Bertie's opens in Edinburgh Old Town by Nikki Barton


After a £3 million investment by the Vittoria Group, Bertie’s has opened in the Edinburgh Old Town. The B-listed former ecclesiastical building on Victoria Street is transformed into reputedly Britain’s biggest fish & chips restaurant: 11,000 sq ft arranged over four floors, the 300 cover restaurant opened in late 2018

St. John’s church & Parish School was designed by Architect: George Smith in 1838 has since had various uses including a bookmaker and a popular Byzantium market.

City Architecture Office was appointed by the Vittoria Group and secured Listed Building Consent & Building Warrant approval for the sensitive reworking of circulation to allow access for all into the restaurant, integration of a sizeable new kitchen, services and roof works.  This was all agreed in close consultation with the local authority conservation officer.

Most recently the landmark St John’s Church building, in the heart of the UNESCO Edinburgh Old Town World Heritage Site, was an Indian restaurant.  This was completely gutted in December 2008 when a devastating fire tore through the premises, forcing 
hundreds in nearby buildings to be evacuated.  It has since lain unused for 10 years.

Tony Crolla MD of Vittoria Group said,

“We are very proud to open Scotland’s biggest Fish and Chip restaurant here in Edinburgh. The capital’s thriving Old Town is the perfect place to continue driving our restaurant business to new and old customers alike. Bertie’s Restaurant and Bar will offer something for everyone visiting the city as well as those locally who have continued to support our business growth through the decades. Bertie’s is a new chapter for my family business as we open the doors to our latest project”

Moray Royles ,Director of City Architecture Office said,

“We are delighted with the outcome.  Original features have been respected with signage & lighting that announces Bertie's presence within. We were able to secure a listed building consent quickly for the Vittoria Group by working closely with planning officers and the client’s team.”

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Season's Greeting by Nikki Barton

Season’s greetings to all our clients & collaborators & our very best wishes for 2019.

One of the drawings we created earlier this year in support of proposed housing at a sensitive site within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Kent.

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Fullarton Community Hub opens by Nikki Barton


The Fullarton Community Hub, designed by City Architecture Office (CiAO), is a bold and exciting

new facility. The hub aims to enhance community activities and improve key services in the Irvine


The completed, state of the art building houses an array of flexible spaces including; an

employability hub, a designated youth club space, a training kitchen, community cafe, multipurpose

hall, community garden, games area and office space. It also has doctors consulting

rooms allowing local people to attend health appointments within walking distance of where they


Since opening, the hub is operating at capacity, hosting regular activities, clubs and functions every

day of the week, for the benefit of the 3,200 residents of the Fullarton and Harbourside area of

Irvine. Donna Fitzpatrick, chair of Fullarton Community Association, said: “I’m so proud of this new

facility, It is fantastic. The new Hub will be a lifeline to our community, and together with the new

MUGA and community garden, it will allow young and elderly alike to come together on many joint

ventures for the future.”

The project has been a culmination of five years of hard work- the journey beginning when the

community association appointed CiAO to carry out a feasibility options study for the provision of


The Design team at City Architecture Office, has worked tirelessly throughout the entire project to

ensure that the ambitious plans of the community and their vision for the future was realised.

The building is orientated to benefit from high levels of natural light and solar gain, with optimal

roof mounted renewable technologies. An external covered public ‘gathering’ area draws visitors

towards the entrance and creates a positive addition to the urban fabric of the street.

This identified that it was more viable to replace the existing huts, than try to refurbish the existing

buildings. Following this, the client gained ownership of the land through an ambitious asset

transfer in 2013 and City Architecture Office developed proposals and gained planning approval for

a new Hub, in August 2014.

The local community was closely involved throughout the whole design process and extended the

scope of the project to encompass a new MUGA and a community Garden.

These have been created on former derelict council land, acquired via a further land transfer. Local

MSP Ruth Magurie, who cut the ribbon on the opening night, said, “folk in Fullarton now have the

great building and space they deserve and I look forward to seeing the community go from strength

to strength.”

· The innovative project was driven by Fullarton Community Association and delivered in

partnership with North Ayrshire Council and Irvine Bay Regeneration Company. The 1.8million community hub was funded by the Big Lottery in conjunction with Irvine Bay

Regeneration Company, North Ayrshire Council and other partners.

· Patrick Wiggins, chief executive of Irvine Bay Regeneration Company, said: “It recognises

the aspirations of local people and signifies our support for communities to deliver local

regeneration as part of our legacy.

