Grange Farm sits to the north-west of Henley-on-Thames, within the Chilterns Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty (AONB) and next to Lambridge Wood, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Three prominent barns in a courtyard setting, plus further light industrial buildings, cover an area of 31,900 sq ft.
Our brief was to develop the farm into a mixed-use rural site, with three separate buildings. We helped guide the client through a complex long-term planning process that encouraged the growth of local businesses into rural underused sites.
The class E building, the largest of the three, has been designed as a flexible office or lab-enabled space that can be used as one or split into a minimum of five demised units. Wrap-over glazing to the roof provides an abundance of natural light inside and timber cladding to projecting soffits softens the metal and glass façades.
The new small animal hospital is more unusual and resembles the cattle barns and sheds that stand on the existing site. We worked closely with the tenant-to-be, a veterinary practice, to agree an internal layout for the multi-gabled building. Opposing wings provide separation for the different animals attending the practice and the hospital has many new features, including theatres, dentistry, x-ray and lab spaces, making it one of the top veterinary services in the country. Lightweight cantilevering terraces project from the staff and office spaces on the first floor, where there are also nurse and staff flats to enable 24 hour medical care.
The new equine facility is more utilitarian in function and materiality, helping to shield the rest of the development and landscaped courtyard from the open countryside. It resembles a traditional dark timber-clad barn, with opposing natural timber reveals and projecting gable soffits making entrances and window openings lighter.
The three buildings have been orientated to create a new central courtyard which will be landscaped to link them and establish a sense of community. Parking, plant and stores, including 25 cycle spaces and a number of EV charging points line the perimeter of the site. The landscaping will include various ecological enhancements including bat and bird boxes, log piles and native hedging/planting.
The buildings are as energy efficient as feasibly possible, with a 40% reduction in carbon emissions above current building regulations. They will each achieve a BREEAM Very Good rating, the highest possible in a rural location. The flexible class E building also has photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof and ASHPs with heat recovery for its sole source of heating and water. Mechanical ventilation helps the buildings to be airtight beyond current regulations and there are no fossil fuels (gases or oils) onsite. Drainage water is treated and disposed of onsite rather than linked to the mains network, including a treatment plant and underground pipe network for foul drainage. Surface water follows the natural gradient of the site and is discharged into a swale and attenuation pond which will create new biodiversity.