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The Old Mushroom Farm Architecture: Tour The & Kin Building

The Old Mushroom Farm's Conference Centre, & Kin

One of the things that makes The Old Mushroom Farm, Howick, a unique and interesting destination on the Midlands Meander is its architectural richness. The Old Mushroom Farm’s architect, Nick Crooks, has a distinct style that can be spotted in noteworthy buildings around Howick, including Yard 41, Howick Mirror & Glass, and Bluebird Coffee. The Old Mushroom Farm presented Nick with a unique and exciting design challenge in that  the buildings already exist. Nick has made it his mission to transform the dilapidated farm buildings and mushroom growing tunnels into people-oriented spaces. Nick has a knack for converting ugly, thoughtless structures into intentionally designed and aesthetically pleasing architecture. 

In this edition of The Old Mushroom Farm Architectural Tour, our focus will be on the & Kin building. An Old Mushroom Farm shed has been transformed into a modern venue designed for stimulating interaction and special events with that certain something. Tradition meets innovation in the Loft Apartment and three event spaces; The Lobby, The Conservatory, and The Auditorium. A mix of vintage and modern furnishings, as well as furniture designed in-house for & Kin, lead the interiors creative direction within the industrial architectural style.

The Old Mushroom Farm Shed, now a unique event venue

Standing in the Old Mushroom Farm Community Garden, facing the & Kin building, it's hard to remember the farm shed, filled with scraps of roof sheeting and vintage cars, and the version before that, stacked high with hay bales and smelly mushroom farm compost. This modern, clean event space is a barn conversion to inspire. The steel frame of the farm shed has acted as a skeleton for the & Kin building, masked by a Modernist facade of brick, steel and glass. From the inside, if your eye is tuned for detail, you’ll spot the original beams of the shed frame between the brickwork.

Nick’s style marries Modern Industrial and nostalgic masonry to form a stimulating whole.  If you were to drive through a city like Pietermaritzburg with Nick, you’d catch him admiring old industrial factories as well as Victorian brick homes (characteristic to PMB’s city centre). The & Kin building merges these loves beautifully. 

Decorative cobblestone paving welcomes you at the main entrance. ‘Naive’ botanical motifs in the brickwork paving, designed by Mandy Crooks (Pip’s mum & Nick’s wife), are what inspired the & Kin logo.

The Lobby, with a face of glass and steel, leads you into the & Kin building. An intimate segue where guests can mingle before the main event.

An arched double door leads through to the Auditorium - a spacious hall with a double volume ceiling. Perfect for bigger congregations of up to 100 people, the Auditorium can be set up for conferences, live music, performing arts, or private parties.

Nick’s attention to detail, from the antique salvaged doors and press ceilings to the custom made concrete and steel finishings, are elements that make the building truly unique. Nick, with his hands-on approach, has created fixtures on-site, such as moulds for concrete stairs, sinks and benches, circular window frames, light-wells, and the individually-pressed encaustic tiles that decorate the bathroom floors. 

& Kin is a retreat that benefits from its proximity to the vibrant community of The Old Mushroom Farm. The venue looks out over the Old Mushroom Farm’s allotment garden and welcomes your guests to spill out into the green space, or take a short stroll to the Tunnels where artisans procure shops and restaurants.

Event guests are accommodated for at The Old Mushroom Farm’s self catering apartments, including & Kin’s two bedroom Loft Apartment, situated above the venue. The Loft offers a unique hospitality experience with spectacular views, and stylish furnishings.

& Kin event and conference venue at The Old Mushroom Farm

& Kin can host up to 100 people (Regrettably no weddings). In three separate rooms you can hold a spectacular dinner party, put on an unforgettable show or meet for important company functions with an outstanding value on 213 m². 

Visit our Venue Hire section of our website for more details, or contact The Old Mushroom Farm for bookings on 060 470 1218 or


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