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Village hall fresh from the farm

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In rural England, the village hall tends to be the traditional focus of community life. The picturesque stone village of Arkholme, in the Lune valley, north Lancashire, commissioned a new hall from Mason Gillibrand Architects. Replacing an older, inadequate hall, it will now accommodate a wider range of activities - from toddler group to computer classes.

The new hall takes its scale and concept from the traditional grouping of local farm buildings; the main hall, a barn-like structure with a pitched roof of glulam beams covered with traditional slates, rises above the mono-pitched lean-to ancillary spaces - entrance lobby, bar, kitchen and meeting room. They are clad with pressure-treated softwood boarding and roofed with terne-coated stainless steel. The boarding is laid horizontally with open joints onto battens fixed to a blockwork cavity wall.

The spaces inside the building are warm and welcoming; the hall is clad with beech ply panels and has a Junckers beech floor. All the principal rooms are designed to allow maximum flexibility - they can be used independently or together. The flexibility was enhanced by the glulam roof structure in the hall which allowed clear spans. Generous storage areas in the entrance hall are formed of panels of beechveneered ply sheet trimmed with aluminium channels and set in planed softwood frames. The walls of the bar are formed of timber composite glazed screens that give spectacular views of the Lune valley.

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