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PMA Font

PMA Font

Informed by an innate understanding of business branding and identity, Paul’s McAneary’s fascination with typographic design led to the development of the PMA font. Featuring a reduced number of strokes and the removal of all extraneous embellishments, it is a truly minimal and distinctive piece of graphic design employed for all PMA’s corporate communications. The elegant, curvaceous, sans-serif font perfectly embodies the practice’s interest in the abstraction and refinement of minimalism, yet is also characterised by a warmer, more human aesthetic. [By Cathering Slessor]

Haptic House

Haptic House

Haptic House is a renovation of a Grade II-listed Victorian dwelling in Hampstead to meet the changing needs of a young family. With its concern for simple, natural materials intended to age gracefully over time, the project is underscored by the concept of wabi-sabi, a Japanese aesthetic code which stresses the beauty of imperfection and transience.

The original house was an unmodernised, four storey semi-detached villa in a Conservation Area. The project focused on extending the rear of the building and remodelling its various floors, with only minimal changes to the historic frontage. Inverting the conventional relationship of living and sleeping spaces, the ground floor is converted into a master bedroom and the lower ground level transformed into a fluid, open-plan living, dining and kitchen space in direct contact with the garden. The topmost storey is remodelled to create a pair of identical home offices, with back-to-back children’s bedrooms on the first floor.

Reinforcing the connection between daily life and the presence of nature, the lower ground floor is excavated by half a metre so the garden is at eye level. A crisply detailed frameless glass extension augments the living space, enhancing light penetration and garden views. Glass is employed structurally, as columns and beams, while motorised aerofoil louvres made of cedar protect the delicately diaphanous butterfly roof from glare. A central gutter channels rainwater off the glass extension on to a ‘staining wall’. Sluiced by rust-impregnated rainwater interacting with tadelakt, a traditional, lime-based Moroccan plaster, the appearance of the wall will evolve over time.

The transition from inside to outside is defined and expressed through different manifestations of stone. Individual York stones are inset into a specially mixed terrazzo which forms the floor of the living space. This ‘stepping stone’ path flows out into the garden, extending up a cantilevered staircase crafted from solid stone, designed to emphasise its monolithic quality. Looping around the garden, the meandering trajectory is marked by reclaimed sleepers made from Azobe hardwood. Its focal point is the Suspended Shade, a dramatically cantilevered timber structure which functions as a discrete pavilion for contemplation and entertaining.

Ground and lower ground floors are linked by an immaculately detailed timber staircase featuring a wafer thin balustrade of laminated glass capped by a slim bronze handrail. This forensic yet poetic attention to detail extends to every aspect of the remodelling. For instance, the book-matched oak veneered doors enclosing the long storage wall in the main living space were exceptionally complex to produce, making intense demands on the craft skills of specialist joiners. Equally, the Spathroom on the first floor is a tour-de-force of highly considered detailing and fabrication. Inspired by Japanese bathing rituals, the outcome is a sumptuously sensual bathroom lined with teak and slate to create an intimate, womb-like enclave for washing and relaxing.

As the clients work from home, the upper storey is brought into play to provide two identical offices. In a twist worthy of an espionage novel, small secret rooms are inserted behind twin libraries, controlled by electromagnetic locks that can be concealed in the spine of a book.

Rigorous emphasis was placed on the selection of materials and how they are put together and experienced. Natural materials, such as York stone, oak, teak and slate were chosen as they have an inherently warm, haptic quality that responds to touch. A bespoke blackened, unpolished patina resembling dark bronze was applied to all ironmongery and metal fittings. Silky smooth clay plaster and rough exposed brickwork add further textural and visual richness. Embodying a crucial tenet of wabi-sabi, materials are intended to be subtly transmuted by the passage of time, weathering beautifully through use and the slow patina of age. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value £1.6m
Location Hampstead, London
Client Private
Date 2011-2015
Area 474m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, material creation, lighting design, glazing design, landscape design, planning
Consultants Gareth Atkinson, William Dick TBC
Main Contractor Symm
Sub Contractor Simon Heslop, Paul Davies, William Garvey
Supplier Lazenby, tadelakt, Delta Light
Press 2018 ‘Paul McAneary Architects’ dlist Verified
Awards 2017 Designer K&B Awards – Won Bathroom Design of the Year (over £15k) with Spathroom 2016 The UK Property Awards – Highly Commended for Best Architecture Single Residence London 2015 The Wood Awards – Finalist for Interior Design of the Year with Spathroom

