Eco architect satisfies Royal critic
Ecotecture’s sustainable design has received Royal recognition when creative Director Joanna Saady met Prince Charles when he opened one of our recently completed projects.
HRH the Prince of Wales officially opened the latest phase of Britain’s organic pioneers where its founder, Lawrence Woodwood OBE, personally gave the Prince advice to turn his beliefs about sustainable farming into a reality.
The Organic Research Centre at Elm Farm (ORC), near Newbury in Berkshire, is the UK ‘s leading organisation for the research, development and advisory work in organic farming so it was fitting that on its 30th anniversary last week the Prince opened the latest phase of the redevelopment of the institution in the village of Hamstead Marshall.
Ecotecure led the way with regards the sustainable conversion and restoration of their farm building to create leading-edge conference and office facilities. These are central to the continuing success of the centre – lifting and inspiring those who work there as well as the thousands of visitors from around the globe.
The 17th Century barn and other farm buildings have been sustainably converted into office and work space for the body under a £900,000 project, using reclaimed materials and sustainable products such as wool for insulation. The work was masterminded by Ecotecture, leading ecological architects.
“Elm Farm Research Centre is a pioneering organic Farm”, explains Ecotecture’s Jo Saady who met the Prince at the Royal event. “Ecotecture was approached ten years ago with a view to converting the existing Grade II listed barn and outbuildings into an office/conference centre in an environmentally sustainable manner.”
Ecotecture had to pay special care and attention to the ecology of the site, including several species of bats which had to be allowed to retain their home in situ.
“The development is ‘carbon neutral’ and the scheme features several alternative means of reducing our impact on the Earth. These include a ground-source heat pump, solar hot water panels, using recycled and reclaimed building products, and exceedingly high levels of insulation in natural fabrics. The build process included very careful consideration of minimising waste in construction and transport sharing.
Jo had to leave her Sussex home at five each morning to reach the Newbury site in time for eight o’clock site meeting. “It’s really where the practise started”, she explains. “This was an important and innovative project and one I couldn’t manage on my own, so Jake and I went into partnership and Ecotecture ltd was born as we masterminded the scheme between us.”