great on the inside the unique extension also looks fantastic for passers by, especially once the sun has set and the building glows from within. 

"How we developed an innovative roof construction method" - Independent Place - MW Architects