Posted by & filed under News.

Architecture 519 announces merger with Corstorphine + Wright Architects to form a major new studio located in the heart of Leeds.

The merger will see the creation of a 35-strong architecture studio in Leeds with a live portfolio of projects both regionally and nationally. The studio will be led by Directors Nick Baker and Andy Brown, formerly of Architecture 519, and current Corstorphine + Wright Leeds Director, Paul Thrussell.

Architecture 519 merger

Corstorphine + Wright currently runs 10 design studios throughout the UK, and now with the addition of Architecture 519, it will employ in excess of 190 people nationwide, delivering over 450 live projects across a wide range of sectors including residential, industrial, bluelight, offices, education, retail and leisure. Projects include the redevelopment of the former Waterloo International terminal, transformation of the Royal Liver Building, and reviving the iconic Liverpool Echo building into a Melia hotel and office space for a high-profile tech company.

Nick Baker said: “Having celebrated ten successful years in business with Architecture 519 in 2019, we are thrilled to be starting the new decade with this announcement and the opportunities the merger will provide for us to deliver an enhanced service to our clients. The enlarged Leeds team now includes specialist expertise in the Healthcare, Education and Industrial sectors along with Interior Design. Corstorphine + Wright is ranked in the AJ100 top 50 UK Architecture Practices and shares many of the core values promoted by Architecture 519, making the merger a perfect fit for both businesses.”

Paul Thrussell said: “The joining of forces between Corstorphine + Wright and Architecture 519 signifies a new architectural presence for the Leeds City Region. The Corstorphine + Wright Leeds team has recently secured high-profile projects in the region and we can now further grow our presence in the City with the enlarged team. As a result of the merger, the studio in Leeds has a balanced mix of architects and technologists, ensuring that we deliver with equal expertise both the conceptual stages through to the technical design construction of each project.”

This news is the latest in a series of major developments for Corstorphine + Wright who has seen impressive growth over the last few years. In September 2019 the practice announced a funding injection from specialist investors, Beechbrook Capital, closing a stand-out year for the studio with the appointments of Finance Director Ben Round, Design Director Matt Brook and a merger with Darlington based Studio Niven Architects, delivering greater presence in the North East.

Posted by & filed under Insight, Our People, Planning.

Across all stages of the planning process, Virtual Reality (VR) has the ability to transform consultations by helping participants understand the details of a proposal whilst bringing the developer’s vision to life.

Use of VR in planning consultations

Misinterpretation of plans and drawings can easily occur. Planning consultations quickly derail when there are problems communicating a complex building solution, or when a particular concern is focused on rather than the overall vision. The issue isn’t limited to public consultations and can occur throughout the planning process in meetings with clients and stakeholders. Can VR assist the design team in addressing some of this communication breakdown?

When used well, VR simulations reduce the leap of faith required when looking at 2D plans, particularly by those with little experience of building design. The building or space can be experienced with an enhanced level of reality and a fuller comprehension of the project can be made possible. Being able to view a building in different weather conditions, at different times of day and from different angles – all possible with VR – can quickly answer some of the most common questions that arise at planning consultations.

In one of our current projects, VR software was used to answer specific concerns that were preventing a planning application from progressing. The issue focused on accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists onto a steeply sloping site. Level changes, ramps and stairs raised challenging issues and communicating the solution using drawings and perspective views was not delivering the comfort needed.

A VR walk through of the area was shared with the planning team, meaning that our proposed solution could be seen and experienced in three dimensions with areas of concern being viewed from key points to make them understandable.

As well as solving the specific problem, using VR to get to the heart of the issue added value to the planning consultation process by more actively supporting participants in their understanding of the building design. The session further highlighted how VR can be used as a complimentary tool, to clarify the most complex aspects of the building, even if there is insufficient time or a lack of resources to create a simulation for the entire scheme.

In a wider context, Architecture 519 is using VR to enhance client conversations and help communicate the details of our designs. In such discussions, the use of fully immersive VR technologies are being used to test how far a building envelope can be pushed by allowing the client to visualise the likely impact of development decisions such as adding additional floors.

In the initial stages of our work on Skelton Lake Services for Extra MSA Group, we used VR as a communication tool when presenting our design concepts to the client. In response to a particular concern regarding the design, we developed interior views of the facilities building to satisfy the client that we could deliver their standard concept beneath the unique curved, green ribbon roof. Here, the use of VR simulations to help the client visualise the scheme was invaluable in winning support for our design.

Posted by & filed under News, Our People.

