In May, we covered the RIBA Awards 2011 and today, we have a great set of photos of Stephen Marshall Architects’ latest project which has been recognized for its architectural excellence by the Royal Institute of British Architects. The project houses the Rothschild Foundation and the Waddesdon Archives in a renovated dairy building situated on the Estate at Windmill Hill, in Aylesbury, England. More about the project after the break.
“There was always the intention to bring the existing red brick farmhouse into the composition of the new project. Indeed at one time the intention was to re-use many of the agricultural outbuildings as the new archive but this proved impractical due to their bad condition. The proportion of new building compared to the farmhouse was such that a method had to be found to re-dress the balance; hence the archive offices and archive store are conceived to an extent as continuations of the farmhouse,” explained the architects.
Building upon the former farm building’s history, the new project uses the existing footprint and maintains the courtyard organization. A material palette of stone, oak, glass and render enhance the agricultural spirit of the project in a refined manner. Two rectangular blocks, one containing the reading room with the archives and the other the Foundation offices, define a minimalistic courtyard which features a reflection pool. Vertical louvers shade the reading room and a diagonally incised zinc roofs add richness to the simplistic forms.
The project takes advantage of the elevated site by creating a gradual entry curve allowing visitors to take in the surrounding countryside until finally arriving at the the formal arrival courtyard adjacent to the archive group. A dramatic framed view of the west opens the entire complex to the surroundings emphasizing the beauty of the historic estate.
Environmental considerations have been a priority in the building design. Heating is provided by ground source heat pumps, driven by heat piles and the archive store is one of Britain’s largest naturally cooled such spaces, with walls 1.5 m thick that create a stable internal environment. Additionally, a greywater recycling system with 99% UV protection prevents solar glare and heating.
The building will now go forward to be considered for the Stirling Prize, which is presented to the RIBA building of the year. The criteria for judging includes: size, delight, complexity of brief, detail, invention, originality, contract type, client satisfaction, social factors and budget.