Wood Yard Café

National Trust Charlecote Park, Warwick

IPTA and Ecospace have completed an innovative café building for the National Trust using off-site fabrication for the main structure.

Charlecote Park is a grand 16th century country house surrounded by its own deer park, on the banks of the River Avon about five miles south of Warwick. The Estate is in the care of the National Trust who required an additional cafe due to significant growth in visitors to the Park.

The Wood Yard cafe is a contemporary intervention into the continual evolution of Charlecote Park over the centuries. The design aims to balance with the mansion and estate as a whole and extend visitors’ engagement with the beauty and variety Charlecote has to offer.

The simplicity of the modern design avoids pastiche and aims to create an interesting juxtaposition without detracting from the richness of the surrounding historic architecture. The building uses sustainable and lightweight modular construction for the main timber skeleton.

The principle yard facing elevation comprises of a series of columns that echo the rhythm of the adjacent arched openings with fenestration between that wraps around addressing a secondary access to the wood yard. The columns and soffits surrounding the windows splay outwards, again as a modern reinterpretation of the existing window surrounds which simultaneously reduces any bulk from this elevation. The full height glazing allows the inside to flow out to the yard.

In general, the use of timber acknowledges the character of the Wood Yard setting and the material tones are considered to be in harmony with its context. The modular system build was supplied by IPTA’s  sister company, Ecospace, and uses a steel portal frame with prefabricated timber infill panels allowing the building to have a ‘light’ impact to the site to reduce site disturbance and build time. The off-site fabrication in factory-controlled conditions also ensures superior airtightness.

Upon completion of ground works the main structure was erected in a matter of days by Ecospace and was completed April 2019.