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
The Royal High School, Bath

Cranwell House is a Grade II-listed Victorian mansion house set within a significant historic landscape in the World Heritage City of Bath. It was purchased by The Girls’ Day School Trust as the future home for the Junior School of The Royal High School Bath, which was looking to move from outmoded facilities on its existing site elsewhere in the city centre.

Following a limited competition Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios were appointed to sensitively refurbish the main house, reinstating the principal rooms of the house as new teaching spaces and introducing a contemporary and sustainable extension building within the immediate context of the listed building and the wider parkland setting.

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CASE STUDY
Carlton Club, London

Following a fire risk assessment on the club, Oculus was brought in to find suitable solutions for fire safety works required in the significant findings of the report. With the club being a listed building any works would need to have minimal impact on the historic fabric and disruption to the guest accommodation in the Club kept to a minimum. 

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CASE STUDY
Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios design has transformed two tired terraced buildings to a light and airy space reflecting the activities of the end user, Condé Nast College of Fashion.  The interior has been opened up creating a space and environment conducive to learning and reflecting the flair and creativity taking place as part of the education process.

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