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52 PROJECT REPORT: HERITAGE & CONSERVATION


how to get from guest arrival in the manor house to the new banqueting facilities and new guest rooms.” Rather than be via the 1989 link, “a rather arduous, dingy corridor, the architects “wanted to give the guests a more memorable experience.” The resulting key challenges for the project team were twofold, and pretty stark – doubling the floor area of 8000 m2 16,000 m2


to , coupled with an “ambitious” WEST WING


The new wing and colonnade were designed to be as complementary to the Gothic Revival style of the manor as possible, while avoiding ‘pastiche’


footprint housing an impressive great hall and Versailles Hall of Mirrors-style Minstrels Gallery, a further ‘Clock Tower wing’ of rooms runs along the river Maigue. Augustus Pugin designed some of the interior including the great hall, where guests


circulate before moving to their rooms. No significant upgrades had been made to the main building since 1989, when an extension to house yet more guest rooms was added to the north of the Clock Tower wing, making a long, thin building. With the resort’s burgeoning popularity showing no sign of abating however, the client (Tizzard Holdings) wanted to increase guest accommodation “by as much as possible,” to enable the client to handle future demand and avoid further situations such as guest rooms having to be used as meeting rooms. Completing the project would be a new ballroom plus function spaces overlooking the river, as well as a meeting room, bridal suite, 32-seat cinema, and a spa in the cellar, plus a swimming pool extension. The manor house’s austere grandeur had faded somewhat, says Twomey: “While it was atmospheric, it needed to be more inviting”. It would be fully restored as part of the project, in strict adherence to the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which provide the highest guideline standards for heritage buildings and monuments. In addition, there was a circulation problem to resolve, “We had to envisage


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timescale. As James Twomey says, “the hospitality industry is extremely public – if you tell the client you are going to have your grand opening on a given day, they had better because no-one wants the job of trying to explain why it hasn’t happened.” He says that the client’s completion milestone was “ambitious and firm”. In addition, and what posed “a massive challenge for the practice on a daily basis,” was being “custodians of what is essentially a national monument,” says Twomey. With that in mind, the overarching design aim for the new additions to the building was “to be true to it, while not imitating it”. From conception to completing construction works and all renovations took just over two years. Twomey illustrates the level of intensity that was required on site to achieve this: “You could be addressing a critical matter in the manor one minute, then the next in the ballroom looking at gold leaf or another ornate embellishment. There were multiple teams all working at the same time, it was a phenomenal achievement.”


Masterplanning Twomey says the key to developing a masterplan for this relatively complex set of additions was “unlocking the fundamentals of the client’s requirements at an early stage. We could then spend time honing and developing the design in a way that was true to the spirit of the original concept.” He says that due to the extensive land available to work with on the site, identifying the schedule for the masterplan happened “pretty quickly, once we got over the complexity of the protected views, without detracting in any way from the siting of the manor”.


The key task was to significantly increase the size of the building to meet the client’s needs while “creating a compact and connected design, sympathetic to the manor house and its setting,” summarises Twomey. This was resolved by placing a new ‘West Wing’ at right angles to the 1989 extension and offering 54 new guestrooms and suites, plus back of house facilities, thereby creating a “cloistered courtyard.”


ADF SEPTEMBER 2018


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