New Visitor Welcome Building

for Private Client

We are delighted to be working with a national charity to design a new visitor welcome building.

The property is a Grade II Listed C17th House and extensive grounds: It is a collector’s house with an extraordinary collection of art and artefacts – collected specifically for the property – including paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian and Brueghel as well as the largest private collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts in the UK.

Layer upon layer of architectural history cradle the collection. The objects, paintings, and even the ceilings, all play an integral part in the designed interior and architectural composition. This whole is then set within a considered landscape where axial views and symmetry abound.

The property’s statement of significance highlights the richness of this composition. Rather than the individual items, this is key to the understanding of the significance of the site as a whole. Therefore, it is our view that any new architectural interventions should not only respond to the existing landscape and architecture, but also to the spirit of the Collection; new structures and buildings should be considered as additional ‘pieces’ added to the whole ensemble.

They must not shout, be iconic or loud, but must add only well-considered elements in order to contribute to the richness of the whole. The new architectural additions must not hide, be apologetic or leave elements of the brief unanswered.

Spending time at the property and considering the significance of the estate and the opportunity of this architectural brief raised the question: What if the new buildings could not only respond to the functional and operational brief, and quietly add to the overall collection, but also assist in enhancing and revealing some of the features and qualities of the existing Buildings and Collection which are currently hidden from the visitor – to further reveal the mysteries?

The following is an extract from the ‘Spirit of Place’ statement for the property:
“Nothing is unconsidered about this jewel box of a building
Every element is part of a carefully curated composite whole
Where attention to detail, quality and taste
Really matters: inside and out.”

Our proposed design – currently at sketch proposal stage – takes inspiration from this extract from ‘Spirit of Place’ literally with the proposal to represent art outside and let it become the skin of the new building.
Our design for the new welcome building is a neat little compass – site sensitive and economic to build. It will provide a place to gather in the newly formed courtyard which, flanked by artworks showcasing the specific character of the house and landscape, will provide visitors with an exciting introduction to the Estate.