The brief is to create a new farm shop, tea room / cafe which will address the sensitivities of the site and proximity of the Grade I Listed Ote Hall in East Sussex.
A strong sense of the site’s history and character are key components to the brief, as is creating a story between the landscape, food and its journey to the plate. Architecturally the building forms a strong link with the existing Ote Hall Farm and extends the farmyard and the cluster of rural buildings, forming a strong relationship with the existing landscape. The specific nature of the proposed built form has a strong sense of rich agricultural tradition and closeness with the landscape.
The applicant and her family have an incredibly strong connection with the estate and see this building as in investment for the future preservation of the estate and the character of the surrounding landscape.
The building has a sense of being respectful of views towards Ote Hall and therefore hunkers down into the landscape, with a recessive and sympathetic massing, hipped roofs to create a recessive and subtle appearance, this allows the building to be respectful to its landscape more than just visually.
The building is to have a good relationship with its tranquil setting and consider orientation, sun path / shading from mature trees and optimize views in the direction of open countryside through existing gaps in the vegetation. Creating a low-lying building at the lowest point of the site, connecting to the existing farm yard and immediately adjacent buildings, reducing the need for new-build volume, providing links with the existing footpath network and finally, creating an opportunity for the community to learn more about the landscape, farming and rearing of animals and the history of the Ote Hall estate.
The use of an exposed structure at is redolent of the shelter sheds, which relates strongly to the use of the surrounding landscape and the Sussex pedigree cattle herd which are reared on the farm.
The basic volumes are primarily positioned in the lowest part of the site whilst a relationship develops due to adjacencies with the existing farm. The connecting pitched roofs are designed to minimise the visual impact of the buildings whilst they adopt a rural form with a physical link to the shelter sheds of the area. Visibility from the road will be subtle and non-intrusive. Whilst on closer inspection, the building will very much respond to the landscape through treatment of the elevations and a tactile timber frame to create a strong link to the vernacular barns of the region.
The building is a simple form, which will work with a natural ventilation strategy which reflects orientation, context, use and adjacent materiality. The building will sit quietly in the landscape using soft, natural and weathered materials to sit comfortably adjacent to existing buildings and the surrounding trees.
The building will not only serve as a place for local producers to retail their goods, but also a place for the community, hikers and other interest groups to interact better with the landscape. The building creates a sensitive dialogue architecturally but also physically , as reinforced links are created by the uses offered in the building, allowing walkers and the local community to learn about the history of the estate, landscape and the history of farming in this landscape.
The building has distinct ‘facades’ which reflect orientation in relation to sun path as well as views, landscape, privacy and activity. The building form connects well with its landscape, sitting gently in the slope, as characterised by the adjacent barns, which have acted as inspiration for the proposals.
Client. Ote Hall
Location. East Sussex
Size. 10,000sqft / 930sqm sq.ft