Worcestershire restoration scheme takes home multiple architecture awards
A long-standing restoration project in Martley, Worcestershire, has won three architecture awards from one of the UK’s most respected awarding-bodies.
Seven years in the making, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced The Old Court House as winner of the prestigious West Midlands Award, the Conservation Award and the Project Architect of the Year Award 2018, which went to Harrison Brookes Architects.
Alongside the architect, the project team – made up of Speller Metcalfe, structural engineers Shire Consultants, Mike Napthan Archaeology and Clarke Webb Ecology – worked tirelessly to bring the Grade II listed house, which had been on the verge of collapse, back to life.
The first 12 months of the project were spent going through planning and an intense archaeological process to salvage any original materials:
“We essentially had to unravel the building before it could be put back together,” said Andy Metcalfe, joint chairman for Speller Metcalfe. “This was a huge undertaking and 16,000 bricks later, the painstaking restoration of the property then began, which included large amounts of in-situ oak repair and replacement.
“Not only has this been a fantastic project for the nature of its restoration, but we have seen numerous apprentices and tradesman hone their skills at the Old Court House, and I would like to think it is now a legacy project in every sense of the word.”
The disused building has now been remodelled into a superb five bedroom home, with many of the original building techniques replicated to retain the character of the property, including wattle and daub walls, timber frame oak pegs and handmade bricks and tiles.
Project Architect, Rhys Brookes of Somerset-based Harrison Brookes Architects, said: “In our 25 years of working solely on listed structures, the Old Court House has proved by far and away the most technically challenging.
“Even getting onto the site required upgrading 2km of farm track, building a bridge and laying 7km of water pipes. Being derelict for over 30 years the property had become more ecosystem than building and we had to create habitats for great crested newts, bats, and badgers, before we could begin attempting to rescue the building.
“The Old Court House is a direct product of its environment, with every material used in the original construction coming from the site itself, and every element being bespoke made. The bricks and tiles were unique to the building and painstaking effort was taken to ensure that any new material matched the originals precisely.
“At the end of the day this was a team effort with everybody working together to achieve something very special but the greatest praise needs to go to the men who did the work; without them architects are simply conductors without an orchestra.”