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Old Bearhurst by Duggan Morris Architects

[MANSER MEDAL 2012] This partly buried building respects the oast house of its former life

This project aimed to create a unified series of flowing, contemporary spaces linked to the rolling landscape setting, respecting the existing oast house, and taking advantage of the views.

The original building was given a thorough but sensitive makeover, removing the garage, study and kitchen wing to make way for the new annex. What remained was carefully analysed and repaired appropriately so the 200‑year-old building is easily discernible against the new interventions. The annex itself is an altogether more sculptural and dynamic form of interconnecting volumes, entirely clad in a durable engineered timber boarding, orientated vertically, in contrast to the rough-sawn horizontal lapped timber cladding of the barn. The external massing expresses the internal function of each room.

A conflict between the needs of the client and the demands of conservation officials, who wanted the replication of a traditional farm building aesthetic, has been resolved by breaking up and partly burying the new building, so it appears to be a collection of cellular timber outbuildings dominated by the bulk of the two oast houses. Yet internally these ‘barns’ form a beautiful continuous flowing open plan living area, linking into bedrooms in the restored oast houses.

RIBA Regional Award, South

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See images and drawings of Old Bearhurst by Duggan Morris Architects

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