September 14, 2017

Warwick Hall named AJ Retrofit of the Year 2017!

Written by Rebecca Clayton

Acanthus Clews Warwick Hall36
The extension and refurbishment of Warwick Hall Community Centre has been awarded the Architects Journal Retrofit of the Year 2017 as well as the Listed Building of the Year under £5 million. The project was designed by Acanthus Clews Architects with all glazing and structural glass design by IQ Glass.

Set within the idyllic Cotswolds village of Burford the new community centre has been expertly nestled between the Grade I Listed church and Grade II* Listed alms houses. As such the project was extremely sensitive, requiring an expert level of skill and attention to detail from all involved.

IQ Glass were involved in the project to design and engineer all the glazing elements involved with turning this narrow and sensitive plot into a bright and engaging community space.

RIBA Award Wining Warwick Hall Community Centre extension RIBA Award Wining Warwick Hall Community Centre extension

The connection to the listed church building was of particular importance. As part of the renovation project the architects changed the entrance to the church from the street side, instead guiding visitors through the church graveyard. This new entrance leads visitors into a new entrance hall. Here frameless glass windows, a bespoke circular rooflight and a structural glass roof create the feeling of openness with light spilling in from above.

The Glass Link at Warwick Hall Community Centre The Glass Link at Warwick Hall Community Centre

The frameless structural glass link was used to create the connection between the new community centre and the listed church as well as lighting the new stairwell from the entrance lobby. Structural glass beams and fins were used to the support the large glass structure and maintain the clear glass installation required of such a sensitive space.

This ‘slot’ of glass allows you to clearly differentiate between the new elements of this project and the protected 12th Century church.

The judges noted that “the sense is of light-filled and easy-flowing spaces to either side: left past the reception to the café and fine new community hall, or right to the original hall, past a neatly inserted new glazed core of vertical circulation and service spaces”.

As you continue into the new community centre this feeling of openness and light doesn’t dissipate, despite the narrow plot on which it sits.

High vaulted ceilings mixed with large elements of glass make the space feel light and expansive. The open plan nature of the hall will allow it to be adapted for use in various community events in the many years to come.

Here our minimal windows sliding glass doors connect the community hall to the countryside location with slim framing and large glass panes. When the weather allows it these sliding doors can be opened, extending the useable community space to the gardens.

warwick hall community centre minimal windows and frameless high level glazing bring light into the community centre

As well as the detailed glass design performance was a key factor in the specification of the architectural glazing to Warwick Hall. The judges noted “Minimising running costs is key to the sustainability of a building like this, and the environmental credentials here are impressive”.

The Warwick Hall Community Centre extension The Warwick Hall Community Centre extension

Well-engineered framing solutions, like minimal windows, are perfect for these performance driven projects with high levels of air tightness as well as exceptional thermal performance criteria.

Overall the Jury comment “This is a beautifully judged scheme – the contemporary complementing the existing perfectly and the latter not over-restored. The project is exemplary not just in its larger composition but in the real care and attention to detail. This is true retrofit.”

Congratulations to Acanthus Clews for yet another award for their project as well as all the other architects who won awards at the ceremony last night.


Warwick Hall has already been commended by various architecture and building awards this year including:

  • AJ Architecture Awards 2017 shortlisted Heritage Project of the Year and Community & Faith Project of the Year

  • RIBA National Award 2017

  • RIBA South Awards 2017

  • RICS Highly Commended 2017

  • RICS Awards 2017 Shortlisted


Type of project Community

Location Burford, Oxfordshire

Client St John the Baptist Church, Burford

Main contractor Edgar Taylor

Services engineer Environmental Engineering Partnership

Architectural Glazing Design IQ Glass UK

Completion September 2016

Project cost £3.2 million