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Kenilworth Castle Admissions Building

Kenilworth Castle Admissions Building

Special Award: Small Project Highly Commended 2006

Location: Warwickshire
Building Owner: English Heritate
Architect: Richard Griffiths Architects
Builder/Main Contractor: Treasure & Son
Structural Engineer: Price & Myers
Joinery: Treasure & Son
Wood Species: English and European Oak

This building provides retail space, a counter for ticketing and sales, and a small office, store and WC.  It has been designed as a long, low Oak-framed structure that relates to the medieval tradition of transitory timber buildings, such as pentice walkways, oriels and timber-framed galleries. These would once have accompanied the massive masonry of the castle fortifications and would have been a feature of such sites through the various phases of their development. The intention is that the building should have a contemporary appearance in its detailing, with a copper-covered lantern at the apex of the roof, stainless steel trusses to the roof structure, and metal windows with plate glass  set within the Oak framing. The structure has Oak boarding on the elevations, Oak shingles on the roof, and a central lantern. It uses craft and local materials to create an environmentally sympathetic structure and a contextual response to both the historic and climatic environment.

The intention is to provide a design that incorporates long life materials and high levels of energy efficiency; where possible non-toxic and environmentally low impact building products, and the extensive use of renewable and recyclable products, in this instance timber and copper.

The Oak frame provides a construction with improved thermal efficiency, low embodied energy, build speed and quality, lower project costs and waste levels, sustainability and reduced impact of foundations on site.

The external walls use ‘breathing’ wall construction. Boards and supporting battens of the timber cladding are European Oak with horizontal cladding boards on inner vertical battens over a high performance breather membrane. Oak is a strong durable wood and is inherently carbon neutral. The Oak used for timber framing and finishes has been sourced from an FSC approved source.

The double-glazed windows utilise external Oak louvers giving protection from solar gain and vandalism, and internal Oak shutters that can be closed at night for security.  Sliding Oak shutters cover the two glazed entrance doors and screens for security when the building is closed.