“Take an isolated Hilltop Barn, add some crispy edged modern steel and glass, and three hundred years of history and you have the rich ingredient in which to create a mouth watering contemporary barn conversion”
RRA Architects was formed in 1986 and has developed a reputation as a highly innovative architectural practice. They bring three essential qualities: imagination, value for money and freedom from worry.
'Hillcott barn is a celebration of the fabric of an impressive historic structure within the Wye valley,' explain the architects. 'The need to keep costs down drove the desire for off site manufacture and the ability to phase construction. The lightness of the central spaces around the threshing doors of the barn were where the living accommodation was placed, and the darker more intimate spaces were where the snug and bedrooms were located. The raised roof was the ingenious design featured on the show. This method of introducing ventilation and daylight into the building without the need for new windows or enlarged arrow slits which would have destroyed the delicate historic fabric of the walls of the barn was the key to the success of the project.'
The aim of the design is to offset new construction so that the old barn could be seen to its best extent. ' The architecture was about revealing the old fabric as much as possible to develop a contrast between the old and the ultra modern. The use of all the existing openings without resorting to inserting any new, ensured that the building was true to good conservation techniques and more importantly facilitated a successful planning argument. The living accommodation was located where the maximum daylight was whilst the more intimate darker parts of plan were located in the more dimly lit parts of the barn. Once the designs were completed that tender drawings were produced and it was at this point that the cameras were rolling and Grand Designs were recording the detailing of the drawings and the preparation of the site ready for the build.’
The program maker Talkback Thames submitted this episode of Grand Designs for a Golden Montreux TV award in 2006. It highlights in bucket-loads, how client optimism mixed with reality are not necessarily happy bed fellows. Read more on OpenBuildings.