Summer Social 2018

12 July 2018


The team had a blast at our annual Summer Social this year. An exquisite Summer wine tasting by Nicholas' from his exclusive (& extensive) cellar, wonderful food from our local hosts The Guildford Arms and a fabulous atmosphere supplied by the wonderful Team BDA!

The average person spends 20% of their year at work. Many of us spend more time at work in a single day than we do at home and more time with our co-workers than our families. At Burwell Architects, we understand the importance of building strong relationships amongst us. Our open plan studio allows no separation, you are able to turn to your left or your right at any time for advice or opinion, calling on our colleagues experience, knowledge and expertise. We gather to celebrate birthdays, and every Monday we begin our week with a whole office catch up. We enjoy Weekly Wine Tasting on Friday’s to enable a laid back and informal get together for the whole team, removing any hierarchy and allowing us all to reflect on the week gone. We enjoy Life Drawing, and many more team get togethers.

The personal facts and personality traits we discover about each other carry through into our work. We are able to channel our strengths and interests into everything we do, leaning on our colleagues through our weaknesses and allowing us all to feel at ease and tackle each obstacle with confidence. In return, we have produced a positive morale and a fantastic working environment. As such, each of us feels connected to our team and the wider business. We want to give our absolute best to see that the company performs at its absolute best, because, we are all Burwell Architects. 

We have an exciting few months ahead, and with our 20th Anniversary on the horizon, it's set to be a time of greatness for the Practice. Watch this space! 



Gingerbread City

6 December 2017

Gingerbread City

Our client, the folk of Gingerbread City, appointed Burwell Architects as part of a team of expert Architects and Designers, to implement the Gingerbread City Masterplan by Tibbalds.

With our expertise in the Higher Education sector coupled with our historic building experience, we embarked on the challenge of Plot A8, a University building set in the renaissance style Cake a Diem district within The Old Town of the Gingerbread City…

RIBA Stage 0

The brief called for a traditional University building to sit comfortably within its historic setting. Symmetrical facades, classic pediments and an iconic half pudding dome were high on the priority list for the folk of the city. The University Crumble London would be become the ‘cradle of wisdom’ for their students and continue to pass down the magnificent recipe secrets of the city through the generations.

RIBA Stage 1

We reviewed the surrounding area of Cake a Diem, along with the neighboring Crumble Hill, home to the iconic Crumble Castle, and it was evident that early liaison with the Gingerbread Metropolitan Authority (GMA) would be key to making this project both successful and respective to it’s neighbours.

RIBA Stage 2

Our design team held a number of end user workshops, which brought together both the students and teachers of Gingerbread City. This determined that whilst a classical renaissance style building was required and preferred, modernisation was also a key criteria for the end users. The team drew up two options for the building, to present to the GMA for pre-planning application. The main building proposed 4 storeys, with east and west wings creating balance and harmony whilst a stepped back 5th storey houses the dome. Refined stairs and a classic portico creates a grand entrance at the foot of the dome. The modernisation came in the form of a ‘Student Hub’. Option 1 proposed this as an extension to the western façade with dramatic lines up to 2 storeys from the stairs. Option 2 proposed a complex basement level hub with a dormer style window complete with sugar cane glazing creating an envelope in the courtyard.  

RIBA Stage 3

We received the formal advise from GMA, and the preference was option 2. Option 1 would have removed the renaissance symmetry of the classical building whereas Option 2 allows a striking yet sensitive adaption to the 21st century ‘Student Hub’. The design was developed and stencils where carefully designed to enable a puzzle like modular construction process. Modular construction was chosen based on the ambitious 4 week programme and the expert craftsmanship required for the eloquent details. We looked at both Smartie and Milky Button roof tiles and numerous traditional façade decorations. A white ice, milky button tiles and a sugar cane glazing design palette was selected to compliment the surrounding area whilst complying with GMA Planning Policy GCP2.

RIBA Stage 4

The detailed design process required input from our expert structural engineer. Load bearing internal walls were carefully designed to allow the building to be structurally supportive to its 3 storey high half pudding dome centre piece and accompanying set back 5th floor. A new reinforced Ginger Concrete roof structure with like for like sugar cane glazing to the envelope rooflight formed the new student hub and created a modern centre piece to the main courtyard of University Crumble London.

RIBA Stage 5

Traditional Ginger Concrete formed the main material for the building. Different thicknesses were used to create external and internal walls. The stairs were constructed using stunning Gingerstone. The new basement extension was excavated under the grand portico and staircase. This was achieved by running structural beams from the east and west wings of the main building, as well as adding new columns directly under the portico. The half pudding dome was constructed with innovating techniques that allowed the ginger concrete to be used to match the rest of the building, this led to scrapping the pudding recipe originally specified for the dome. The use of Icing Sugar Cement secured the main elements of the building together, and also formed the grout for the roof tiling to ensure weather proofing over the snow clad City. Traditional Candy Cane Stone columns were sourced and formed the final touch to the grand portico. Liaison with Ecoled, the providers of all lighting solutions across the city, ensured adequate M&E information was available and service tunnels were created through the whole building to allow light to flood through from basement level to the dome. The team used a number of Mortar Icing tools to create the traditional window surrounds to form the detailed uniformed design.

