This 6.5 acre site in Hampshire, contained one of the few remaining large historic timber framed barns in the New Forest.
Western Design worked closely with English Heritage (now Historic England), surveying and recording every one of the 650 timbers that made up the barn, each of which had its own page in a report showing how it was to be removed, replaced, repaired or treated during the restoration.
A new auditorium and all the facilities of a small theatre were inserted into the barn in a way which was non-destructive to the existing fabric so that in theory, all the new additions could be removed leaving the original building intact. Originally the auditorium was used by Totton college for its media, theatre and music courses.
Particular challenges involved making the building soundproof so that noise from performances could not effect neighbouring residential properties.
A historic timber framed cow shed on the site was too close to the barn but was needed as a music rehearsal space. A steel frame was constructed around the cow shed and it was lifted in one piece and moved to a new location on the site.
The original, derelict, late 18th Century, timber framed, weather boarded, listed barns, were sensitively converted into a wonderful community facility. Each of the 650 timbers were carefully surveyed and recorded.
The project has proved to be a huge success with numerous live music and drama productions, stand-up comedy etc. taking place in the multi-purpose auditorium building. The Art Gallery and cafe accommodates local and touring exhibitions.
This is a great and well used community asset.
Photography James Pardon
Size 615 sqm
Completion Date 2005
Aerial footage of the Arts Barn and adjoining site.
It was such a privilege for us to have the opportunity to breathe new life into this derelict historic building that now gives pleasure to so many people.”