Architecture Archive, Somerset

RIBA Regional Awards 2014: South West / Wessex

Architecture Archive, Somerset
Architecture Archive, Somerset · Credit: David Grandorge

Architecture Archive, Somerset
Hugh Strange Architects for private client
GIA 120m2

A working farm is not somewhere you’d  expect to find a private architectural archive, especially one as well hidden as this, but here the architect affords the archive the luxury of gradually revealing itself to the observant viewer. What initially looks like a long low farm shed becomes on closer inspection two distinct objects – the new timber one encased chrysalis-like behind the stone.

Above the ground floor archive is the owner’s office and residence, the structure’s walls and roof formed of cross-laminated timber. This adds not just aesthetic homogeneity and warmth, but is an active part of a thermal mass strategy to meet domestic and archival storage needs. Some design decisions, it was noted, seemed almost counter intuitive, producing ‘a kind of indulgent garden shed, but an incredibly architectural and sophisticated one’ – a space of restrained indulgence.