Waddesdon Manor project wins design award

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FOR many years Waddesdon Manor has been the jewel in Bucks’ crown – now its newest addition has been awarded a prestigious design award.

Windmill Hill won the coveted title of ‘exceptional architectural masterpiece’ at the Aylesbury Vale District Council’s design awards, which celebrate the very best of architecture.

The project was completed in April and is the new home for the Rothschild Foundation Archive, a charity that funds Jewish heritage initiatives in more than 40 European countries.

Designers Stephen Marshall Architects say that their intention was very much to create a contemplative space with its own garden.

Completed mainly in oak, the simple design features a reading room as well as archivists’ offices.

Windmill Hill follows the footprint of the farm buildings that previously occupied the site.

A spokesman for Waddesdon Manor said: “We are delighted that Windmill Hill has been awarded an AVDC design award.

“This has been an incredibly rare and exciting opportunity to create, from scratch, a contemporary archive which will not only preserve the collections in the best conditions, but provide access to them in a setting which has been assembled with the same eye for beauty, comfort and landscape as Baron Ferdinand brought to the creation of Waddesdon Manor itself.”

Organised annually by Aylesbury Vale District Council, the awards have been competed for by buildings of all shapes and sizes across the region since 1993.

Also honoured as ‘highly commendable’ was a turf-roofed visitors and interpretation centre at College Lake wildlife reserve, designed by A&G Architects, and Egerton House, a grass-roofed underground open-plan office building in Chilton designed by Ian Slater.

Cabinet member for planned development Sue Polhill, who was on the judging panel, said: “This competition always provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate the architectural ideas and innovations taking place across our district.

“These buildings and projects are a credit to Aylesbury Vale and will help us develop our current and future heritage.”

Joining Councillor Polhill on the panel were: John Rowland of the design council; Carole Paternoster, council member responsible for design; Barry Smith, director of Essex Design Initiative and Norman Bragg, chief of Renton Howard Wood Levin architects.

Also presented with plaques for outstanding design were the Silverstone Wing in Silverstone and Pond Cottage in Great Horwood.

Among other entrants commended were Limes Court in Winslow, and The Old Post Office in Cublington.