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Arnold Laver Gold Award & Existing Building Winner

Winner: Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, East Sussex

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The museum at Ditchling is a small one, built to a limited budget – but with a great degree of complexity. It has been realised in a near-perfect manner, with Adam Richards Architects giving intense attention to the design of both the museum itself and fit out of the exhibition spaces, which display the unique collection of work by Eric Gill and his followers. 

Set at the heart of the almost ridiculously pretty village of Ditchling in Sussex, the building re-uses an old barn and a former school building, the new additions forming not one building but a linked family of buildings. The restored 18th century oak structure of the cart lodge is re-cast as the museum’s ‘first exhibit’, and on arrival its atmosphere sets the tone for visitors’ encounter with craft, place and the idea of the past in the spaces to come. Elements of this structure are numbered, as if in a technical drawing, placing visitors inside the exhibit. 

Every opening through the CLT reveals its thickness, while hand-chamfered edges delineate each panel

The new zinc and tile clad buildings are constructed from cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels sitting on a base of glazed black brick. These are exposed internally and have a special white dye treatment. Every opening through the CLT reveals its thickness, while hand-chamfered edges delineate each panel. 

CLT panels have also been used to create a contemporary version of a ‘cabinet of curiosities’, acting as an introduction to the collection, the village and its history. A large panel, acting as a stair balustrade, sits like an exhibit itself on top of a black brick plinth, helping tell the story of the building. In the cart lodge the ticket desk, café bar and even shop display units are made from CLT off-cuts. 

All the timber and timber products on this project were FSC certified. The project succeeded in meeting its tight budget.

The judges said: ‘This project is immaculate. Although it is complex, every space is very simple. It is an extraordinary achievement on a minimal budget'.

HOW THEY DID IT

  • The refurbished cart lodge, seen at the front, serves as the entrance to the museum
    The refurbished cart lodge, seen at the front, serves as the entrance to the museum · Credit: Brotherton Lock
  • Restored original timbers in the café.
    Restored original timbers in the café. · Credit: Brotherton Lock
  • All finishes are immaculate.
    All finishes are immaculate.
  • CLT is exposed on the interior of the building.
    CLT is exposed on the interior of the building.
  • A modern day interpretation of a cabinet of curiosities.
    A modern day interpretation of a cabinet of curiosities. · Credit: Brotherton Lock
  • A visitor considers the Wunderkammer in the new zinc-clad building.
    A visitor considers the Wunderkammer in the new zinc-clad building. · Credit: Brotherton Lock

Credits

Client: Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft

Architect: Adam Richards Architects

Main contractor/builder: Westridge Construction

M&E engineer: Bailey Gomm

Quantity surveyor: Synergy Construction and Property

Project manager: Jackson Coles

CLT manufacturer: KLH UK

Timber: Spruce cross-laminated timber; English and reclaimed oak

WOOD AWARDS 2014: Existing Building

 

Highly commended

St George’s Chapel, Great Yarmouth

Occupying the most important historic square in Great Yarmouth, St George’s Chapel forms a significant piece of Georgian town planning. 

The grade I listed building was built in 1714: a loadbearing brick shell with a timber structure roof and interior. It had suffered unsympathetic additions and neglect. Working to a tight budget, Hopkins Architects carefully restored and rejuvenated the chapel as a versatile space for the performing arts and placed alongside it a new café/box office. 

The judges said: ‘We were particularly impressed by the work at the gallery level.’

 

Client: Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Architect: Hopkins Architects

Joinery: Bullen Joinery

Main contractor/builder: RG Carter

Theatre consultant: Charcoalblue

Acoustics: Ramboll

Structural engineer, pavilion: Jane Wernick Associates.

Timber: European oak


 

Shortlisted

Architecture Archive

Somerset

Hugh Strange Architects