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Bicycle shop wins architecture award

Wairarapa cycle merchant, Blackwell and Sons, by James Mackie of Mackit Architecture was awarded the Commercial Interior Architecture Design Award at the 2019 ADNZ Resene Architectural Design Awards

The project began when Blackwell and Sons were looking to relocate and expand into a larger space. In their search for a new location they secured the iconic Greytown Borough Council Building – a Category 2 Historic Place built in 1878.

Blackwell and Sons approached Mackit Architecture with the vision to create a retail space tailored to their requirements and that emulated the best retail experiences enjoyed in London, New York and San Francisco. An industrial-style, restored workshop aesthetic was the intent with a focus on the handmade, traditional British bicycles that define the store.

The existing space consisted of a series of small rooms formed over the course of various alterations. Poor remodelling from the 1980’s heavily influenced the layout of the space, preventing the desired modern retail experience. This layout clashed with the original features, such as the ornate staircase and board and batten ceiling, which were crucial components to retain for heritage purposes. The entire lower level of the building had to be reconfigured, alongside an extensive structural renovation. From a heritage perspective, the proposed design and the completed alterations needed to achieve a sense of the original 1800’s interior.

The aesthetic response to the brief culminates in a dramatic textural retail environment. Bandsawn timber is the dominant material of the space; in the form of plywood and varying width/depth panelling. Raw copper countertops alongside metallic painted steel provide a stark contrast to the rustic atmosphere formed by the timber. London-style brick veneer furthers the textural experience while paying homage to the origin of the bicycles.

ADNZ Judges praised James for his coherent and sensitive scheme that integrated the heritage of the building with the pedigree of the bikes.

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