6a architects nominated for European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture

We are absolutely delighted that 6a, architects and design team leaders for the MK Gallery Expansion project, have been nominated not once but twice for the 2015 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture, also known as the Mies Van der Rohe Award. Nominations have been given to the firm for their designs for the Paul Smith store façade and Tree House, and they sit alongside 19 other nominations from the UK, including Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre for the London Olympics and the Stirling Prize-winning Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins.

The Mies Van der Rohe Award was established in 1983 by the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe in Barcelona. The €60,000 award is one of the most prestigious and important awards for European architecture and is awarded biennially. The prize has two key objectives: to recognise and commend excellence, and to draw attention to important contributions to European architecture.

The full list of nominess can be viewed here.


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Above, from L-R: Tree House and Paul Smith Store Facade by 6a Architects

A Clockwork Jerusalem at MK Gallery

a_clockwork_jerusalem_image_by_fat_architecture_-_sam_jacob_1.jpg.940x528_q85_upscaleMK Gallery are delighted to be hosting an in conversation event with the curators of this year’s British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, Sam Jacob and Wouter Vantisphout on Thursday 9 October 2014.  They will be joined by Architectural Historian and Broadcaster, Kieran Long.

The Pavilion exhibition, titled “A Clockwork Jerusalem”, explores how the international influences of Modernism became mixed with long standing British sensibilities. It examines how traditions of the romantic, sublime and pastoral, as well as interests in technology and science fiction were absorbed to create a specifically British form of Modernism.

The talk will prove to be fascinating for anyone with an interest in British Modernism, and, of course, the urban history of Milton Keynes.  Tickets are free but pre booking is essential.

You can find more information on our main website.

MK Gallery seeks Contractor for its capital expansion project

We are now inviting pre-qualification information from contracting firms interested in tendering for the main construction contract for the MK Gallery expansion project.

The procurement of the contract will follow OJEU principles and is currently being advertised through the official journal (ref 2014/S 170-301183).

For further information on the contract please contact Jess Thompson, MK Gallery Client Project Manager, on 01908 558 304.

6a Architects Shortlisted for RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize

We are delighted that 6a, the architects appointed to design the MK Gallery Expansion, have been short-listed for the 2014 RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize, an award that recognises fresh architectural talent and smaller construction budgets.  6a have been nominated for “Tree House” – an elegant home extension wrapping around a tree in the garden of a Grade II listed 1830s brick weavers’ cottage in east London.  The winner of the award will be announced by RIBA on 16 October 2014.


Stephen Lawrence Prize founder Marco Goldschmied said: “The standard and range of projects eligible for shortlisting in 2014 was higher than ever and is proof of the very high standard of (mostly young) practices undertaking commissions under £1m. The UK’s dysfunctional planning system gets no better with the passing of time. It is testament to the ingenuity and persistence of the profession that planning permission for original designs in urban and sensitive rural sites is still obtainable. The shortlisting jury this year included the last three year’s winners of the Stephen Lawrence Prize. After lengthy debate, we are delighted with the outcome. It is certain to produce an excellent winner.”

The judges this year will be Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, Doreen Lawrence CBE the mother of Stephen Lawrence, Marco Goldschmied, RIBA Past President and Founder of the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, which established the RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize in 1998, Anthony Boulanger, Partner at AY Architects, winners of the 2013 Stephen Lawrence Prize and Joe Morris, Director at Duggan Morris Architects, winners of the Prize in 2012.

The Stephen Lawrence Prize, sponsored by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, rewards the best examples of projects that have a construction budget of less than £1 million. The prize, set up in memory of the teenager who was setting out on the road to becoming an architect when he was murdered in 1993, is intended to encourage fresh talent working with smaller budgets.

Development Brief for Lady Thompson Gardens

Picture 040On 21 July 2014 Milton Keynes Council published a draft development brief for Lady Thompson Gardens. This is the land immediately next to the existing Gallery building, Marlborough Gate and the loading and servicing bay of Milton Keynes Theatre.

The development brief is currently out to consultation – members of the public are invited to review the document and provide comments through the Milton Keynes Council website.

Design Feedback and Comments


Artist impression of new building. Courtesy 6a architects.

On Thursday 7 August we held a presentation at the Gallery of the emerging proposals for the expansion of MK Gallery. This event was very well attended and we were able to gather some excellent feedback on the proposals. We’ve since summarised the questions and comments that were received and have been able to provide responses to them below.

We will be able to provide a further update imminently on our planning submission, but would be more than delighted to receive any further feedback in the meantime.  Please do contact us either through the blog or you can email me directly at jthompson@mkgallery.org with your comments.

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Visit 6a architects’ award-winning “Tree House”

Each September in London the wonderful “Open House” takes place, and over the course of one weekend a vast number of notable buildings open their doors to the public for free. This year’s festival takes place on 20 and 21 September and 6a’s RIBA Award-winning “Tree House” will be open to visitors.

The full list of accessible buildings will be released on the Open House website on Friday 15 August. Visits to all buildings are subject to capacity restrictions and some require advance booking.

Presentation of Planning Proposals – TONIGHT

We are holding a presentation tonight at the Gallery of our proposals which will be submitted to Milton Keynes Council later this month as a planning application. We are incredibly excited about the designs which have emerged from an extensive consultation and development process and are looking forward to sharing them.

The event will run for approximately one hour, with presentations from the Gallery and our Architects, 6a, followed by a Q&A.

Tickets must be booked in advance through our website.


Congratulations to 6a on winning the RIBA London 2014 Small Projects Award!

We’re absolutely delighted that 6a have been awarded the prestigious RIBA London Small Projects Award for 2014 for their work on the “Tree House” for architecture critic Rowan Moore in the capital.

6a are, of course, working on the MK Gallery Expansion plans and this award rightly recognises their impressive architectural talent. We’re looking forward to a really superb solution to the brief for the new gallery resulting in an outstanding new arts facility for Milton Keynes by 2017.


You can see more details of this fantastic project on the Dezeen website.

Last chance to visit our Project Space Exhibition


One of today’s Start the Art participants

This week is the last week of our exhibition of the developing expansion proposals. If you haven’t already been down to have a look then do pop in to our Project Space.  We’ve received a huge amount of feedback so far, which has been fantastically positive, but would love to hear from as many people as possible.

Our Learning Team have been organising a number of workshops and events to respond to the architectural drawings on display.  This morning I joined them for a “Start the Art” session for the under-4s, building cityscapes from cardboard boxes!  They are also organising a special day of activities this Saturday between midday and 4pm, where you can take part in a variety of architecture themed workshops. Sessions are free but booking is essential – you can find full details on our website.