Rothschild Foundation

Stephen Marshall Architects, Aylesbury, 2011


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Views are atriculated across the building through punctured holes 

Richard Bryant (website)     Download Original

  • Views are atriculated across the building through punctured holes    
  • Aerial view from south. The complex will look less disjointed as the oak cladding turns grey and trees become established    
  • View from arrivals courtyard with entrance courtyard beyond and deep-verged office building on left    
  • As at Roche Court, the intermediate roof structure supports are within the door leaf    
  • The roof structure appears to span between end walls    
  • Reading room. The struts which support the diagrid echo the trestles supporting the tables. Connections to the diagrid are not articulated    
  • The seminar room is in a converted farm building from which the hay loft has been removed    
  • Exetrior view at night    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Reading room cross section    
  • Reading Room long section    
  • Section B-B through courtyards    
  • Courtyard    
  • West elevation    
  • Reading room door top detail    
  • Reading room south screen door jamb    
  • Reading room door bottom detail    
  • Shutter type 12    
  • Archive building reading room south glazed screen    

Philanthropic archive and centre for study in fields ranging from the arts to environment and horticulture

Originally a dairy farm built in the 1870s, only one of the original buildings has been retained as part of the courtyard complex. Based around a number of courtyards, the new barn-like buildings house the archive office, archive store and reading room constructed from zinc and glass.

The building concept reflects on agricultural qualities and the surrounding countryside. The most important aspect to the design was the desire to maximise views. The new structure frames these well, although the scheme itself appears less picturesque, more American ranch.

Structurally the reading-room roof comprises two huge trusses made of wood that just lean against each other. Reinforced concrete end walls resist lateral and torsional forces from these trusses and provide support with minimal assistance from intermediate steel axles.

Bespoke craftsmanship and high-quality materials including all timber finishes in English oak and polished basalt flooring.

The archive room is one the largest naturally cooled building in Britain. With a 1.5m thick wall, the spaces is divided into small, four-hour fire compartments.


  • Begun: Jun 2009
  • Completed: Mar 2011
  • Floor area: 1,610m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £6.3M
  • Procurement: JCT SBC 2005 with two-stage tender process
  • CO2 Emissions: 29.9kg/m2/year
  • Address: Windmill Hill, Aylesbury, HP18 0JZ, United Kingdom

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