Celebrating 10 successful years in business, Architecture 519 is on track for a record year following national projects for clients including Sellafield, the Environment Agency and Extra MSA Group.

Operating from our city centre studio in Leeds Granary Wharf, the practice has seen a 26% increase in year-on-year revenue across a diverse range of projects including housing, defence and mixed-use developments.

Nick Baker, Architecture 519 Director, said: “We are delighted to have reached our 10 year anniversary with almost all of our fantastic 2009 team still with us. We’re known to punch above our weight in the projects we deliver and this is testament to our talented team and, in particular, our expertise in the security, defence and nuclear sectors for which the practice meets stringent cyber security protocols.”

Andrew Brown, Architecture 519 Director, said: “Over the last couple of years, key company growth has been driven by large residential projects frequently involving the regeneration of disused urban and brownfield sites. We’re passionate about our contribution to the built environment and to designing commercially successful schemes that are sustainable and create a sense of place for their occupants. I’d like to thank our team and incredible clients for helping us to reach this milestone. ”

The studio is responsible for the design of the first large motorway service area (MSA) in Leeds for client Extra MSA Group, which is currently nearing completion. The ongoing work at Leeds Skelton Lake Services is in addition to our design for a new £75m MSA in Warrington, also for Extra MSA Group, with outline proposals recently submitted.

National residential projects have featured significantly in the growth of Architecture 519, with the practice responsible for the masterplanning and delivery of sites comprising of between 100 and 1600 dwellings, including high-rise schemes, for PLC and independent property developers.

The practice is currently involved in ongoing work at the former Royal Arsenal Carriage Factory in Woolwich, southeast London which will see the previously derelict, Grade II Listed building repurposed to create a vibrant community and commercial space. In addition, the studio has recently received planning consent for a development of 29 new homes in Wood Green, north London which is set to deliver a contemporary mews containing both houses and apartments.

Founded in 2009 by Nick Baker and Andy Brown, the studio has built a reputation for a solutions-driven approach to design, ensuring site potential is maximised to the benefit of both client and community. Currently employing 25 members of staff, the practice features an even mix of architects and technologists that enables the firm to deliver with equal expertise in the design and technical stages of each project.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of this incredible journey.

10 years of Architecture 519

Posted by & filed under Design, News, Planning, Residential.

The project will deliver a contemporary mews containing both houses and apartments framing a new pedestrian and cycle link in Wood Green and revives access to a nearby recreation ground.

Gaining unanimous consent this week, the scheme aims to rejuvenate a collection of warehouses between Crawley Road and Downhills Way for developer Frankum Mews Limited by providing a mews terrace of ten houses and 19 apartments in two separate blocks. The project will open up access through the site that was lost during the commercial development of the area between WWI and WWII. The renewed access is designed to connect to Green Grid links between Wood Green and Tottenham through Lordship Recreation Ground for cyclists and pedestrians.

CGI visuals of Architecture 519 scheme in Wood GreenDiffering accommodation typologies across the site include three and four bedroom terraced houses, one-bedroom apartments and family apartments of two, three and four bedrooms. The apartments have been designed with multi-aspect views and full height windows to maximise light with access to a private balcony or roof terrace and shared cycle storage. Both affordable and fully accessible accommodation is provided.

The houses each have walk-out terraces to the rear of the properties at upper floor level, private south-facing amenity spaces, timber fronted ground floor garages and cycle storage areas. At the front of the terrace, small pockets of planting softens the built form and provides a semi-private threshold that also steers vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians away from the frontage of residents’ homes.

The scheme was developed in close consultation with the Local Authority via Pre-application and Quality Review Panel consultations. On awarding planning consent, Haringey Council Design Officer noted: ‘This is a high quality design, simple, straightforward and robust, that promises to provide a range of much needed, good quality residential accommodation. More importantly though, it provides a vital new pedestrian and cycle link through the site, opening up greater permeability, better access for local residents to the facilities of Lordship Rec and increasing the attractiveness of active (pedestrian and cycle) travel options.’

CGI Visual of Wood Green development by Architecture 519

The industrial area between Crawley Road and Downhills Way was once occupied by Barber, Wilson & Co who built the first factory on the site in 1899 and expanded throughout the locality during the first and second world wars. Architecture 519 has designed the masterplan for the wider Barber Wilson site with the initial residential development set to activate further opportunities for planned residential and commercial projects adjacent to the mews. The original Barber Wilson factory is of local and historical importance and will be retained as part of the ongoing development of the site.

