AT Awards 2018 Finalist – Cherington, Stourton and Sutton under Brailes Village Hall.
Although we did not win, ArchiWildish was incredibly honoured to have had our design for Cherington, Stourton and Sutton under Brailes Village Hall shortlisted as a finalist for the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists AT Awards 2018. To have one of our projects acknowledged in this way was the icing on the cake for what was a long running but gratifying project.
The AT Awards
Celebrating Architectural Technology at its best, the AT Awards are recognised as the premier accolades, nationally and internationally, that demonstrate outstanding achievement in the discipline.
Designed to recognise excellence in Architectural Technology globally, the suite of AT Awards are open to all professionals and students, whether they are based nationally or internationally.
Assessment is based upon the innovative application of Architectural Technology against a set criteria for each Award. Judges will look for robust and functional designs that are:
- Constructed economically
- Environmentally sustainable
- Of durable performance
In 2009 I was given an ambitious design brief by the Village Hall Committee with the primary goal of being more than a simple replacement of the existing or the same as other halls in the area as they wanted the ongoing operation of the hall to be self-funding from its regular use by local people and beyond as a preferred venue because of its facilities and pleasantness. Therefore the new hall wanted to be smart, functional and adaptable to a multitude of uses to ensure that users like club meetings had the facilities and storage they needed for their regular activities, but at the same time the hall was sophisticated and welcoming enough to become a wedding venue.
As the Local Plan did not support new housing development in the village at the time and part of the funding for the project was reliant on redeveloping the existing village hall site for housing and with the new hall being built on farm land on the opposite side of the road, we knew that the quality of the design was critical to the success of this project to ensure that the planners would accept the proposal as being exceptional circumstances.
We therefore suggested that the design should appear as though it was a converted traditional stone barn considering its location and context, plus the ambitions of the design brief to be an attractive and appealing building. We felt that this was an innovative approach to the problem of designing a large building into a rural setting that might otherwise stand out all to obvious. The hotchpotch nature of traditional agricultural buildings allows for varying roof heights, wall materials etc. to come together to form the overall building without it initially striking you as a typical village hall building, blending the building into its environment and setting.
Regular coffee mornings and other fund-raising events included local residents in the community support and drive for the project but also included them in the design process with several specific public meetings to show residents our plans and to openly discuss what they wanted the hall to achieve for them. These meetings provided an invaluable amount of feedback that ultimately led us to the internal layout as we did and resulted in the generous amount of storage space incorporated within the design to take account of the needs for all the various users and ensured that as best as practical the hall took into account the end users.
The fact that our first planning application was submitted June 2012 when we had first been asked to look at the project by the Village Hall Committee in 2009 stands as testimony to how extensive and inclusive the design process was in progressing to a successful planning approval.
As the redevelopment of the existing hall site would only provide a portion of the funding required for the new hall, committee members applied to the Lottery Commission for match funding for the project and as the lead designer for the project I was involved in the application process and various meetings to ensure that the criteria for the Design and Build phase would be satisfactorily met. As it turned out much of the Reaching Communities Stage 1 requirements had already been met by the work done in designing and achieving planning permission. Subsequently work to pass Stages 2 & 3 were achieved and we were then commissioned to commence work on the Building Regulation drawings and assisting with the tendering process and appointment of a contractor for the building works.
Another aspect to the chosen design path was that it could be built using standard materials around a steel frame that avoided the need for internal structural posts and ensured a rigid and robust construction that would result in an easily manageable building that would not be costly to repair or require specialist’s maintenance.
Initial proof of concept designs were hand drawings, but subsequent design work was produced using ArchiCAD BIM software and this allowed us to export our 3D model to Artlantis rendering software and this helped us to present our designs in a user-friendly manner. It also helped speed up the detailed construction drawing process by working up the detail on our original planning drawings and in turn being able to import/export the TEKLA model produced by the projects structural engineer avoiding clashes between the steel frame and other building components.
A Ground Source Heat Pump provides the heating for the building to supply the underfloor heating throughout the building, this system was chosen because of the systems residual heating properties that would gradually and continuously warm the building, because the building will be used by many different people at varying times and relying on people to turn on and off the heating each time the building is used would result in misuse and assumes that each user would be familiar with the workings of the heating system. Therefore a gradual constantly on approach married with the high insulation values of the building overcomes this problem minimising the number of people who need to be proficient with the workings of the building and ensuring efficient running of the Hall.
The project was built within its £700,000 build cost budget and delivered on time by the builder and the village hall has received much local publicity and is being well used helping to strengthen the community bond and addressing the issue of rural isolation for elderly residents and looks to be achieving its ambition of being a community hub for the young and old that is selfsustaining and something that residents of the 3 villages can be proud of that will last for 100+ years like the old hall it replaced.