RICHARD BASSETT VISITS 2013 STIRLING PRIZE WINNER
As the announcement of the Stirling Prize 2014 is nearly upon us Richard Bassett, architect at LSI, shares his thoughts on his visit to the winner of the 2013 Stirling Prize, Astley Castle.
Astley Castle, in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, is a two storey residence that sits within the medieval castle ruins.
The castle has been in occupation since the Saxon period and is steeped in history, with its previous residents including Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey.
In 1978 the building was gutted by fire, and by 2007 English Heritage had listed it as one of the sixteen most endangered sites in Britain.
Groundbreaking modern accommodation, designed by architects Witherford Watson Mann, has now been intelligently inserted within the ruins of the castle. Large glass walls frame views of beautiful medieval stonework and the adjacent church and surrounding countryside. Living in the open plan first floor, the views through the ruined walls to the landscape beyond are stunning, and retreating to the ground floor bedrooms is a cosy contrast.
The modern architecture within the atmosphere of an ancient place is breathtaking and tactile. It was a privilege to stay in such a beautifully crafted and detailed building. Well worthy of its ‘Stirling prize’ accolade.
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