Twyford Barn

Duchy of Cornwall

Sustainable Building of the Year

Twyford Barn is an interpretation of Architype, amalgamating our design successes into two adjacent farm buildings, and demonstrating our progressive understanding of delivering sustainability.

The multi–award winning Twyford Barn is evidence of our passion for sustainability; in essence we practice what we preach!

On Site / Nov. ‘04
Completion / May ‘06
Gross Internal Floor Area
220 sqm
Construction Type
Timber Frame added to existing stonework
Total / £446,000

The Barn at Upper Twyford has won the 2007 RIBA English Partnerships Sustainability Award because it represents more than just an intelligent response to low energy design.

Kevin McGeough, English Partnerships


Local Chestnut timber harvested from nearby forested hill.


The cladding is composed of untreated Douglas Fir and the original stone, reclaimed and revived.

When we expanded beyond the capacity of our old office in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, we were determined that our new office, relocated to Hereford, would be a model of sustainable workplace practice and contemporary design. We required a property that could accommodate an expanding office and that was capable of reaching the firm’s extremely high environmental objectives.

After a hunt lasting several years, the Hereford office moved into a barn and outbuilding at Upper Twyford in 2006; previously derelict but completely restored and redeveloped by us.

Sustainable Building of the Year Award,

Regional West Midlands Award,

English Partnerships Sustainability Award

RIBA 2007

Architype have demonstrated how new types of employment can be developed in a sensitive landscape area in a way which contributes positively to both the economy and ecology.

Kevin McGeough, English Partnerships

Cut into the hillside and surrounded by rolling, wooded countryside, the buildings are just visible from the road. They sit comfortably within the surrounding landscape despite the contemporary conversion.

The two buildings are located on an estate owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. At the time, Twyford Barn was one of several projects under way as part of the Duchy’s rural regeneration programme for their estates, with the primary aim of providing workplace opportunities in the countryside.

A deal was negotiated for Architype to renovate the Barn and The Cowshed on behalf of the Duchy, with themselves as the in-coming tenant. We were employed as the architects giving us the opportunity to design our own office.

We started with an appreciation of the history of the area, the qualities of the landscape and the sites’ strong sense of place. We added to this our own objectives to create a workplace that was an exemplar of sustainable contemporary design, and an inspirational work place. It is now a well-loved studio beautifully daylit, with exceptional views across fields and woodlands, naturally ventilated, heated by biomass, and with ample space for working, meeting and socialising.

The building is designed to a high ecological specification, using 100% locally sourced timber, natural organic finishes, and recycled newspaper insulation. Particular attention was given to minimising water consumption. Food for office lunches is being grown on the land around the building, and an apple and pear orchard partly surround the building.

  • Orientation and the use of daylight and sunlight for light and solar gain.
  • Use of 'breathing' timber construction.
  • Use of thermal mass.
  • Use of high insulation levels.
  • Minimise cold bridging.
  • High performance windows and doors.
  • A range of options for natural ventilation.
  • Zero energy passive night time cooling.
  • Biomass boiler for heating and hot water.
  • Re-use of original building materials.
  • Use of UK sourced timber.
  • Adoption of state of the art water efficiency measures and airflush toilet system.
  • Natural paints and stains.
  • Innovative low energy purpose made light fittings.
  • Landscaping to extend local biodiversity.

Twyford Barn has been operating for 7 years demonstrating that:

  • Building design and performance can significantly contribute to achieving and maintaining energy savings.
  • An holistic approach to sustainable business operation is fun, successful and replicable.

Architype Team

Project Partners

Structural Engineer
Roger Gell
Mike Whitfield Construction Ltd.
Water & Energy Consultant
Elemental Solutions


  • RIBA 2007 Sustainable Building of the Year
  • RIBA 2007 Regional West Midlands
  • RIBA 2007 English Partnerships Sustainability
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