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Kresen Kernow

By Purcell

Client Cornwall Council

Awards RIBA South West Award 2021

© Phil Boorman

Representing well over a decade of hard work by all involved, this completely transformational project provides an important civic and cultural centre for the whole of Cornwall.

Not only does it provide a very necessary service, bringing together many dispersed archive collections, it also is a place of exchange. Exchange of memories and of new conversations about the identity of being Cornish. On the visit, a Cornish language group was using the facilities as Kresen Kernow’s first group of guests to enjoy exciting new national archive loans presented in a modest but high specification close control gallery.

Under Purcell's stewardship, while the external architectural expression losses clarity in the resolution of interior space (as the big copper armature is not traceable in plan), there are no obvious mistakes or poor decisions. Instead their expertise in repair, reinstatement and the integration of new and old, along with the unwavering client support offered throughout all stages of funding and project logistic has paid dividends.

This was an important industrial site, laid to ruin, which is now an important civic destination. It not only serves its own ends very well, but also anticipates and stitches together a number of broader urban ambitions with links to adjacent sites and the opening up and enhancement of natural habit spines and waterways.

Internally, as-found materials and building elements have been salvaged and repurposed without fuss. This includes large sections of granite flooring, cast iron columns, and pre-existing vaults, nooks and crannies. Alongside this, the forceful and beautifully clad archive sits comfortably, complete with sufficient photovoltaic capacity to more than serve its own ends.

Contractor Midas

Structural Engineer Arup

Environmental / M&E Engineers Arup

Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant Mace

Project Management Mace

Landscape Architects Arup

BREEAM consultancy Arup

Fire Engineer Buro Happold

M&E Subcontractor Totus

Heritage Consultancy Purcell

CDM Principal Designer Purcell

© Phil Boorman
© Phil Boorman
© Phil Boorman
© Phil Boorman
© Phil Boorman
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