An agricultural shelter in the Wylye valley

CaSA Architects, Warminster, 2016

 

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A new build shelter for the storage of agricultural and landscaping equipment

Projecting into a gently sloping wooded grove, on the edge of the Wylye River water meadows, this small, simple agricultural shelter has to sit as lightly as possible in its idyllic setting. Deep within the root protection zones of six mature protected beech trees, and on a site of considerable ecological, archaeological, heritage, and fluvial floodplain significance, a very simple building brief presented a host of complications.

The sensitivity of the site demanded that no more than three inches of dig out was permitted, and prevented the use anything more than hand held mechanical plant. An air spade was used to clear only the top few inches of soil, revealing a remarkable intertwined and intricate fibrous root system just below the surface.

An array of innovative aluminium helical screw piles were driven down between the roots using a hand held post driver. Successive 1m pile sections connect together as the piles are driven in, achieving depths of over 5m. The piles tops are linked together by a concrete ‘over ground’ ring beam enclosing an area of highly permeable fill to allow nitrogen ventilation to the fibrous root system below. This structure supports a cantilevered concrete slab, which enables the shelter to float within its woodland setting.

All but the north elevation of the timber structure above is built inside out; whereby the cladding is placed on the inside of the structural studs. The studs then become visible externally. This verticality adds depth and articulation to the elevations, without doubling up the timber required, reducing costs and thinning the construction.

Data

  • Begun: Nov 2015
  • Completed: Apr 2016
  • Floor area: 28m2
  • Sector: Industrial
  • Total cost: £30,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Oct 2015
  • Procurement: Negotiated tender
  • Address: Fisherton de la Mare, Wiltshire, Warminster, BA12, United Kingdom

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