Walmer Castle and Gardens Learning Centre Kent Building, Adam Richards Architects Architecture Images

Walmer Castle and Gardens Learning Centre in Kent

14 Sep 2021

Design: Adam Richards Architects

Location: Kent, south east England, UK

Stephen Lawrence Prize 2021 Shortlisted

Walmer Castle and Gardens Learning Centre
photograph © Brotherton Lock

Walmer Castle and Gardens Learning Centre

Jury Report

This understated, well-detailed building fits a huge amount into a small space. Brickwork and the shape of windows reflect the neighbouring historic buildings, and an old greenhouse is reused as part of this development. Good consideration is given to the use of the spaces; they are comfortable and practical issues like storage are well considered.

Walmer Castle and Gardens Learning Centre
photo © Brotherton Lock

This collection of small buildings have been carefully positioned using existing sight lines, and are almost unnoticeable behind the existing tree when viewed from the Tudor fortress. This compact scheme achieves a big task of providing a comfortable and engaging space for education for all kind of users and age groups through the architect’s careful and considerate multi-function design features.

Walmer Castle and Gardens Learning Centre
photo © Brotherton Lock

This project offers delightful little surprises everywhere; changing ceiling heights responding to the functions and volumes of the spaces, to unobstructed views from carefully aligned windows providing visual connectivity to the gardener’s shed, or the seated gathering space formed from the cleverly detailed concrete base of the building. The form of the ‘vitrine’ window takes cues from the original fortification’s gun embrasures, opening into a kitchen garden that supplies produce to the new adjacent café.

Walmer Castle and Gardens Learning Centre
photo © Brotherton Lock

The detailing of the little café is contemporary, referencing the historic building in its materials and form, and it reutilises the existing lean-to greenhouse to create a light-filled and spacious, yet carefully articulated, space serving visitors to the garden. Overall, this is an very good example of repurposing an existing structure in a creative way to sustainably generate income that supports the current usage.

Walmer Castle and Gardens Learning Centre
photo © Brotherton Lock

Walmer Castle and Gardens Learning Centre in Kent – Building Information

RIBA region: South East
Architect practice: Adam Richards Architects
Date of completion: August 2019
Client company name: English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund
Project city/town: Kent, England
Contract value: £935,000.00
Internal area: 200.00 m²
Cost per m²: £4,675.00 / m²
Contractor company name: Walker Construction Ltd

Walmer Castle and Gardens Learning Centre
photo © Brotherton Lock

Consultants:

Structural Engineers: Historic England
Services Engineer: Martin Thomas Associates
Landscape Design: LUC
Play Equipment: Studio Hardle
Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant: Press and Starkey

Walmer Castle and Gardens Learning Centre
photo © Brotherton Lock

Awards:

• RIBA Regional Award
• RIBA National Award
• Stephen Lawrence Prize 2021 Shortlist

Stephen Lawrence Prize 2021 Shortlist

Walmer Castle and Gardens Learning Centre, Kent, images / information received from RIBA 140921

Location: Kent, south east England, UK

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