Awards 2017


Trewoofe Orchard, Lamorna (Andrew Travers for Michael McKee)

Trewoofe Orchard is a pleasant early twentieth century house built for philosopher Alfred Sedgwick and his novelist wife, Cecily. Set within a stunning woodland garden near Lamorna Cove the house has suffered over the years with a series of extensions, which this imaginative reworking has removed. Instead a cleanly designed modern wrap around extension has been added providing additional kitchen space and living accommodation, whilst connecting the house so much more effectively with the picturesque garden. Beyond the elegant design, reminiscent of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, and relationship between inside and outside the judges were particularly impressed by the quality of stonework, which matched local vernacular traditions.


Reflection, Portwrinkle (ARCO2 for Mr and Mrs Lyndon)

Designing sizable houses for prominent coastal sites is a considerable challenge, one the Cornish Buildings Group is particularly interested in. Satisfying the needs of clients who naturally want to maximise site utilisation and sea views with the need to ensure that the house does not make an inappropriate or excessive impact on sensitive landscape is invariably a tricky balance. The judges believed that ARCO2 had achieved this balance very effectively. The house is distinctive without overtly dominating its sensitive setting. The entrance to the house is cleverly handled, ensuring that the breath taking view out to sea is amplified. The recessing of the large windows, below the over-sailing curved roof, facilitates views, whilst minimising the impact of glare from the windows. The judges noted the interaction of the reverse curves of the house and the declivity in which it sits creates a very sophisticated view from the beach.


The Edge, Gwithian Towans (Steven Fisher for himself)

The cluster of quirky seaside cabins at Gwithian Towans, near Hayle, is a delightful survival from the first half of the twentieth century, creating a settlement of much charm. Unfortunately, many of the original designs have been, and continue to be, insensitively redeveloped. By contrast, this thoughtful design sets a good precedent for how to sensitively redevelop an old cabin, creating an attractive and distinctive modern house, which sits comfortably within its surroundings. The interiors were particularly well handled, with a series of attractive full height spaces reaching up into the pitched roofs, lit by both ground floor windows, which neatly framed the impressive views from the house, and windows in the gables. Although the house meets the size restrictions for the Gwithian Towans Estate, the judges did have slight reservations about its bulk. They also thought that the three gabled north-west elevation, which is plainly visible from the cliff path, was not wholly in keeping with the prevailing Estate aesthetic.


King Edward Mine, Troon – Boiler House and Assay Office (pdpGreen Consulting for Cornwall Council)

The restoration of these two significant former mine buildings and their consequent removal from the Heritage at Risk list marks another milestone in the preservation of the King Edward complex. The restoration of the Boiler House and its conversion to a new mining museum involved restoration of stonework, doors, windows and roof frame which was recovered with high quality scantle slate. The Assay Office has also been sensitively restored, preserving its historical irregularities whilst adding a well-designed extension to the rear that provides new café facilities for the King Edward complex. Some of the café fittings cleverly reuse historical materials such as pipework and corrugated iron. The judges did have issues with some of the detailing of the new café building and would have preferred the original main doors of the Boiler House to have been left as hinged doors, not converted to sliding doors, although these were minor points which do not detract from the overall quality of these restorations.


Newton House, Lanhydrock (John Moreland for Fiona Winter)

Our Awards are usually given for the creation or restoration of Cornwall’s buildings, but periodically we do recognise place-making as an award criterion. Newton House, built as a yeoman farmer’s house but upgraded in the nineteenth century for Lord Robartes’ land agent, has, over the past ten years, been significantly remodelled into a handsome villa. Following the completion of building works, its gardens were completely reworked, responding to the house as a formal, very architectural, garden in the tradition of Edwin Lutyens or Thomas Mawson. The judges considered this a very strong sense of place, which is a continuation of the great tradition of major Cornish gardens related to significant houses, and decided to award a Commendation to this highly successful new space, recognising the importance of creating high quality spaces around new and restored buildings.


Annex to Riverside Cottage, St Just (CSA Architects for Lord and Lady Hutton)

Riverside Cottage is an enchanting Grade II listed building sited adjacent to an historical quay on the picturesque upper reaches of the Percuil Creek. Its owners wanted to create additional accommodation, without adversely impacting the historical structures. The chosen solution was to create a new building in the style of a traditional waterside timber building, which would sit naturally in this sensitive site. The resulting annex is a most attractive building, thoughtfully detailed, combining traditional materials with elements of modern design. It works well in its location and successfully complements Riverside Cottage. The judges thought that it might have worked even better, as an echo of traditional vernacular buildings, if the timber cladding had been painted black.

Wavehouse, Carbis Bay (CSA Architects)

Wavehouse, overlooking Carbis Bay, is a clean modern design replacing a mediocre twentieth century bungalow. It is partly white rendered, reflecting existing traditional seaside houses, and clad in finely detailed and well executed grey aluminium, conventional timber cladding and coated zinc, which together created a pleasing contrast. The judges liked the use of these contemporary materials which offers a more practical solution in a hostile maritime climate where timber is unlikely to last long. The house makes very good use of its steeply sloping site, affording spectacular views from its first floor reception rooms and balconies. Its entrance front works very effectively, creating a sense of presence, whilst on entering the spectacular views reveal themselves. Whilst the judges thought the overall design was of high quality, they had concerns over the seaward side of the house which worked less well than the entrance front and the impact of the house on its neighbours.

The Fox Atrium, Falmouth University (RTP Surveyors for Falmouth University)

The new Fox Atrium at Falmouth cleverly links a series of existing buildings with a multi purpose space which can be used by students, inter alia, as a place to eat, meet informally or work. It operates on two levels and includes an imaginatively designed elliptical meeting room on the first floor. A subsidiary meeting room affords excellent tree top views of the exotic Fox Gardens. The new roof is a technologically advanced solution which is supported partly by new structures and partly by the walls of the existing buildings. The judges did have some issues with the design of the structural supports and would have preferred greater consistency of materials used in the Atrium (e.g. one type of bare timber). However, notwithstanding these points, the judges regarded the building as a fine addition to Cornwall’s stock of modern buildings.