Warwick Hall Community Centre, Burford

A new development in Burford, Oxfordshire – Warwick Hall Community Centre was a 2017 Civic Voice Design Awards winner, winning both the New Buildings category and a Special Conservation Area Award. This case study examines the project in more detail, demonstrating that that high-quality development can be achieved within a conservation area.

Why we gave it an award?

The £3.7m project was the culmination of five years of planning, fundraising and building. It saw a super-modern extension, designed by Acanthus Clews Architects, to an existing historic but tiny hall in the centre of a conservation area.
The challenge for this project was to create a modern, flexible community space that would become the hub of daily life, on a complex site, within Burford Conservation Area and adjacent to a series of listed church buildings. The judges praised Warwick Hall as ‘an inspiring example of designing sensitively within a Conservation Area’. Bold, but sympathetic to its surroundings, the judges considered the final design seamlessly integrated old and new, creating a building with a beautiful composition and sense of space and applauded the Burford community for its partnership approach to the project.

How is it enhancing the Conservation Area?
The architects painstakingly ensured the work was in keeping with both the existing hall and the Grade One listed St John the Baptist Church. The design ethos of the project was to reaffirm the significance of the original listed building by removing later inappropriate extensions and alterations to Warwick Hall and then to rebuild, creating a state of the art community facility, but in a manner, that respected its unique historic setting. To minimise the impact of the new build, the massing of the development was split into a cluster of smaller structures to create a degree of separation from the original Warwick Hall. High quality materials were used in the final design, combining traditional materials with contemporary structural glazing and zinc cladding.

Who was involved in the scheme?
The Church and the Town combined to bring the project about.

What has been the benefit to the community?

It is a beautiful and inspirational as the surrounding Cotswold landscape. A wonderful example of what contemporary architecture can achieve within a highly sensitive historic location.