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STOWE HOUSE PHASE 2, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

BCI AWARDS - CONSERVATION

For a project designed and executed with respect for original fabric, design and form, while making a minimum intervention consistent with safety and structural integrity. Sponsored by Hyder Consulting.

Most of Stowe House dates from the 1770s when Earl Temple had his family home rebuilt to create one of the most imposing houses in England.

When the house and estate went under the auctioneer's hammer in 1922 it was billed as 'renowned throughout the world for its magnificence and intense historical interest'. The house then became the home of Stowe public school, which must have taken on a maintenance backlog in scale with the building's fame.

By the late 1950s a shed-like temporary roof was erected over the top to keep out the rain. It stayed there, ruining the drama of the classical portico, until the present conservation work was begun.

The National Trust took over the grounds, began restoration of the many classical 'temples' in the late 1980s and opened them to the public. Then in 1997 the separate Stowe House Preservation Trust was formed, the school became its tenant, and fundraising started for the much-needed conservation work on the main house.

The Heritage Lottery Fund was a substantial contributor and the present Phase 2 project has concentrated on the roof and external walls of the central building along with a painstaking refurbishment of its superb Marble Saloon and dome. Under the trust ownership, it can be enjoyed by visitors as well as the school.

Quality of the work being done is especially evident on the roof where the complex restored timber structure has been carefully dressed in thick 39kg/m 2 lead which looks as if it should be good for another quarter millennium.

Client The Stowe House Preservation Trust Cost £5.58 million Principal designer Purcell Miller Tritton Designer The Morton Partnership Contractor Linford Bridgeman

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