Forensic exploration, imaginative reshaping, and painstaking restoration
Butler Hegarty Architects for Herefordshire Council
Contract value: Undisclosed
RIBA West Midlands Conservation Project of the Year Award sponsored by SIKA
RIBA West Midlands Building of the Year Award sponsored by Marley Eternit
The Master's House is grade II* listed, and one of the remaining fragments of the medieval St Katherine's hospital site, founded in 1232. Before this, the exquisite medieval timber structure was invisible to visitors, being encased in later additions.
Butler Hegarty Architects’ forensic exploration, imaginative reshaping, and painstaking restoration of this building, was supported throughout by the enthusiasm of the building’s band of local volunteer ‘friends’, and was sustained by the commitment of its owner client, Herefordshire Council.
With new life breathed into it, the building now provides a library, a base for local authority and voluntary services, a visitor attraction, and starting point for orientation and interpretation of medieval Ledbury. It has achieved a 40% increase in library membership and book loans in its first year, and has been adopted as a social hub by the local community. It demonstrates the potential of good architecture to enhance the civic life of the community.