Oblong House

Oblong House

Spanning over seven floors with seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a spa, wine cellar, cinema room, library, glass lift, glass bar and numerous intricate bespoke details, Oblong House is a tour de force of residential refurbishment. With a contract value of £12 million, the brief was to restore and rationalise an existing property in South Kensington, which had been separated into seven individual flats, and return it to its original state as a single dwelling. The client specified an ultra minimalist design, with deep, rich colours and textures for a compelling, contemporary twist. Taking advantage of the building’s spectacular height and layering, Paul McAneary Architects devised a concept that separates the various functions into a legible hierarchy linked by new vertical circulation. The topmost floor houses a library and office, then as you descend, you are taken on a journey through the different domains of private to public, work to relaxation, culminating in a luxurious cinema and spa in the basement.

Conceptually, the different layers are united by a series of specially designed oblong features, from a minimal glass lift shaft to an oblong, back-lit, polished glass installation floating within the entrance area. Physically, floors are united by a 16m high section of a tree, which extends the full height of the house, set vertically in a new glass lift shaft and visible from the glass lift car. Light illuminates the striations and textures of this arboreal relic, so that it appears to be organically rooted within the building. The tree itself took time to find, as it was important, from a perspective of ecological responsibility, to source a specimen that was already fallen. Continuing the theme of nature, a planted green wall reflects the horizontal rhythm of the architecture with even bands of vegetation animating an otherwise unusable area of wall.

The ambitions of a radical contemporary design had to be balanced with the preservation of period features. Paul McAneary Architects response was to create a series of striking modern elements that contrast but are not at odds with the historical fabric, inculcating an elegant synergy. The rear facade is distinguished by the largest double glazed unit in Europe. At 4m high, it had to be specially craned into place. Coupled with internal glass floors, it forms a dramatic vertical light well, bringing daylight into the depth of the plan and can be completely opened to form a dramatic entertaining space. A frameless structural glass floor emphasises the visual connection down into the basement, encompassing the entire rear facade. The floor uses glass spacer bars so eliminating the need for steel supports, an new technique specially developed by Paul McAneary Architects to ensure the most minimal design possible. Low iron glass, characterised by its extreme clarity, is used throughout the project.

Acting as a historic backbone to the building, the original stone staircase winds up seven storeys. Juxtaposed against this is a self-illuminating glass art piece that floats above the steps, spiralling up the stairwell with an effortless grace. Designed and fabricated in collaboration with glass artist Jeff Bell, thousands of pieces of roughly textured handmade glass are attached to a steel core. Walls are finished in smooth, polished plaster, an extremely refined and layered plaster made from crushed marble, designed to counterpoint the rough glass and mirror the glowing form of the installation.

A basement cinema room sits below the structural glass terrace. The basement was excavated and the house underpinned to achieve a more elevated ceiling height. A TV is built into the wall for everyday use and a retractable projector screen can also be deployed. A huge horizontal black out blind transforms the space into a cinema. Another project-specific innovation, it measures 8m x 4m and runs under the glass beams across the entire ceiling. Once the blind is drawn, the room is plunged into darkness; perfect for film viewing.

The juxtaposition between traditional and contemporary is also apparent in the breakfast room. Restored architraves and skirting boards frame the room with their opulent patterns, while the floor to ceiling stone fireplace forms a powerful contemporary focal point. The stone chimney breast stops before reaches the cornice, giving the illusion of the smoke mysteriously disappearing. Built-in lighting creates the visual illusion of it lifting off the wall.

A barrel-vaulted wine cellar is set in the basement. The curve of the ceiling meets the walls with geometrical precision as a perfect tangent. Wine fridges line the walls encased in precisely detailed joinery. A cantilevered staircase descends into this viticultural trove, its treads made from blocks of dark coloured wenge to match the solid wenge floor. Piercing the curved ceiling is a seamless shard of glass which appears to hang from the roof, levitating off the ground. On the floor above it acts as a banister.

Bathing is elevated to a fine art. In the master bathroom, a monolithic shower is set in a shaft lifting straight up to a skylight. As you shower under a rain sky shower head, you are bathed in natural light. All visible drains are removed to achieve a completely pure form, emblematic of the project’s theme of dark, contemporary minimalism. Principles of hotel design were incorporated in order to increase the pressure of the entire water system by 15 times the normal rate. For the baths, a specially designed hyper functional steel faucet was created after considerable research. Capable of filling a large volume Boffi bath in well under two minutes, it is a unique and incredible feat of engineering.

