Severn Gorge Countryside Trust

Situated on a sloping woodland site in Coalbrookdale, this new headquarters building was shaped from beginning to end by the client’s commitment to sustainability.

The building itself is single-storey and relatively simple in layout with a combination of office space, meeting rooms and tool storage for the woodland management work that the trust undertakes.

A large proportion of the materials were locally sourced, including the larch poles for internal and external columns, which were harvested during the clearing of the site.  The roof is clad in cedar shingles sourced in the UK and the walls clad in larch boards.  The walls and roof are highly insulated with a combination of sheepswool insulation internally and breathable wood fibre boards externally.

Each detail has been considered to make the building as airtight as possible to minimise heat loss, whilst at the same time ensuring that it is breathable to allow water vapour to escape naturally by diffusion through the structure.

The building is heated by means of two woodburning stoves fuelled by timber from local woodland managed by the Trust.  A simple ventilation and heat recovery system has also been installed.

Complex slope stability issues had to be addressed in the early stages of the project as the building had to be cut into the sloping site.