· The Fullarton area in Irvine, North Ayrshire, has higher-than-average levels of deprivation

and some of the lowest life expectancy rates in Scotland. Fullarton community hub aims to

act as a catalyst in the regeneration of the area and provide the community with high

quality health and wellbeing facilities. All those involved in the planning, design and

construction process truly embraced the challenge and the completion of the hub marks an

important step towards an exciting future for the community.

· MSP Ruth Magurie sums up, “folk in Fullarton now have the great building and space they

deserve, I look forward to seeing the community go from strength to strength.”

· The project was funded through a £1,127,389million award from the Big Lottery, and a

further £650,000 from Irvine Bay Urban Regeneration Company while North Ayrshire

Council, The Robertson Trust and other partners are providing community development

support as well as financial backing towards the overall £1.8million cost.

· Moray Royles, Director City Architecture Office , ‘We designed the Hub to be a prominent

and optimistic presence in the community and we are already hugely encouraged by the

positive impact the making. We overcame many obstacles to take the building from

concept to completion, something we are very proud of.”


All apartments now occupied at our Moore house development by Nikki Barton


All flats are now occupied at the Moore House development with Northill Properties by Clapton pond in Hackney, east London.

A new build mixed use building sited in Hackney, east London within a conservation area. The four storey building is a modern contextual response in a sensitive location with an neighbouring listed building on a prominent corner site.

Using a simple palette of materials to work with the adjacent listed structures of honey coloured brick & bronze cladding.

The Moore House building offers a range of nine residential units with great views onto the Clapton pond from most units.

The project was completed by Contractors West 4 Construction working with Ingealtoir Structural engineers, Centrespace engineering, Assent approved Inspectors & BLP building surveyors


Wadeson Street commercial units are now occupied by Nikki Barton


Both commercial units at our development on Wadeson Street in East London are now occupied.

The mixed use development for Northill Properties also provided nine residential flats, establishing a new development framework in an area of east London.

We overcame initial concerns over the value of ground floor commercial space, providing two great quality spaces with high ceilings & exposed concrete columns.

The units are now occupied by Urban Electric- lighting designers & SUPA model - a model agency, adding to the vibrancy of Wadeson Street

By working closely with the Tower Hamlet planning team we helped determine a new datum in mass & amenity for a rapidly changing area. the project quickly gained planning permission.

The apartments also benefited from a roof top terrace and achieve a 50% carbon reduction.

We are currently working on a feasibility study for a similar site in the immediate area.


Listed building consent secured for a new 11,000sqft restaurant in Edinburgh Old Town by Nikki Barton

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City Architecture Office has secured Listed Building Consent & Building Warrant approval for the Vittoria Group for a new restaurant at Victoria Street within the UNESCO Edinburgh Old Town world heritage site.
St. John’s church & Parish School was designed by Architect: George Smith in 1838 has since had various uses including a bookmaker and a popular Byzantium market.  

The building suffered major fire damage in late 2009 and has subsequently remained closed.

The Category B listed building will be the home for an 11,000 sq ft , 250 cover restaurant set across three levels, opening in late 2018.
City Architecture Office proposals include the sensitive reworking of circulation to allow access for all into the restaurant, integration of a sizeable new kitchen and roof works, working closely with the local authority conservation officer. A building warrant for the alterations is secured and licensing plans have also been approved, as the project moves forward to construction.
Vittoria Group MD Tony Crolla’s father, Alberto Crolla Sr, opened the family’s first restaurant, Vittorias on Leith Walk, in 1970. The company now employs more than 250 staff across its restaurants and delivery sites, including Vittoria on the Walk, Vittoria on the Bridge,  Taste of Italy, La Favorita and fine dining restaurant Divino Enoteca.

This is City Architecture Office’s fourth project for The Vittoria Group over 15 years.


Caerlee Mill Housing secures planning consent by Nikki Barton


City Architecture Office is delighted to support Whiteburn Projects in securing planning consent for the development of 44 new build houses and flats at the former Caerlee Mill in Innerleithen.  The development will add to the vibrancy of the established Innerleithen community.

We have already completed the technical design for the Caerlee Mill housing, with building warrant approval expected shortly.

This is the second project for City Architecture Office with Whiteburn Projects, we have also been working on the listed Pinkieburn House at Edenhall, Musselburgh.

Across the office we have now completed technical design for over 150 units of housing this year, the majority of which are in construction.


Car free housing in Edinburgh by Nikki Barton

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City Architecture Office have submitted a planning application for new housing in walking distance of Holyrood Park, Edinburgh.

On a corner site the proposals provide 11 No.  high quality car-free apartments including a communal roof terrace with views across Edinburgh.

