DHBT Architecture Awards 2023
Winner: 37a St John Street, Wirksworth
Architect: Babenko Associates
Client: Angharad McLaren & Geoff Litherland
37a St John Street is a grade 2 listed building adjacent to the memorial gardens in Wirksworth.
It incorporates a front stone building from 1719, half of which has been a commercial property for some time and is now a cobblers, and an adjoining brick fronted building. Historically, this was a large workshop, before being converted into a row of three terrace cottages. Two of the cottages were, up until recently, workshops; the gable end of these was falling down, and the whole footprint of the property was in a bad state of repair.
The project team restored the dilapidated house and converted adjoining workshops to create a functional environmentally friendly contemporary home. Natural materials were used - hempcrete, sheeps wool, and wood wool boards to insulate the property - and lime plaster used throughout.
Birchover stone was used to repair failing walls. There is a ground source heat pump that powers the heating and hot water, and the clients are in the process of installing solar panels. A holistic 'whole building' approach has been taken to create a light comfortable family home which includes two studio spaces, a painting studio in the attic and a weave room in the downstairs snug.
The property also has a large garden for such a central location. The owners have a large kitchen garden area and want to promote wildlife and biodiversity within the rest of the garden.
Judges were impressed with the thoughtful and careful restoration approach.