Inspired by the Japanese concept of tsukubai, a traditional washbasin provided at the entrance to sacred places, PMA developed a bespoke stone basin. Made from semi-porous travertine, the silver-grey basin is rough carved with polished inner faces. Smooth timber joinery accentuates the natural texture of the stone. Steam room walls are clad in slate, a material traditionally used for waterproofing. This creates an intensely dark, organic space with clean lines and natural materials. Steam condenses and runs down the walls, adding to the exotic atmosphere.

By contrast, the bar area was designed to be as transparent as possible. Made entirely of UV bonded glass, there are no steel connections creating a spectacular set piece for entertaining. Behind the shelves, a glowing wall emphasises the sense of ethereal transparency, creating warm, colorful patterns as the light shines through liquor and bottles.

Oblong House was an an extremely challenging yet highly rewarding project for Paul McAneary Architects. The complex refurbishment saw the team work on every detail at every scale, from the huge glass rear facade to the design of each individual door handle. Devising customised elements and pushing boundaries were the key to realising this powerful, contemporary twist on modern minimalism. Yet it is also a sensitive renovation that respects the historic elements of this handsome London townhouse, giving it new life through new interventions designed to stand the test of time.

Contract Value £12M
Location London
Date 2008 – 2011
Area 950m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, survey,building control, 3D visualisation
Press 2013 BD New Architects

Paul McAneary Architects’ Office

Paul McAneary Architects' Office

In 2010 Paul McAneary Architects moved their offices, the short distance from Soho to Covent Garden,  to a 17th century printers works. The old stone building is situated in Flitcroft St, near the soon to-be transport hub of London, Tottenham Court Road.  The project aimed to reinstate open spaces that had been partitioned during the building’s previous conversion into an office.

To make the basement level functional, it was imperative to increase the height of the room. Paul McAneary Architects used a special cast fibre concrete floor, that could be set to only 70mm thick.  A laboratory has been incorporated into the new layout, a space for the architects and designers to experiment with new materials and finishes, gaining first-hand expertise in their rapidly developing field. Architecture models can also be created safely and efficiently using the defined area.

The open plan space is designed for exhibitions and launches, with clean light walls and completely adaptable lighting. 4 light wells, from the street level bring natural light down to the basement, above alcoves that can be adapted for a plethora of uses. A structural glass floor will bring the maximum amount of light possible down, whilst connecting the two areas of office.

Ground Floor

The ground floor facade has been developed to bring the maximum amount of natural light possible. The largest structural glass panels achievable have been inserted within the existing openings in the facade. The heightened visibility, and renovated facade, will regenerate Flitcroft street, ensuring it maintains the vibrance of this central London location for years to come.

A sky light has been introduced into the back of the office, bringing light to the full extent of the plan. It is placed above a design room, directly above a glass box down into the basement level. Connecting all the levels of the project, and providing a shaft for large architectural models to be extracted gracefully through.


Paul has designed the desks that will make up the essential part of any office. They exude the minimal elegance of the Paul McAneary Architects office, a simple grey frame with a frosted glass top resting on top. The glass top acts as a light box, ensuring every architect can trace at their desk whilst working simultaneously on their mac. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value £100k
Location Westminister, London
Date 2011-2013
Area 238m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, material creation, survey, planning, building control, 3D visualisation
Supplier Plank Co
Press 2018 ‘Paul McAneary Architects: how a Japanese facade transformed a London alley;’ OnOffice 21 February

Glass House

Glass House

Set among the historic warehouses and granaries of London’s Shad Thames, this project remodels an unusually large loft space in a converted 19th century mill house. The client requested a space for entertaining and displaying pieces of art, but also wanted to engender a sense of privacy and intimacy within the cavernous former industrial space.

The sophisticated scheme explores the use of glass in its many forms to adapt and enhance the existing interior. In particular, it features the latest electrochromic ‘smart’ glass technology that enables glass to metamorphose from opacity to transparency by the flick of a switch.

Pushing the boundaries of the material, Paul McAneary Architects employed the largest possible panels of smart glass to experiment with visual connections between the different spaces around a central atrium. When the glass is clear, boundaries dissolve creating a dramatic sense of spatial fluidity with through views from living room to kitchen and dining room to living room. Yet if a more intimate setting is required, the glass can be switched off to achieve an opaque finish.