This new housing would complete an existing terrace with a modern contextual design, replacing an advertising hoarding and sub-station.

We have worked closely with infrastructure companies to relocate the sub-station  improving the site layout & access.

The site is within easy reach of central Edinburgh with increased cycle storage for the car-free home owners.

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No. 7&8 Cornthwaite Road, Clapton, Hackney by Nikki Barton


City Architecture Office recently completed a pair of houses in Hackney for developer East End Housing.

By communicating the benefits of a bright open facade to the street we secured consent for a pair of three storey terraced houses,  an uplift to the existing planning consent for one single storey house. The design officer welcomed the design quality of the proposal & the improved natural surveillance.

Each house has a double storey living space and is topped out by a roof terrace with views across to the River Lea & Hackney Marshes.

The houses were built by Madison Contracting with Structural engineer Centrespace, and it is the third project we have worked with artist +  signwriter Archie Proudfoot , who with a steady hand painted the house numbers. 

The houses are currently on the market with Blake Stanley.


Saline social housing moves forward to completion by Nikki Barton

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Construction is progressing well for 55 new affordable housing units in Saline, Fife.  City Architecture Office is working with Kingdom Housing Association & Campion Homes to deliver the first new homes in late 2018.  All homes are super-insulated and have photovoltaic roof panels, to reduce residents energy consumption and running costs.

City Architecture Office has worked closely on the site with the local community & clients at Saline for nearly seven years to achieve the project.

We originally conducted a housing needs consultation with Saline & Steelend Community Council and local residents, becoming a key priority in the Community Action Plan (CAP).  Although it was outwith the settlement boundary, we identified a preferred site which is roughly two hectares.   Fife Council then accepted the site to be brought into the local plan for social housing use.

A masterplan was designed and presented at a public event for the main themes of the CAP. The focal point of the masterplan is an attractive ‘village green’, with dwellings orientated to maximise solar gain and views. The principle was endorsed by Kingdom Housing Association and a scheme developed and planning approved.  



Conservation area consent for a modern family home by Nikki Barton

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City Architecture Office have secured consent for a new family home in Abergavenny Conservation Area, Monmouthshire.

The planning report by the local authority praised the design stating,  ‘ it is considered that a building of the type proposed will preserve or enhance the character of the Conservation Area’

The planning decision for a contemporary building was given under delegated powers on previously undeveloped land.

A practical design solution to the building footprint was achieved to mitigate any effect on the bordering tree roots on a complex site.

The new home will be super insulated with a low-carbon footprint including renewable energy sourced from photovoltaic panels.

City Architecture Office is currently also working on a project within the Edinburgh Old Town UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Townscape design quality secures consent by Nikki Barton

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City Architecture Office have secured planning consent for an apartment building in South Woodford, London Borough of Redbridge.

By communicating the townscape merit of a new façade & additional mass to the local authority planning team we were able to double the expected development potential of the building. 

The consent for eleven residential apartments refurbishes & extends an existing building in a residential area of South Woodford. The building has been under family ownership for twenty years.

Initial planning concerns over loss of amenity & highways access were also overcome, producing a consent for new good quality homes on a previously underdeveloped site.


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A new housing site in Sevenoaks, Kent by Nikki Barton

We have just completed our first planning submission for a new housing development near Sevenoaks in Kent. Whilst the site is within both Metropolitan Green belt and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, our first discussion with the local authority has been  positive towards a sensitive development for new housing.

The 1.5 acre site offers wide ranging views across the Thames estuary &  is within easy reach of central London. We are working closely with the client & local authority to secure the next steps towards development.

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A new Mews of family homes in Hackney by Nikki Barton

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CITY ARCHITECTURE OFFICE have gained planning consent for a mews development in the Victoria Park conservation area, London Borough of Hackney.

Our design team worked closely with the planning & conservation officers to develop a contextual response, overcoming objections & creating five new good quality family homes on a brownfield site.

The row of three storey houses will form part of a mews with each house south facing and benefiting from a rooftop terrace.

The development will be car-free with a generous communal entrance lane for all residents.

City Architecture Office have now secured planning for six residential projects in hackney over the last five years.

The site is to be developed by Northill Properties.

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We are very excited that work has started on site for 55 new affordable housing units in Saline, Fife.  City Architecture Office is working with Kingdom Housing Association & Campion Homes to deliver the first new homes in late 2018.  All homes are super-insulated with low running costs and have provision for renewables. 

City Architecture Office have worked closely with the local community & clients at Saline over a long timeframe.

