Britten-Pears Archive

Structural Designer

Barton Engineers

Client Name

Britten-Pears Foundation


Aldeburgh, United Kingdom

Images: © Hufton+Crow / Barton Engineers


Commissioned by the Britten–Pears Foundation, this new archive building houses the extensive collection of music manuscripts, letters, photographs and recordings of the composer Benjamin Britten and tenor Peter Pears. A massive structure was created to facilitate passive environmental control of the archive area. Externally it uses load bearing brickwork with lime mortar, thus eliminating control joints despite a length of 35m. Internally the structure is fair faced concrete. There is great attention to detail in the integrated architectural, environmental and structural design.

Judge's comment:

The judges were impressed by the simplicity and consistency of this very elegant building and by the way in which the structural design had been integrated with the building’s architecture and environmental strategy. There had clearly been great attention to detail throughout the design process. The judges particularly commended the use of passive environmental control from the structure, to meet the requirements of BS5454 in a sustainable manner, without air conditioning.

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