Astley Castle

Seamless integration of medieval and modern in a picturesque setting

The Project

A 12th-century fortified manor which had been lying in ruins since a fire in 1978, Astley Castle had seen additions and revisions carried out in almost every century since Medieval times. Throughout its history the site has been owned by no less than three Queens of England.

The Landmark Trust boldly set out to reinstate occupancy of Astley Castle in a manner appropriate for the 21st century.  After careful recording, those parts of the building beyond pragmatic repair were taken down.  By inserting a groundbreaking modern holiday home into the shell of the ancient castle, the architects, Witherford Watson Mann, were able to both stabilise the ruin and create the next layer of the building’s history.  The results showcase how modern architecture can be unashamedly but sympathetically stitched into ancient fabric to significant effect.


Building Control

Oculus proactively guided the Design Team in the challenging task of applying the Building Regulations for residential accommodation for this ancient and complex moated site. The new-build introduced consolidates and ties together what could be saved of the original fabric as unobtrusively as possible, leaving the Castle’s form in the landscape largely unchanged.  Large glazed panels now frame views of medieval stonework and the adjacent church and surrounding countryside.  


Astley Castle won the RIBA Stirling Prize for the Best Building of the Year in 2013.

RIBA President Stephen Hodder described the project as ‘a real labour of love’, saying ‘Astley Castle is an exceptional example of how modern architecture can revive an ancient monument.’

Astley Castle won numerous awards including:

  • RICS West Midlands Conservation Award 2013
  • RIBA West Midlands Regional Award 2013
  • RIBA West Midlands Conservation Award 2013
  • RIBA National Award 2013
     

CASE STUDY
University of Hertfordshire

  • Refurbishment and alterations of the Hutton Building and Hutton Hall, including multi-storey new-build Hutton-Hub student zone.
  • Refurbishment and extension of Prince Edward Hall.

To the design of Vincent and Gorbing and construction by Contractor Morgan Sindall in association with Stride Treglown as executive architects , the works included an extensive refurbishment of Prince Edward Hall to form a new Learning Zone and Refreshment Space. The end result is a stylish timber lined informal study and meeting area for students adjacent to a new café and seating area. Externally the building has been granite clad.

Read More

CASE STUDY
Tyntesfield

Tyntesfield is a spectacular Victorian Gothic Revival house with gardens, parkland and much more.  It had been the house of the Gibbs family for over 150 years. As the house was inherited by each generation of the Gibbs family, they stamped their own identity on the house and estate with different developments. The 14th June 2002 marked a new beginning for the house and estate when the National Trust announced their new acquisition.  The house was in need of extensive renovation and The National Trust set about re-roofing, re-wiring and re-plumbing the main house and generally improving access for visitor experience. 

Read More

CASE STUDY
Shakespeare's New Place / Nash's House

Spearheaded by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, a new oak and bronze gateway was created that opens on the original threshold of Shakespeare's New Place. This new permanent exhibition brings to life the story of Shakespeare's New Place and the personal life of its most famous occupant, and where he had his family home for 19 years. 

Read More