2013-06-04   facebook twitter rss
RIDBA's FAB Award Winners Announced

Five specialists in agricultural building design and erection have been recognised in the Farm and Agricultural Buildings (FAB) awards run by RIDBA.

An organic farm shop has won its designers top prize at the inaugural Farm and Agricultural Building (FAB) awards launched by the Rural and Industrial Design and Building Association (RIDBA).

Ian McKay

Pictured from left: Roger Stewart of Roger Stewart Associates , Clive Ricketts of WH Ricketts, Sam Holden of Stephen Taylor Architects, Jim Rogerson of Farmplus Construction, Kate Humble, Darren Ricketts of WH Ricketts, RIDBA secretary Tony Hutchinson, and David Longstaff and Geoff Simpson of Simpson & Allinson.

Cross Lanes organic farm in Barnard Castle, which was designed and built by the town's specialist contractors Simpson & Allinson was the overall winner, and the winner in the design and aesthetics category, at a national ceremony in Bath.

Co-founder Geoff Simpson, immediate past chairman of RIDBA, accepted his prize - a mounted podger (a specialist spanner for erecting steelwork) from TV presenter Kate Humble.

An eco-friendly exemplar, the farm shop features a green roof which sheep graze on, solar panels producing hot water, straw bale insulation which is partially glazed to display the thinking behind the building's construction, rainwater harvesting using the former slurry pit, reclaimed local sandstone, air source heat pumps, recycled plastic toilet doors and vanity units, and reed bed sewage treatment.

The judges thought it "a great example of how to integrate old and new styles, systems and materials into a modern, stylish and practical building that had a superb appearance and design and was wholly functional for its intended use as well as being a bit of an attraction in itself, especially when the sheep graze on the roof."

The winner of the sustainability category, and the third winner overall, was RIDBA corporate member WH Ricketts of Fyynnon Gynydd, Powys, for the Old Railway Line Garden Centre farm shop and restaurant in Brecon.

The judges thought the green credentials and sustainability of this building were "outstanding", with natural light, rainwater harvesting, solar panels, heat exchange units and higher levels of insulation.

Winner of the functionality category was Roger Stewart Associates of Edge, Gloucestershire, for Stowells Farms' 500-cow dairy complex and anaerobic digestion plant capable of producing enough electricity from manure and waste crops for 1,000 homes, in Wilcot, Wiltshire.

The judges thought this a "hugely functional building whose rotary milking parlour and supporting features had been designed with animal welfare and the local environment in mind, the anaerobic digestion plant adding to its sustainability."

Second placed overall was Farmplus Construction of Longridge, Lancashire, for The Countryside Restoration Trust's dairy unit at Pierrepont Home Farm in Frensham, Surrey.

The judges thought this "a very nice building that made substantial use of timber for sustainability and wide passages for animal welfare. The idea to disguise the feed bin as a clock tower was excellent."

Winner of the non-RIDBA category was Stephen Taylor Architects of London for Hadspen Estates Shop's cow shed at Shatwell Farm, Yarlington, Somerset, which features a covered feed line disguised as a stone colonnade.

The judges thought the architecture was "very unusual for an agricultural building but the blending of old and new styles was aesthetically very pleasing while remaining a very practical building. The stone colonnade made it a more interesting cow shed."

The FAB awards attracted dozens of entries for buildings including a roundhouse cow shed, micro-brewery and equestrian centre cum sporting venue for two-legged customers. and a shortlist of nine for a total of seven awards was drawn up.

The competition was launched in RIDBA's 56th anniversary of its formation as the Farm Buildings Association to recognise excellence in farm buildings and to reward contractors and clients.

The judges were sponsors Marley Eternit, Wedge Galvanising, Kingspan Insulated Panels, Brett Martin Daylight Systems and Steadman's, as well as the Institute of Agricultural Engineers' president Andy Newbold.

The awards dinner was preceded by a conference on the future of farm building design organised by RIDBA's Wessex branch, at Bath Guildhall, where a group of notable speakers debated issues including animal welfare, environmental standards, planning matters and protecting the landscape.

Awards organiser and RIDBA secretary Tony Hutchinson said: "We thought such an award competition was long overdue but were bowled over by the support it received and the entries it attracted. We will now look at making it an annual event."


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