Set in a remote area of ancient woodland in East Sussex, this three-storey structure required clever engineering to place it comfortably within its unique setting and comply with stringent planning restrictions. Many structural elements were to be exposed and self-finished, and the complex deflected form required detailed modelling and clear communication with the contractor. Strict planning restrictions on overall building height demanded structural floor depths of less than 300mm, so to achieve the required 15m spans, a two-storey steel Vierendeel truss was conceived, with the beams hidden within the floor zones. This structural system supported cantilevering roof members with hangers attached at their ends to suspend the veranda as if floating in air.
This is a well-engineered solution to deliver an elegant building design for a sensitive setting with significant site constraints. The judges liked the slender clear spans made possible by the Vierendeel structural system, and the simple clean detailing and rational use of materials in response to the architect's vision.