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Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank, Stockport

Words:
Regional Awards Jury

Commitment to an idea and successful collaboration with the local authority has won Kelsall Architects’ restoration 2024 RIBA North Small Project of the Year and triggered a trend

Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius

2024 RIBA North West Award
2024 RIBA North Small Project of the Year

Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank, Stockport
Kelsall Architects for Kelsall Architects
Contract value: Confidential 
GIA: 413m2

Kelsall Architects was both architect and developer for this project to renovate a dilapidated Grade II-listed building on Little Underbank in the heart of Stockport. The scheme included sensitive reinstatement of an arched stone shopfront as well as renovation of the upper floors as a small café and co-working space. This seemingly modest project has had an impact that reaches far beyond its walls. It has been a catalyst for significant transformation and regeneration in the centre of Stockport and has set a standard for other developers to follow. Not only does it offer a model of a sensitive approach to the architectural renovation of existing buildings, it also realises the potential to create a place that is full of character. The outcome has supported independent shops and businesses as well as bringing footfall and a sense of civic pride back to the town centre. 

  • Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
    Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
  • Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
    Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
  • Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
    Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
  • Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
    Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
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The scheme was the first capital project of a National Lottery Heritage Fund Townscape Heritage Initiative for Stockport. It is a wonderful example of effective collaboration between a brave and innovative architect/developer working with a local authority and supported by this grant-giving programme. The architect deserves credit for putting its money where its mouth is and demonstrating that projects with modest means can be transformative.

The building sits on a steeply sloping site, incorporating a stone-stepped passageway that connects the Market Place to Little Underbank below. Well-researched and careful detailing of the project involved a mix of traditional building techniques, such as stone masonry and lime plaster, alongside new technologies such as 3D laser scanning to accurately project the geometry and springing point of the reinstated arches. Thermal upgrades to the windows and roof are sensitive and unobtrusive to the historical fabric. The interior scheme, featuring stained plywood, is understated and contemporary.

  • Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
    Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
  • Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
    Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
  • Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
    Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
  • Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
    Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
  • Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
    Mustard Cowork at Little Underbank. Credit: Paul Karalius
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The project has become a draw for a growing community of young professionals, traders and entrepreneurs who want to cut out commuting and reduce their carbon footprint. In doing so, they are rediscovering the value and future potential of living and working in a thriving small town. The project has inspired numerous other refurbishment projects on the same road and in the surrounding streets, all having a demonstrable uplifting impact on Stockport.

See the rest of the North West winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here

To see the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com

RIBA Regional Awards 2024 sponsored by EH Smith and Autodesk

Credits

Structural engineer Elliot Bond Consulting
Environmental/M&E engineer GLD Technical Consulting
Quantity surveyor/cost consultant B2PM

Credit: Kelsall Architects
Credit: Kelsall Architects
Credit: Kelsall Architects
Credit: Kelsall Architects
Credit: Kelsall Architects

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