RIBA Stage 6

Completed on time and on budget, the University Crumble London was safely delivered to Gingerbread City on 4th December ahead of the official unveiling on 5th December. 

RIBA Stage 7

“University Crumble London has delivered above and beyond our expectations. Providing an exquisite home for teaching and learning for all of the Gingerbread folk across the city! This is a landmark building for the University and indeed the City.”   – Professor Smartie-Pants, Dean of University Crumble London.

‘This is the best place to learn. The classic kitchens are wonderful but my favorite place to be is tucked away in the high tech student hub, reading about 13th Century sugarcraft!” – Marshy Mallow, Sugar Historian Student. 

GPE Bike Ride 2017

22 September 2017

A huge congratulations to all 58 participants, including Nicholas Burwell of Burwell Architects, for taking part in Great Portland Estate's Bike Ride 2017!

Starting in Bournemouth on the 19th September, the peleton cycled over 150 miles over two days into Central London raising a huge £76,000 in support of the Willow Foundation and the Evelina Children's Hospital. 


Willow is the only national charity working with seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds to fulfil uplifting and unforgettable Special Days. Each day is a life-affirming experience that can lift spirits, reunify families and be a source of strength when it’s needed most. You can find out more at https://www.willowfoundation.org.uk/


Evelina London Children's Hospital, part of Guy's and St Thomas', do fantastic work treating children with all kinds of health conditions. Currently, Evelina treats 50,000 children every year, and every day, 300 children pass through its doors. It is the UK's leading hospital for paediatric heart services, and specialises in various services such as kidney transplants and dialysis. Its mission is to provide world-leading treatment and care for each child and every family. You can find out more at http://www.evelinalondon.nhs.uk/

Leeds Art Gallery Competition

22 August 2017


A big congratulations to Bongani Muchemwa of Burwell Architects who recently won a design competition which invited alumni of Leeds School of Architecture to respond to a creative brief to provide a pop-up pavilion and playspace in Victoria Gardens to mark the re-opening of Leeds Art Gallery in October 2017.

Bongani and Steve McCloy’s winning scheme, Redscape, takes inspiration from the Tiled Hall at Leeds Art Gallery and reflects ‘tiles’ repetitive pattern in the form of 3D modular blocks repeated to create graphic patterns. Redscape is made from hundreds of red and white Lego like blocks called Universal Road Separators in a composition of assembled structures to create a playspace that feels like a special enclosed garden that is welcoming for everyone – a mixture of large and small intimate spaces to eat lunch during a busy lunch hour or for a family picnic at the weekend.

 “The competition winners Bongani Muchemwa + Steven McCloy have exceeded our ambitions for the design of a playscape for Victoria Gardens. Their scheme is bold and will sit as a beacon in the city centre inviting people and intriguing them from afar. Splashes of bright colour will create zones in which activities can take place and there is a wonderful hide and seek playfulness with their design. As Leeds is submitting their bid for European Capital of Culture 2023 it is fitting that we demonstrate how we can work collaboratively to achieve an extraordinary summer pavilion for Park Here & Play that transforms Victoria Gardens and creates a unique environment in which visitors are invited to play, reflect and mark the countdown to Leeds Art Gallery re-opening in October.” – Leeds Art Gallery 

Redscape is on display outside of Leeds Art Gallery between 12th – 28th August. 

Summer Social 2017

12 July 2017

Burwell Architects Summer Social 2017

Hosted by our local, and favourites, The Guildford Arms. Wine provided by Nicholas' exquisite wine cellar. Fun, laughs and memories supplied by the wonderful Burwell Architects team!

Check out our instagram page for the latest news from us https://www.instagram.com/burwellarchitects/

Merry Christmas

20 December 2016


Gingerbread Skyline by our lovely Anna. 

As we welcome in what will be a milestone year for Burwell Architects, and wave goodbye to a wonderful 2016, we have real joy in taking the opportunity to thank all of those that have made our progress possible. We wish you all a very Happy Christmas and prosperous 2017. 

Overcoming Accessibility Issues

14 October 2016


Accessibility to existing buildings can often prove to be difficult. Very often, with refurbishment to an existing building, which requires stairs to access even the main entrance, it is difficult to see how this can be made accessible without large ramps or extending the footprint of the entrance whilst reducing the footprint of internal space. 

Recently, whilst working with Hollybrook Homes on their Queen Elizabeth Street project, we faced a similar issue. In order to provide accessibility to the building levels which were established by the existing structure, an external ‘retractable’’ platform lift was coordinated within the build up of the entrance approach stair. Its phased operation can be seen in the video here

The lift offers inclusive accessibility to both the residential and office areas. For residents or employees key access will be provided, otherwise visitors can gain access to the lift via a call point to the office reception, or by calling the appropriate apartment using the video entry system. The lift pit is waterproofed to match the external concrete frame and access is achieved through an elevated hatch set within the server room.

