This year the Council has taken the difficult decision not to present our highest award. Rather we are awarding commendations to three very worthwhile projects. The citations that follow reflect our conclusions, commending some excellent work, while on others constructively offering thoughts on what might have been done differently.
< Headland Hotel, Newquay (Lilly Lewarne Practice)
Sylvanus Trevail’s flamboyant late-19th century Baroque terracotta confection has been subject of a series of sensitive upgrades in recent years. The latest inserts a sophisticated modern spa into former service space in the basement. Much of the work is invisible from the exterior, but what can be seen is a good blend of strong modern design with fine detailing, including accurate reproductions of original terracotta work.
Although the spa’s interior was, inevitably, a complex series of dark spaces, the scheme has considerably improved the external appearance of the building, particularly from the seaward side, whilst also improving its commercial potential.
Restronguet Barton, Chyvounder (Arco2)
This is an accomplished conversion to two dwellings of a linear group of three extremely run down 17th century farm buildings. A 19th century shippon links the cottages to a threshing barn at the east end with an open sided polygonal whim engine house to the south. The conversion tastefully respects the original wall openings and uses traditional methods and materials. It is regrettable that cat-slide dormers have been introduced to the front elevation and, while the reuse of Delabole slate is laudable, it is disappointing that the opportunity was not seized to reinstate the thatch with eyebrow dorms.
Of note is the bold new green oak glazed corridor/garden room extension with sedum roof and a subtle glazed opening introduced within the exposed gable. The patrons must be congratulated for restoring the engine house and returning its whim engine to working order.
< Rosemerryn Cabin, Lamorna (Matt Robinson)
Sited in an enchanting early twentieth century garden, this distinctive low carbon house is a welcome new interpretation of the timber framed house. The architect has created a series of spaces which connect naturally with the landscape, whilst demonstrating considerable inventiveness in the construction of the timber of frame. Although some of the detailing is over mannered, it does create visually stimulating rooms.
Incorporating green energy technology, such as solar panels, in a visually pleasing way, is difficult and the judges thought that the house’s appearance would be improved by a more subtle housing of the roof mounted solar panels.
Cosawes Barton, Ponsanooth, Truro (Lilly Lewarne Practice)
Both inside and out, the stockyard conversion struck the judges as a most competent job to which in previous years we might have given an award. We liked the treatment of the yard itself and the front elevations which were handsomely finished in an appropriate ‘estate’ colour. The interiors were pleasing and competently done.
The judges thought that the whole work owed much more to the fine original architecture of the stock yard than to the conversion itself and that the conversion, although well executed, could not rank as architecturally outstanding in its own right.
Cross Street, Wadebridge (Trewin Design)
This new residential development on the site of the old Wadebridge Town Hall incorporates two flats and a new local museum. It is located on a prominent site at the junction of three roads and responds well to its location with a good overall shape and thoughtful fenestration, creating interesting outlooks from within and an interesting building at a key focal point.
The overall pleasing impact of the building was impaired by the choice of a very brown Killas for the natural stone parts of the building; whilst some of the detailing, particularly interaction of fenestration with other details, could have been improved.
Nancarrow Events Barn, Truro (Matt Robinson)
This impressive new barn is the showpiece of an environmentally friendly rural events venue, at the heart of an organic farm. The aisled barn, to be used for weddings and conferences, has been sensitively designed with a green oak frame and is well located with reference to an attractive mill pond and complex of old mill and farm buildings. Whilst the judges liked the overall design and setting, they felt that the barn design drew too much on generic national models. They would have preferred a design that evolved historical forms to make more of advances in timber framed construction and Cornish idioms.
No.1 Falmouth Road, Truro (Viv Hendra)
The attractive double fronted early 19th century town house had been crudely converted into flats and neglected. Great care was exercised in restoring period features whilst introducing new services and creating new spaces. Restoration included an external stucco decorative band and unusual wall decoration in the drawing room as well as reconstruction of the lower part of the staircase, destroyed when the house was divided.
Although the judges were very impressed by the restoration, they were concerned at the scale of the new conservatory and felt that replacement of all multi paned sash windows would have improved the main front’s appearance.
No. 43/45 Trelowarren Street, Camborne (THI scheme/ Cornwall Council) >
Another splendid effort by the Townscape Heritage Initiative team. Although these THI schemes focus on energy efficiency, the use of suitably detailed windows, insulation &c, they always look to authentic and accurate restoration projects, based on historical photographs wherever possible. The restoration of the upper floor and roof is well done, and the shop front is a well-proportioned and well-mannered piece of street architecture, undoubtedly a huge improvement on what was there. The judges thought that the detailing could have been more accurate which would have raised the building towards the former glory of its Victorian predecessor.