The appearance of the first apartment block is influenced by the adjacent Barber Wilson building in the rhythm of its horizontal fenestration as well as the integration of smaller size window apertures. The development will be predominantly finished in buff brickwork with recessed and patterned brick side panels to windows, grey horizontal feature banding to the second apartment block and grey metal balconies and window frames. The terraces are designed with dual-pitched roofs with pressed metal roof coping to reference the industrial nature of the site. Shared surface materials are complementary and create a pedestrian and cycle friendly environment.

Aerial 3D image of Wood Green development by Architecture 519


Posted by & filed under News, Our People.

Members of the Architecture 519 team recently enjoyed a day at The Camp Hill Estate in Bedale, North Yorkshire for our annual Practice Family Day Out.

Following recent successes for Architecture 519, the day was a celebration of continuing growth at the practice and a chance to spend some time together away from the demands of the office. We were delighted to be joined by several of Architecture 519’s newest team members and their families, making the Day Out an ideal opportunity to get to know our new colleagues.

The day included a range of family-friendly outdoor activities with a high ropes course and zip line descent, shelter building, campfire management, an assault course and a scavenger hunt. Gathering for a number of structured activities, the day was also spent exploring the wider estate with its woodland trails and walks.

Posted by & filed under Masterplanning, News, Transport.

Architecture 519 has designed the masterplan for Extra MSA Group’s £75m ‘new concept’ Motorway Service Area (MSA) on the M62 at Junction 11, with outline proposals now submitted.

The design accommodates food and beverage outlets, ancillary retail, business and leisure facilities, a fuel filling station and external amenity space for visitors. The indicative designs for the buildings reference the local area and it is envisaged that construction will use locally sourced materials wherever possible.

The project is the latest in a series of MSA developments designed by Architecture 519 for Extra which includes Leeds Skelton Lake Services at Junction 45 of the M1 that is currently nearing completion. Architecture 519 developed the design framework for the ‘new concept’ MSAs with Extra that can be seen at Leeds Skelton Lake, M40 J2 Beaconsfield and M25 J9-J10 Cobham. Leeds Skelton Lake Services includes locally sourced dry stone walling and a sequence of long curving green roof ‘ribbons’ planted with native meadow species.

Nick Baker, Director at Architecture 519, said: “We are delighted to see our latest designs for Extra MSA submitted for planning approval. We have already delivered two highly successful sites for Extra at Beaconsfield and Cobham. Leeds Skelton Lake Services is in the final stages of construction and we are involved with two other projects strategically. The Skelton Lake development is currently shortlisted for the Yorkshire Property Insider Awards in the Design Excellence category.”

The new Warrington M62 J11 MSA will not only improve road safety for this section of the motorway network; but is also an exciting opportunity to create an attractive, high quality MSA facility to serve the M62. This will also benefit regional businesses and communities as well as facilitating future economic growth for the local area.

Warrington motorway services design by Architecture 519

Posted by & filed under Design.

Architect Sara Burgess takes a closer look at the development of the Skelton Lake roof ribbons

Currently being planted with native meadow species, signaling the final stages in the development of the roof ribbons at the new Motorway Service Area (MSA) in Leeds, Architecture 519’s Sara Burgess considers the progression of this primary building feature from the original concept design.

Skelton Lake Motorway Services roof structure in construction

This recent photograph shows the Skelton Lake roof ribbons awaiting planting.

Linking to the landscape

In Architecture 519’s first visits to the site, we investigated the wider area to gain an understanding and appreciation for the landscape and surroundings. Considering views of the site from points including Temple Newsam House and Skelton Lake, close to the River Aire, we recognised that the building should physically and visually connect to the landscape to take advantage of the setting. Wider views of the site demonstrated the layering and horizontal emphasis of the surrounding area where the land is formed in a series of ribbons to the north and south of the site.

Establishing the roof ribbon signature

The appearance of the ribbons in the landscape is used to derive the concept of the over-sailing roof form which unifies the primary building and hotel whilst reinforcing the impression of the MSA nestling in the valley of the surrounding area. The development of the curved and overlapping ribbon roof form helps anchor the building and connects the structure to the landscape, whilst creating a dynamic and striking form.

Landscape ribbons are formed in the views towards Skelton Lake Services

A photograph taken during an initial site visit illustrates the appearance of ribbons in the landscape.

Architectural building models showing Skelton Lake Services in Leeds

Early models created by Sara show the development of the roof concept.

Grounding detail

The perception of the roof ribbons emerging from the ground is enhanced by details within the landscape to each end of the primary ribbons. This grounding detail is composed of locally sourced dry stone walling and is thickly planted at high level to ensure the roof cannot be climbed on. This also creates the impression of the roof meeting the landscape and delivers a seamless view when the building is seen from a distance.