An innovative and fresh approach to accessibility. 

Many thanks to Michael Wadood of MLM Building Control for his footage.  


UCL Wilkins Building Portico

11 October 2016

Recent lighting mock-up at UCL's Grade I Wilkins Building with our Specialist Lighting Consultants BDP. Even with just four uplighters, the improvement is dramatic. Columns are now clearly modelled in 3D, entablature and capitals highlighted and back wall emitting a warm glow.  The lighting effect around the coffered ceiling was a revelation and further demonstrates the value of testing design assumptions onsite.  This project forms part of a wider Burwell Architects scheme to improve the existing iconic Portico, and further beyond to contribute to the Transforming UCL Estates Strategy.


HEDQF 2016

13 July 2016


HEDQF delegates gathering in the covered 'street' of St Martins' Granary Building.  The conference topic was 'Future Campus' and and much of the morning's discussion centred around the wider placemaking role of the modern University campus, particularly in neighbourhoods currently undergoing urban regeneration.  A key theme was the need to create collaborative academic environments that were porous and open to the communities they reside in.  Ann Allen from the University of Glasgow stressed the importance of "sticky campuses", lively places that are at the centre of daily academic life.  Taking this idea further, she noted the local economic benefits of students retaining this attachment to place long after graduation.


We look forward to seeing you all again at next years conference. 


Deptford Regeneration

11 July 2016

The Regeneration of Deptford

With the news of The Victoria pub (Grove Street, SE8) being converted into a super funky commercial space and the removal of the iconic anchor, we wonder if Deptford will soon be subject the same level of gentrification as the East End?

We have been watching the developments proposed with a mixture of excitement and pangs of nostalgia. Deptford High Street was as undeveloped as Exmouth Market 25 years ago – until recently. Fantastic local restaurants and useful bits and pieces, small and very local businesses, but the word trendy never felt right when describing the area.

Last year, the London Borough of Lewisham undertook works to the high street improving the general roads and layouts to allow the thriving Tuesday market to continue. With this brought a cycle cafe and that, we fear, is the beginning of the displacement.

Deptford is the last place within shouting distance of central London where you can still find decent office property for £13 – £14 per sq ft, the last bastion of cheap, slightly run-down space. We have rather less chunky Victorian warehouses than Shoreditch, so it’s not as obvious a play for developers, but wander off down the side streets and there are forgotten chunks of industrial land ready for developments. We have no doubt that developers will be on their way soon and as we watch our local area in transition, we wonder if they will be able to adapt their game to suit Deptford’s property stock and maintain it's unique charm. 


After the success of last year's tour, Nicholas will be hosting our 2nd Deptford Walking Tour later this year. Watch this space for more details! 

Learning and Teaching Spaces Managers Group (LTSMG) Conference

23 November 2015

This year’s two-day conference, hosted by the University of Dundee, brought together a broad mix of people involved in the design and management of teaching and learning spaces.

Nicholas Burwell was pleased to join the programme, speaking about learning environments for Generation Z and the different ways in which people learn. Other topics covered ranged from the convergence of AV/IT in learning spaces to inclusive learning.

The conference provided the opportunity to exchange ideas and keep up to date with the latest technical and pedagogic developments.

Click here to watch the full presentation. Thanks to Mark Dunlop (University of Dundee) for organising the event.


22 September 2015

It’s more popular than ever and hasn’t escaped the team at Burwell Architects. With almost half the office travelling to work by bike we’re in need to greater parking provision. Talking of which, we’ve been inspired by a range of innovative ideas, including the Alphabeta building where a ramp allows cyclists to ride into the building.

TFL’s Quietway Route 1 (between Waterloo and Greenwich) is due to be implemented by mid-2016, which will provide a convenient new route to and from our base in Deptford. Great news!

Tales from cycle tours have filled the office this summer, including Sam Wright's incredible 900-mile adventure through Finland. Even Nicholas Burwell has donned the Lycra for a 150-mile charity bike ride from Ross-on-Wye to London. You can sponsor him here.

So next time you visit our office, why not cycle!

Learning Environments Conference

3 July 2015

We were delighted to be part of Learning Environments conference at Regent’s University in London yesterday.

The theme, Designing for Inclusion, brought together an interesting mix of people responsible for the creation of learning environments.

Much of the discussion centred on different ways of learning (visual, oral, tactile, etc) and how most people have a preferred learning mode and style (collaborative, didactic, group, individual, etc). Some people sit at extreme ends of the spectrum.

It seems we all have an introvert and extrovert within, and need a landscape of different spaces to support the range of tasks we’re involved with, be that learning, working or playing.

The environments we design need to accommodate this diversity of learning, whilst supporting the pedagogic structure of specific institutions.

Connect seating featured in active learning spaces book

28 March 2014

Our award winning Connect seating has been featured in Active Learning Spaces and Technology: Advances in Higher and Further Education, a new book which “…seeks to take a holistic view of all the factors involved in creating effective environments for active learning” Duncan Peberdy, Learning Spaces Specialist