The Grade II listed 17th century Ockenden Manor in West Sussex will soon be home to a beautiful spa retreat. The new build 2000m² spa and suites will sit within the derelict walled garden, which in the Victorian era was home to accommodation and workshops for the gardeners who tended to what were extensive ornamental gardens, greenhouses and kitchen gardens.
Lampard and Partners are the main contractors for the project and John Cooper Associates are the architects.
The £6m luxury health spa will house many exciting facilities, including: indoor and outdoor swimming pools, treatment rooms, fitness suites, steam rooms and specialist shower areas, along with a gymnasium, relaxation area and sauna.
The multi-layered building is set into a steep slope, which is enclosed on three sides by the 18th century walls which rise up to 5.5m in height. Externally the building is a mixture of structural glazing, with two-storey height glazed walls wrapping around the indoor pool, reception and relaxation areas and Parklex rain screen panels to the remaining walls. On the roof, there are two pavilions – one of which houses specialist beauty treatments and therapies. In addition, there is a private garden serving six large, exclusive luxury suites.
Ockenden Manor Spa is full of fascinating design features. Ben Law, who shot to fame on Channel 4’s ‘Grand Designs’ is making all of the door handles, screens and hand rails from his own woodland, whilst the project has also implemented an exciting new technique which has involved commissioning a local photographer to take pictures of woodland and working with the door manufacturer to apply these stunning pictures to the doors. When the doors are opened, it appears as if one is actually stepping into the woodland itself.
John Cooper from John Cooper Associates said: “This is an extremely interesting project to have worked on and as a result there were some challenges. Firstly, access was an issue as there is only one small lane in the middle of the village. In addition, the spa is in a conservation area as it falls within the grounds of a listed building and the new South Downs National Park. As a result, planning consent took a while – however we got there in the end.
“We have been overwhelmed by the response to the building and it has been pushed for many awards. I believe it just goes to show what can be produced when you have such an innovative, creative client. We have designed what we hope is a unique building that is both contemporary and respectful of the historic surroundings.”