The Kindersley Centre

Alec French Architects, Lambourn, 2003


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Entrance tower, with Kindersley Centre to right and farm offices to left 

Adam Wilson     Download Original

  • Entrance tower, with Kindersley Centre to right and farm offices to left    
  • The centre, boarded in Western Red cedar, and rendered farm office wing sit lo and sheltered on the site    
  • The Kindersley Centre by Alec french Architects    
  • The rear of the centre, with doors to the restaurant and the projecting stair tower    
  • Entrance lobby with stair part-concealed    
  • View from restaurant towards the entrance, with courtyard frontage to left    
  • Restaurant with stair wrapped around a conical oven    
  • The main conference space with Douglas Fir cruck-framing, ash walling and oak flooring. Note the earth wall to    
  • Site plan of Kindersley Centre set among other working farm buildings. Bank to north-west may be site for future residential accomodation    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan with second floor plan inset    
  • Main conference space showing heating and natural ventilation    
  • Restaurant with open kitchen below and eating mezzanine above    
  • Timber frame detail    
  • Wall/roof detail    

Sustainable conference centre in the heart of Berkshire that reworks the idea of the cruck-framed long barn

Sheepdrove Organic Farm, one of the largest organic farms in the UK, required a highly sustainable centre for the promotion of organic farming and biodiversity.

The Centre, located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, includes conference, study and education spaces, a restaurant, shop, and new farm offices which have been arranged in a relatively formal sequence, with a symmetrical arrangement of wings edging a large square south facing courtyard.

Despite the building sitting low and sheltered on its site, it is naturally ventilated and makes use of sustainable materials with waste products bio-degraded in reed beds. The design reinterprets the concept of the long barn and utilizing innovative timber engineering.

The roof is clad with cedar shingles on a pitched structure consisting of four massive arched frames. The Kindersley Centre was the winner of Civic Trust Award as well as the Civic Trust Special Award for Sustainability.


  • Begun: Apr 2002
  • Completed: 2003
  • Sector: Civic
  • Total cost: £2.6M
  • Tender date: Sep 2001
  • Procurement: JCT 98 With Quantities and Contractors Design
  • Address: The Kindersley Centre, Sheepdrove Organic Farm, Lambourn, RG17 7UU, United Kingdom

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