The original ensuite bathroom was open to the master bedroom, an arrangement that has been retained, but with the inclusion of a smart glass enclosure for privacy. A similar principle applies to the large television screen, disguised by Mirona glass which acts as a mirror when it is not backlit. A crisp, clean-edged frame to match the monolithic black floor encloses the glass with the flat screen behind it.

When the television is turned off, the mirror accentuates the feeling of space, a deft sleight of hand that transforms the living room. In the bedroom a bronze Mirona glass mirror conceals the television, adding warmth to the interior.  A large screen of acid-etched glass brings copious natural light into the bedroom. The smooth finish of the acid etching gives the glass a luxurious visual and sensual quality. This is augmented by two 3m high slots infilled with glass bricks, which generate compelling patterns of light, shadows and reflections.

Distinguished by a sharp monochrome palette of white walls and black floors, the project’s elegantly minimal aesthetic forms the perfect backdrop to the client’s collection of contemporary art, featuring pieces by Damian Hirst and Harland Miller. Yet it also alludes to history – the loft’s main entrance is framed by a lambrequin, giving a traditional element a sharp, modern twist. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value £1.8M
Location Southwark, London
Client Private
Date 2010
Area 245m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, survey,building control
Main Contractor Sterling Build
Sub Contractor AV Nick Acheson
Supplier Vitra, Vola, Viabizzuno
Press 2013 Katie Hughes, ‘The Great Escape’,  Renovate, March 2013 2012 Candace Jackson, ’A Bachelor Reboots, A London executive replaces a traditional home with a modern white loft’, Wall Street Journal, 1 June 2012

Threshold House

Threshold House

This imaginative conversion of a flat in Maida Vale streamlines a cramped and awkward arrangement of rooms into a series of elegant, rational spaces. The flat occupies the ground and lower ground floor of a Victorian house and had been refurbished without much regard to the quality of the spatial experience or the logistics of circulation.

Entry was by means of a bedroom rather than a hall, so a rolling storage and library unit was specially developed which could either enclose the space for privacy or open it up, giving increased flexibility of use. The clients collect African art, so the remodelled apartment, with its dark walnut floors and white walls, forms a backdrop for an array of vivid paintings and sculptures.

The living area on the ground floor is opened up to the garden with full height sliding glass doors bringing light into the depth of the plan. Within the ground floor, ceiling bulkheads subtly demarcate function, forming a slightly lowered ceiling over the dining area cultivating a sense of intimacy.

The staircase linking the two floors is ingeniously adapted as a wine store. Enclosed by glass panels it employs a network of horizontal tensile wires to support the wine bottles, transforming quotidian objects into a sculptural array. Specially developed construction details respond to the technical challenges involved with a pleasing economy and refinement.

An arched space on the ground floor unifies and rationalises circulation. The geometry of the perfect 90 degree arch confers the modest interior with an almost ceremonial aspect. Another deft sleight of hand is a hidden dressing room secreted within the storage wall of the master bedroom.

Such discreet yet thoughtful moves neatly optimise space and circulation, transforming a hitherto disconnected and experientially dreary London residence into a luminous modern enclave for contemporary living.

Contract Value £180k
Location Maida Vale, London
Client Private
Date 2017
Area 172.68m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, interior design, lighting design, furniture design
Main Contractor Sterling Build

German Student Micro Living

German Student Micro Living

Paul McAneary Architects were appointed to provide accommodation for 5000 students across Germany on city centre sites from Kiel in the north to Munich in the south. The aim of the project is to remodel and adapt existing redundant buildings of the post-war era in an efficient and economical manner.

Each building is stripped back to its structural frame and effectively redesigned. Borrowing techniques from yacht design, in which function is paramount and space standards squeezed to an absolute minimum, bedroom are compactly but ingeniously planned. Though necessarily small, at 10 sqm per unit, bedrooms are augmented by more generous areas of communal space to encourage social interaction.

Within each unit, the considered application of design techniques such as shadow gaps, lighting and mirrors mitigates the compressed scale to create a highly civilised environment for studying and sleeping. Through the use of 150 mm shadow gaps, furniture appears to ‘float’ off the floor, and the furniture itself draws inspiration from classic Bauhaus models with elegant metal frames, so rooms are not dominated by bulky furniture.

Materials are carefully selected to require minimal maintenance and actually improve with use and age. Taking advantage of prefabrication, bathrooms are modular pods, with a simple plumbing connection that slots quickly and neatly into each unit. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value £350M
Location Kiel, Bremen, Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich, Germany
Client DREF
Date 2014-2017
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, 3D visualisation, Creation of Design Brand Manual for Design Implementation