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Simpson & Brown’s Willow Tearooms restoration vision revealed

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Simpson & Brown has unveiled images of its competition-winning scheme to overhaul Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Willow Tearooms in Glasgow

The proposals, submitted to Glasgow City Council in April, will restore the Grade A-listed 1903 café and create a visitor centre inside 215 Sauchiehall Street next door.

Edinburgh-based Simpson & Brown defeated Purcell, John McAslan + Partners, LDN Architects and emerging Glasgow studio Dress for the Weather to land the prestigious contract in September last year.

The architect’s scheme features a rear extension to 215 Sauchiehall Street, and will create a new double-height shop, exhibition space and dining room for the historic venue.

A roof terrace, reception area, elevator, auditorium, conference suite and billiard room will also be delivered.

The £7 million project is planned to complete in time for Mackintosh’s 150th birthday in 2018. It is backed by the Willow Tea Rooms Trust, which took ownership of the building earlier this year.

The Sauchiehall Street landmark was originally designed for ‘art tearooms’ entrepreneur Catherine Cranston, and became part of a department store during the 1920s before being partially restored as a café in the early 1980s.

The restoration’s design team also includes Studioarc, Rybka, David Narro Associates, Alliance CDM, Building Learning and People Friendly Design.

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