Gold Award & Private Award Winner 2005
Client: William Eccleshare
Architect: Simon Conder Associates
Structural Engineer: Built Engineers
Main Contractor: Herbert Austin
Joinery: Meer End Woodturners
Wood: American White Oak, Birch Plywood, Iroko
Three derelict farmyard buildings in Northamptonshire have undergone a subtle, modern conversion that wins the prize for best private home and the overall gold award for best project In the large stone barn that houses the main family living areas, the original volume is retained in one central double-height space. There is a large entrance hallway and a first-floor master bedroom. The building is lined with a full-height birch ply structure, which conceals insulation and provides storage space as well as some delicately recessed lighting details. A first-floor balcony overlooking the central space can be reached by way of a striking freestanding solid oak spiral staircase, encased in a glass cylinder. The £6,000 bespoke structure was built using only dovetail joints for support, working in the same way as a brick arch, each stair supporting the next without the conventional string or post. ‘It’s unique,” says Colin Newman of Meer End Woodturners, which was commissioned to build the staircase after all other companies had turned the architect down. It defies all previous logic of spiral stairs. Across the courtyard from the main building is a smaller brick and stone barn used by the children, which includes a workshop and garage space. The east facade has been almost entirely replaced with glass, revealing dramatic views of the countryside. One of the principal criteria for judging was the quality of design, workmanship and installation. The judges felt the details of Pinions Barn were executed in a extremely effective way: “This is a very high quality, very fashionable conversion, extremely well carried through they said.