MK Gallery patrons visit Juergen Teller’s new studio

Juergen Teller Studio, London, April 2016. Photograph by Johan Dehlin. Courtesy 6a architects.

Juergen Teller Studio, London, April 2016. Photograph by Johan Dehlin. Courtesy 6a architects.

The Gallery is working with 6a architects on its major renovation and expansion. Last week, our patrons enjoyed a tour led by 6a’s Tom Emerson of one of their recently completed building projects, photographer Juergen Teller’s studio in North London. MK Gallery patron, Peter Howard, describes the visit:

“The artist and fashion photographer Juergen Teller’s new studio is a bright spot in a nondescript part of west London. A group from MK Gallery was shown around last week by the architect, Tom Emerson of 6a architects, who is of course responsible for designing the major extension and remodelling of MK Gallery. Interestingly, a solo show by Juergen Teller, Don’t Suffer Too Much, took place in MK Gallery in 2003.

The studio occupies a narrow but deep plot in a terrace. Tom explained that it is really three square buildings aligned down the length of the plot, separated by landscaped courtyards. The first contains two storeys of conservation storage and offices, the second is a spacious top-lit studio, while the third is more domestic in character. Glass doors and covered walkways down one side of the site set up a linear route from the entrance, linking all three buildings through the courtyards.

A palate of in-situ concrete, plain concrete blocks, and large windows onto the courtyards gives the scheme an understated dignity, and the neutral tones that Teller required. The lack of finishing plaster and the exposed electrical conduits impart a gritty precision that challenged the builder, but result in a finely crafted place, while remnants of the historic party walls and an approach to landscaping that derives from a study of London bomb sites establish a truly London context.

Having visited this finely designed project, we came away feeling impatient to see the completed new MK Gallery.”

The tour was followed by the UK premiere of Chaises Musicales, Swiss artist and past MK Gallery exhibitor Eric Hattan’s recent performance piece with musician, composer and fellow countryman, Julian Sartorius. The event, which was held at Café OTO in Dalston, was also the UK launch of a new catalogue published by Holzwarth and MK Gallery, Works 1979-2015, surveying Hattan’s career to date. Video footage of the performance will be available to watch on our Media Channel shortly.

MK Gallery patrons generously support the Gallery’s work and in exchange receive access to unique events, tours and activities. If you would like to know more about becoming a patron, please contact Clare Wood on 01908 558 313 or email

14 July Project Update Meeting

Tom Emerson, 6a

Tom Emerson, 6a, with a sample of cladding material at the 14 July Project Update meeting. Photo: MK NEWS

We were delighted to welcome people to our Capital Expansion Project Update meeting yesterday.

Director Anthony Spira introduced the session by outlining the genesis of the expansion project and the discussions with our audiences that have been central to its development.

Tom Emerson expressed his passion for the design history of Milton Keynes and shared examples of 6a’s work, including Raven Row, South London Gallery, and Churchill College Cambridge, with emphasis on their experience in the cultural and educational sectors.

We filmed the illustrated presentation and you can view it on YouTube HERE.

Subjects of interest in the Q&A session included:

  • Visitor access routes to the multi-purpose auditorium (via lift or staircase to the second floor)
  • Quality/comfort of the raked seating in the auditorium (will be the best we can afford)
  • Whether there would be a roof terrace (not in current plans)
  • The reflective qualities of the stainless steel cladding (the finish is folded, fragmenting reflections)
  • How the MK Community Foundation grant will be used to support improved accessibility
  • (Changing Places toilet, lifts accommodating two wheelchairs at a time; height adjustable furniture, wider than statutory requirement doors, exhibition galleries all on ground floor with full level access)
  • Public seating to support longer contemplation of works (furniture options still tbc)
  • Staff offices, deliveries and storage (offices will be located in the Project Space building; deliveries will be moved to the rear of the new extension, sharing existing infrastructure with the Theatre; storage is modest but efficient)
  • Spaces around the gallery (MK Gallery is proposing an exciting scheme to support improvements in Midsummer Boulevard East, underpinned by the “City Club” concept from original plans for Milton Keynes. Ideally MK Gallery would like to see, for example, an artist designed playground adjacent to the new Learning Space, seating and lighting enhancements to Margaret Powell Square, and artworks improving the nearby underpass linking with Campbell Park, helping to develop the cultural quarter)
  • Local parking/transport (MK Gallery would love to see any developments that improve the linkages between, for example MK Rail Station and MK Gallery)

Invitation: Update Event

We’re delighted to be able to share our latest floor plans with you during our summer party and exhibition preview here tomorrow evening (2 July from 6pm-10pm). You will find the display in the Events Space on the ground floor of the Project Space facing the Gallery. Book your free preview ticket HERE.


MK Gallery Expansion Project Update
Tuesday 14 July / 1-2pm / Free / All welcome
RSVP by booking your ticket HERE

Join us at this informal lunchtime event when MK Gallery’s Director, Anthony Spira, and Tom Emerson of 6a architects will be talking through the latest plans. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and give your feedback. Tea and coffee will be provided.

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.


dezeen_Tree-House-by-6a-Architects_ss_5  paulsmith

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

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.

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.