A mixed-use residential and commercial scheme, for client Acorn Property Group & Wessex Investors, which centres on the restoration and re-use of Listed Victorian factory buildings on the banks of the River Taw in Barnstaple. The complex restoration of the original buildings, contemporary new-build extensions, new buildings and a major new area of public realm have all been designed by LHC Design’s architectural and landscape teams in response to the industrial character and fascinating history of the site.
Acorn Property Group / Wessex Investors
Architecture, Conservation, Graphics, Landscape
Commercial, Mixed Use
Planning consent granted March 2020
LHC Design developed detailed architectural and landscape designs and Historic Building Appraisal, for the refurbishment of the Grade II Listed Oliver Buildings; alongside a consultant team which included Alder King Planning, Hydrock, Green Ecology, Piece Regen.
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The scheme incorporates contemporary extensions to secure the viable reuse of The Oliver Buildings whilst retaining, celebrating and enhancing the historical context and Listed status. New buildings are also proposed to deliver a mixed-use scheme comprising 47 waterside apartments with new shops, restaurants, commercial space and kiosks; all combining to create a new, active public space on the riverfront.
The Oliver Buildings were designed by local architect William Clement Oliver for Shapland and Petter for the production of Arts and Crafts furniture, and are the surviving part of a much larger complex. Three surviving buildings comprise two river-facing buildings dating from around 1888/9, and a third built approximately 10 years later.
The Oliver Buildings feature a simple robust form, good detailing and polychromatic brickwork, which has been referenced in the architectural language of the proposed new development. The site will be industrial and robust in character, reflecting the historic workings of the site. New additions have been designed in response to the history of the site. The site layout plan from 1889 was the key driver for the additional development and creation of a new public space.
The architectural language is informed by the industrial heritage, incorporating a contemporary take on polychromatic brickwork. Metal-mesh clad external stair towers allow the historic building to function and enable the retention of key items of the fabric significant in the Grade II listing, such as the 3-inch thick timber floorboard structure. The industrial use of metalwork continues via the use of linking bridges for safe access/egress inspired by the original scheme. A series of balconies provide outdoor living space for many apartments, and feature metal-mesh balustrades as a nod to the industrial past. Design inspiration was taken from the historic building’s fine detail with the intricate ceramic inlay – synonymous with the production of high quality furniture by Shapland and Petter – echoed in the use of new glazed bricks at ground floor level.
A new, contemporary landscape design will link together this major new river facing public space with the wider regeneration area of Anchorwood Bank and Barnstaple Town Centre. The public realm will include hard and soft landscaping in a space where pedestrians can move freely, connect with the Tarka Trail cycle path or spend time enjoying the ground floor shopping opportunities.
The scheme, which is the final part of the Anchorwood Bank regeneration, secured detailed planning and Listed Building consent in mid-March 2020.