The Rothschild Foundation recently moved into a beautiful new facility set within a renovated dairy farm at Windmill Hill in Aylesbury, UK. The renovated facilities will house the philanthropic organization's archives while serving as a center for research and outreach in the fields of the arts, heritage, culture, conservation, the environment and horticulture. The project re-used buildings wherever possible and constructed new ones that reference the site's agricultural past. Designed by Stephen Marshall Architects, Windmill Hill is a shining example of green building that preserve the heritage of the area it sits upon.
Windmill Hill features a series of buildings and courtyards that make strong references to the site’s agricultural past. The facility houses a Reading Room, archives storage, meeting rooms, and offices for archive staff. Materials were chosen with deference to the site’s past life as a dairy farm – they include oak windows and shutters, rendered walls, wood cladding and zinc roofs. Vertical louvers provide a strong visual element while shielding the reading room from excess direct light.
Heating for the facility is provided for via ground source heat pumps, while the archive itself is kept naturally cool with extra thick walls. The 1.5-meter-thick walls create a stable temperature and environment, which is necessary for archival storage, and a greywater system recycles the facility’s water. The new facility will not only store important historical papers, but will also serve as the home of The Rothschild Foundation and its wider philanthropic work. The Foundation’s new home will host debates and roundtable discussions addressing some of today’s key issues – such as the environment, horticulture, green technology, business and social entrepreneurship, and protecting Britain’s heritage.
Images © Richard Bryant Photography/ Arcaid Images