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Pavilion splendour

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Baart Harries Newall has created a building of great delicacy with its award-winning design in Shropshire In the shadow of a medieval castle, Baart Harries Newall has designed a delicate, single-storey Miesian pavilion with glazed walls sheltered by an overhanging roof.

Acton Burnell Castle stands in the village of Acton Burnell, near Shrewsbury. The castle, together with an adjacent early 19th century Neo-Classical manor house, now forms part of Concord College, a residential school for about 300 15- to 18- year-old students, many of whom come from abroad.

They are housed in residential buildings set in the extensive landscaped gardens of the old house. The new pavilion, a canteen where they can prepare and eat their own meals, is set in the former kitchen garden which is enclosed with mellow early 19th century brick walls.

The building rests on a plinth, a paved terrace which accommodates the gentle slope of the ground. 'The flat roof and the plinth, together with the relatively low height of the building, create a strong horizontal emphasis, ' explains project architect Paul Harries, 'which responds to the flat planes of the enclosing brick walls.'

The single volume 14.4 x 7.2m space is enclosed with glazed walls and freestanding fairfaced brick walls, which are separated from the roof by glazed clerestories. The overhanging roof, supported by eight tubular steel columns set outside the walls, appears to float above them. The north-east facade, which faces the garden, is fully glazed with sliding screens which can be opened to allow students to use the terrace as an extension of the dining area in warm weather. The south-east wall is also glazed.

Inside, the canteen is robustly detailed to accept wear and tear by students. A stainless steel worktop fitted with sink units runs along the rear brick wall and a parallel island unit incorporates cooker hobs. A clean and uncluttered interior has been achieved by careful detailing. Services are collected in a service node, a blockwork enclosure houses spaces for fridge, drinks vending machine and hand drier, and incorporates electrical distribution board, fire alarm system and roof drainage in a cleaner's cupboard.

The building won a RIBA Award for Architecture in 2001 and was shortlisted for the Stephen Lawrence Award.


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