We originally conducted a housing needs consultation with Saline & Steelend Community Council and local residents, becoming a key priority in the community action plan (CAP).  Although it was outwith the settlement boundary, we identified a preferred site which is roughly two hectares.   Fife Council then accepted the site to be brought into the local plan for social housing use.

A masterplan was designed with an attractive ‘village green’ as the focal point, with dwellings orientated to maximise solar gain and views.  We secured planning approval and went onto develop the technical design with Kingdom Housing Association & Campion homes overcoming significant infrastructure issues.

It is great to see such a positive project move one step closer to completion.


Caerlee Mill housing - planning submission by Nikki Barton

Our latest residential project with the award winning Whiteburn projects is the redevelopment of the former Caerlee Mill in Innerleithen.

A planning application for 44 new build houses and flats was submitted in Autumn. The vision for the site, in the heart of this thriving Borders village, is to build a range of two, three and four bedroom houses and cottage flats which have been designed to reflect the spirit of the former mill site as well as the heritage of the village structure.

The new-build housing will be released for sale on the open market and Whiteburn hopes this will add to the vibrancy of the established Innerleithen community. This approach also aims to tap into the demand for Borders living as property owners aspire to a better life/work balance, and escape busy city life to be able to enjoy the benefits of the beautiful countryside and outdoor pursuits on offer.

The application has been well received by Scottish Borders Council and is expected to be determined by the end of the year.

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New housing with Whiteburn projects at Caerlee Mill, Innerleithen by Nikki Barton

We are delighted to announce that we are supporting the award winning developer Whiteburn projects to regenerate the site of the former Caerlee Mills in Innerleithen.  The site has planning permission in principle and we will help Whiteburn develop a detailed planning application to deliver 44 new family homes, which will be for sale on the open market. This will be a springboard to explore an economically viable solution for the B listed mill buildings which date back from 1788.

Fullarton Community Hub nears completion by Nikki Barton

City Architecture Office are very pleased to announce that the works to this much needed community building project in Fullarton are nearing completion. The design team has overcome a number of site issues, such as a stray gas main to complete this project. We hope the community of Fullarton make full use of this new low energy building & the full benefit of the health & activity facilities for all.

The area has experienced higher-than-average levels of deprivation and has some of the lowest life expectancy rates in Scotland and it is hoped this project will be the catalyst for a bright new future for Fullarton. The project secured funding from Big Lottery, Irvine Bay and North Ayrshire Council. 



City Architecture Office is seeking a talented Part-III architect (or experienced Part-II) to work on an exciting new housing project in our London Office.

Our studio is in a great location near Broadway Market with an excellent quality of life, a relaxed but highly motivated environment and work on a mix of projects in London and the south east. Supported by directors you will deliver housing & mixed use projects working as part of an ambitious team.

A strong design sensibility is needed together with experience of working on housing and understanding sustainability issues. You will have excellent graphic, design and technical skills and be able to demonstrate experience of on-site construction, knowledge of procurement and project running experience. You will be able to plan and programme work and have be committed to providing an excellent service to our clients.

Your job will entail liaising with clients, consultants, planners and the construction team so you should be confident, professional, friendly and a good team-worker.

Our office uses AutoCAD, SketchUp, InDesign and Photoshop. Proficiency in these as well as freehand sketching, good writing skills and fluency in speaking and writing English will be required. The right applicant will be organised, enthusiastic, ambitious, with a good sense of humour.

The position is full time. Salary negotiable according to experience.

Please email your CV with a selection of your work and a covering letter to [email protected] with attachments no bigger than 6MB.

City Architecture Office is an equal opportunities employer and we welcome applications from all backgrounds. We seek to support flexible working arrangements to suit family commitments.

British Library extension win by Nikki Barton

City Architecture Office have supported Stanhope & Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners in the winning bid for an extension to the British Library, to be built on a 2.8 acre site to the north of its Grade 1 Listed building at St Pancras in London. The site will be developed with Stanhope, the property developers, and will be a major new centre for commerce, knowledge and research.

The development will also include new commercial space for organisations and companies that wish to be located at the heart of London's Knowledge Quarter, close to the Francis Crick Institute and the other knowledge-based companies, research organisations, amenities and transport links located at King’s Cross and St Pancras.

City Architecture Office will continue to provide infrastructure advice in relation to the integration of Crossrail 2 station proposals.

The Stanhope consortium was appointed following a Competitive Dialogue procurement process that began in late 2015.

Stanhope have 30 years’ experience of developing complex central London projects, including Broadgate, Paternoster Square and the Tate Modern Switch House building. Stanhope are backed by strong financial partners and current projects include the regeneration of Television Centre, White City.