Architype set out to design their own offices in an arcadian rural setting. The result shows great sensitivity to the poetic qualities of the site and to the architectural potential of the derelict barns. The project forms part of an initiative to provide rural workplaces on The Duchy of Cornwall’s Herefordshire Estate and as such is a response to wider issues of rural sustainability.
We are constantly reminded that buildings are responsible for around 50% of our overall CO2 emissions but it is what we do inside our buildings that really counts. The Barns at Upper Twyford represent more than just an intelligent response to low-energy design. Architype are showing us how new types of employment can be developed in sensitive rural areas in a way which contributes positively to both the economy and ecology.
A partially derelict building has been saved. Whatever remained of its original structure and character has been re-used and enhanced. A demonstrably new upper floor section has been built to exceptionally high insulation standards, using timber from adjacent woodlands.
Architecturally the practice resisted all requests to use a more domestic language for the conversion work and has adopted a very simple vocabulary characterised by a concrete screed finish throughout the ground floor, and untreated chestnut boards above. The biomass heating system is part of an initiative to supply fuel from local renewable sources - and it works effortlessly. Architype are monitoring their water and energy consumption in detail and preliminary results are very encouraging.