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SWA member helps create ‘agricultural’ drawing archive

The architectural practice responsible for creating a spacious and temperature stabilised archive facility from a derelict farm building, has featured W40 steel windows and doorsets. This is a key part of the design, amongst a mix of materials chosen to offer both economy and high performance, in harmony with the rural setting.

Rea Metal Windows, a Steel Window Association member based in Liverpool, won the contract to produce the five double leaf doors and two windows for the award winning Shatwell Farm Architecture Archive. Designed by Hugh Strange Architects and converted by Hobhouse Limited, the Somerset farm project transforming an old brick and stone barn into a 120 square metre studio and storage facility that combines conservation with off-site construction techniques.  

The director of the architectural practice: Hugh Strange commented: “With the archive being on a farm yard surrounded by buildings, like a wood store and other barns, we drew inspiration from the ordinary everyday quality of the setting, part of which was the galvanised language, so as well as the door frames we specified the downpipes in a galvanised finish, and the exposed electrical conduit inside the building.”

 “The contents of the building are very valuable to the owner and so security was also a crucial consideration, meaning steel framed doors and windows were a positive, which we also had glazed with laminated glass.”

The concept for the project was to stabilise those walls that were saveable and then to insert two prefabricated modules, made of cross-laminated timber to provide thermal mass as well as insulation. These are over-sailed by a single ventilated roof structure to create a weatherproof shell which still reveals its origins.

Hugh Strange continued: “The north building provides a studio space that is characterised by large French windows which offer views to the wooded valley outside. In contrast the south building houses a drawing archive and display space that is predominantly top-lit by a generous rooflight.” 

While the classic W20 profiles are well able to conform to Building Regulation as well as the aesthetic requirements in such heritage situations, the more modern looking W40 frames specified by the architects offer enhanced thermal performance. All the frames were glazed with 24.4 mm IG units featuring an outer leaf of 6.4 mm laminated glass and a 4 mm toughened inner, with argon gas filling to achieve a U-value of 1.2 W/m2K.

Hugh Strange’s Shatwell Architecture Archive won a RIBA national award and was also nominated for the Mies Van Der Rohe European Architecture Prize.