Development of the roof structure

The continuous and undulating structure of the roof ribbons has been achieved using curved glulam beams. Alternative structural solutions were considered during the design development, however the glulam structure ensured the flowing form we envisaged was achieved, further integrating the scheme with the surroundings and also bringing a warm, natural tone to the internal spaces and the central atrium and viewing area at the heart of the building. This key principle has been reinforced from the initial concept stage, through planning approval to the delivery of the building on site.

A wider understanding

Having worked with Extra Motorway Services on several previous projects, Architecture 519 has a commercial understanding of large-scale motorway service areas and the way in which different elements, such as the fuel filling station, parking and amenity buildings, should be distributed in relation to each other and the site access points. Design of the site masterplan with links from the M1 via a new roundabout and connections to the site from other routes ensured we were able to look at the wider development and the role of the roof ribbons in drawing the site together.

Following the initial design stages, members of the Architecture 519 team have continued to work with Extra Motorway Services, whilst our technical team took on detailed design work with the primary contractor, Morgan Sindall. This collaborative structuring led to a flow of conversation between the client, Architecture 519 and the contractor that has maximised opportunities for the successful delivery of the site in accordance with the original design concept.

Concept CGI of the Skelton Lake roof structure in Leeds

An early CGI visual of the roof ribbon form.

Posted by & filed under Education, News.

Architecture 519 studio staff recently welcomed work experience students from Guiseley School and Selby High School, who joined the team to learn about life in an architecture practice.

Across the course of a week, the GCSE students were tasked with two projects devised to give them insight into the design process from initial client brief to the build and presentation of a basic model. Structured activities included consideration of site, context and brief development, site surveying, drawing context plans, sketching ideas and finally developing cardboard models.

The first brief was to design an external breakout space for practice staff within the vicinity of the Architecture 519 offices in Granary Wharf. Students were first asked to explore the area and consider environmental factors such as views, sunlight and the materials used in the surrounding buildings before choosing a suitable site for their designs.

In the second task, the students developed ideas for an extension to Architecture 519’s award-winning development at Leeming Farm in Cumbria. Students worked with the original plans for the farmhouse which provided a template for their own drawings whilst helping them understand simple architectural drawing practices, such as how door and window openings are indicated. Following the drawing process, the students created models of their extension designs which included concepts for a hotel and a swimming pool.

As well as project activities, the students accompanied architect Tim Wenham to meetings with Architecture 519 client, Extra MSA Services, where details of the ongoing Leeds Skelton Lake project were discussed. Participating in one small client meeting and a larger team meeting to discuss site conditions with soil and drainage experts, planners and Skelton Lake civil engineers, the students were able to gain knowledge of the wider issues of the building construction process.

The team at Architecture 519 was impressed with the hard work and creativity shown by the students and we would like to wish them well in their future studies.

Cardboard models created by architecture work experience students

Posted by & filed under Awards, News, Transport.

Architecture 519’s design for Skelton Lake Motorway Services has been shortlisted for the Yorkshire Property Industry Awards in the Design Excellence category.

Due for completion this autumn, the design for the first motorway services in Leeds features an undulating living roof structure with exposed timber beams and a double-height central glazed atrium overlooking Skelton Lake.

Located close to Rothwell Country Park and the grounds of Temple Newsome House, the building has been planned to provide services to motorway users as well as visitors to the surrounding countryside. Connections to the landscape are emphasised by the ribbon roof structure of the building which will be planted with a vibrant green living roof. Internally, high-level Clerestory glazing provides views of the living roof whilst natural building materials such as expansive wooden glulam beams further link the building to the landscape.

The Skelton Lake MSA development is the latest of many projects undertaken by Architecture 519 for Extra Motorway Services and follows the success of designs for Beaconsfield and Cobham motorway service areas.

The Business Insider awards ceremony is due to take place on Thursday 19 September at the Royal Armories in Leeds. Good luck to all the other shortlisted entries.


Architecture 519 Shortlisted for Design Excellence Award

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Following the receipt of full planning approval for 30 houses, work has now started on site at Mowden Hall in Darlington – the site of the former Department of Education Offices. The layout was developed to reflect the geometry of the adjacent Marchbank Free School, a Grade II Listed Building and knit in amongst a number of mature trees to create pleasant tree-lined external spaces. We are delighted to have worked with Galliford Try Partnerships North on this attractive development and look forward to completion late 2020.


An initial sketch proposal for the site