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Anstey Hall Barns – Success inspired by the Saxons

Centred around the conversion of Grade II listed barn structures, with elements dating back to Saxon times, Anstey Hall Barns is an inspirational project creating 12 luxurious homes of outstanding character and design, in a scheme which has achieved a ‘Highly Commended’ accolade in the Structural Timber Awards 2017 ‘Private Housing Project of the Year’ category.

Nestled between Grantchester and Trumpington near Cambridge, the barns have been carefully designed and restored to blend seamlessly in their original environment, and stay true to their original structures.

This circa £8M project for Hill Residential was brought to life with the skill and vision of a highly collaborative team; David Miller Architects (DMA) utilised their state-of-the-art portfolio of digital design experience and worked with Hill Bespoke to develop and apply advanced digital construction techniques to deliver the uniquely designed homes, which include four timber-clad new builds.

Anstey Hall

At the start of the project, the DMA team knew that this was an ambitious undertaking, given the initially derelict structures, dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries – with further complications of Grade II listings on some of the structures’ timber framing – the greatest challenge of the project.

Lauren Westpfel, Lead Designer at DMA said: “This is the first Highly Commended accolade we have won in the Structural Timber Awards, and it was good to have the recognition.

“With the dilapidated frames and the planning constraints of working in a conservation area, this project traditionally would be looked on as high-risk, however we approached the development with innovation and high-tech design to help unlock its full potential.

“Modelling the complex buildings in 3D allowed us to accurately evaluate and plan the build, using as much of the original structure as possible. This gave us accurate building cost forecasts and so greatly reduced the risk.”

Employing high-tech digital capture methods from the outset, DMA generated 3D surveys, which, in turn, aided in creating the project model. To further enhance the saleability of the barns, furniture layouts and marketing images have been produced via this programme, enabling Hill to successfully promote sales off-plan.

Adhering to Historic England’s principles, DMA set out to respect the previous form of the structures using original architectural materials and details such as green oak and lime bonded brickwork.

The internal character has been preserved wherever possible, with some of the barns expressing their original beams and others including exposed brickwork.

In line with Hill’s policies, adroit procurement of local resources and reclaimed historic materials has allowed the new builds to compliment the conversion elements of the project.

The four new-build homes have been situated around a newly created courtyard, sitting comfortably amongst the barn conversions to create a collection of homes like no other.

Lauren Westpfel concluded: “The conservation of this previously abandoned site, in this beautiful part of the Cambridge countryside, has enhanced the local area which already hosts a number of historically significant buildings.

“This project has proven that making use of advanced digital design and construction techniques can make sense of what was an extremely complex fusion of old and new, with an end result that makes this development a gem amongst other historical luxury properties. This was an enormously rewarding scheme to work on and the client was delighted with the end result.”

The project was completed in September 2017, with six of the properties already sold.

Anstey Hall

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