Reviving Ansty Plum
Designed in 1964 by David Levitt, Ansty Plum is a fairy-tale building and studio situated amongst the hills of Wiltshire. A rural, architecturally significant gem, Ansty Plum is an intriguing building, with a rich history, however it is also a building which – like most structures over time – has suffered from decay, water ingress and structural failure.
In recent times, the unique hide-away has undergone a significant series of repairs to revive the once dormant dwelling into a welcoming family home. Work on the fable property involved structurally reinforcing the building to improve its stability; installing additional insulation including double glazing; installing central heating (for the first time); and renewing surface finishes throughout the home. Energy consumption was also addressed.
The project manager on Ansty Plum was Andy Townend; the main contractor was J&C Symonds; Joinery was completed by Westside Design, Bath.
The architectural practice on the Ansty Plum refurbishment project was Coppin Dockray – an architecture and design practice with over 15 years professional experience. The practice provides services for both the residential and commercial sector and was an important element in the building’s transformation.
During their involvement with the project, Coppin Dockray opened up the building’s main space, removing late additions, including internal walls and a bathroom. A new bedroom and study were then inserted, providing beautiful new living spaces.
Moving on from the main building, Coppin Dockray then revived the site’s studio building, extending the structure and installing a new insulated zinc roof, along with new cast concrete copings, new services and new heating (again for the first time). The studio now glows a warm pink colour and is a worthy companion piece.
Access to some of the site’s original working drawings provided Coppin Dockray with the opportunity to interpret many of the zinc, stone and timber details used within this refurbishment project. The drawings also allowed Coppin Dockray to preserve the spirit of Ansty Plum and the results speak for themselves.
To complete the project, a series of landscaping works were implemented including the restoration of hard landscaping and the installation of native planting.
Sandra Coppin, Director of Coppin Dockray, told Premier Construction:
“This was a very rich and complex project. The list of people that have been involved in this building since its inception is really quite extraordinary – Roger Rigby, David Levitt, Ron Marsh, Max Fordham – it’s been a ‘who’s who’ within 20th century construction.
“For us to work and intervene on a project like this, which was carefully and heroically considered, despite the scale and budget, was an immense privilege.”
The house has recently won awards for the quality of its architectural and design work, including RIBA South West Award 2016, RIBA South West Small Project Award 2016, Telegraph Homebuilding and Renovating Award 2015. It has also been shortlisted for The Sunday Times British Homes Awards 2016 and The Manser Medal 2016, both due to be announced in October, and it has been longlisted for the RIBA House of the Year Award 2016, to be announced in November.
The care taken to overhaul this once decaying structure into a beautiful architectural masterpiece is one that deserves boundless amounts of gratitude. Ansty Plum is now a fine and efficient family home and equally remarkable workspace and library.