When leading UK eco architects, Architype, grew out of their old office they decided that their new West of England office would be a model of sustainable workplace practice and contemporary design.
In 2007 Architype was awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects’ prestigious National Sustainability Award for the recently completed new office building, a resounding endorsement of their achievement. Architype was also named Building Magazine’s Sustainable Architect of the Year 2007.
Architype required a property in the West of England that could accommodate an expanding office staff of 17 (the practice also supports a 20 strong office in London).
Photographs courtesy of Leigh Simpson
After a hunt lasting several years Architype finally found a property in the right location that was capable of reaching the firm’s extremely high environmental objectives. They has discovered a derelict barn and outbuilding near the small village of Upper Twyford near Hereford that was suitable for complete restoration and redevelopment by the practice. The office moved into their innovative, light and supremely eco-friendly offices in summer 2006.
Among the many sustainable measures adopted for the building are organic finishes, natural ventilation, recycled newspaper insulation, thermal mass, biomass boiler, water efficiency measures and use of locally sourced materials and timber. Sitting into the side of small hill surrounded by rolling, wooded countryside, the barn is just visible from the road. The stone of the original barn buildings, supporting a new, timber clad first floor and reclaimed Welsh slate roof, reflect the local colours and materials.
Jonathan Hines, director of Architype, says Upper Twyford Barns “is an inspirational place to work. We enjoy exceptional views across fields and woodlands. The office is unpolluted by chemical treatments, it is naturally ventilated and heated and provides us with light and modern space for working, meeting and socialising.”
The practice has put in place a programme of research so that they can measure the effectiveness of the design, technology and materials used in the buildings and will use this knowledge to improve the performance of all forthcoming Architype projects.