Tina Gough, Partner, Spence and Dower
Spence & Dower Featured Project
This C14th building is the best-known and best-preserved of the vicars’ peles of Northumberland, standing on the side of the Churchyard of St. Andrew’s Church. This historically important building with 1.4m thick walls, is both Grade I Listed and a Scheduled Monument. It was constructed mainly from Roman ashlar stone blocks, robbed from Hadrian’s Wall.
It is a small building but a good example of our work in combining modern design in association with highly significant historic buildings – and bringing them back into use.
Our client purchased the building with a view to opening the building to the public, and in particular for use as a wedding venue. We have inserted a new steel and structural glass second floor viewing platform, which enables the roof construction to be clearly seen and provides views from windows at this level – enjoyed for the first time in over 300 years. The notable ‘Vicar’s bookrest’ can also now be seen from close quarters.
If the architectural press is full of the clamour of competing and ‘self-conscious innovation’ – we are not there. All design is by its nature exploratory and must search for a balance between enabling a building to work and ordering its form to please. Our aim is that good quality design should shine through the patient satisfaction of this balance and give delight to owners, other users and those who pass by. All our projects relate to the specific sites and environments to which they belong.
As Chartered Architects and Historic Building Consultants our interests are broad ranging but we consider ourselves specialists in a full range of historic building work, contemporary design, particularly within sensitive locations, masterplanning and community based building projects.