Otter Valley Field Kitchen

Blackdown Hills, Devon: Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Architects: Levitate Architects, London
Engineers: Simon Bastone Associates, Exeter
Highlights: Building in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, A mix of traditionally styled Arch Braced Trusses and contemporary trusses with stainless steel rods.

Otter Valley Dairy ice cream shop was due for a huge expansion. They had outgrown the hut on the side of the A30 that sold ice creams made from the milk at their farm. Levitate Architects were called in to secure planning permission for the much needed larger and more permanent outlet. Hat’s off to Levitate for their pitch perfect planning application for a barn style commercial building with shop, cafe and car park right in the middle of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The site is even overlooked by an ancient hill fort.

We worked in collaboration with an architectural technologist who produced the building regulation drawings and we designed a green oak frame for the Field Kitchen which was based on two rectangular frames sitting side by side. One with a very traditional styled Arch Brace Trusses and the other with a contemporary style incorporating stainless steel rods within the trusses. The marrying of two styles meant that the contemporary barn exterior, which was cladded with vertical Cedar weatherboard, gave way to a heritage style interior for the cafe.

We worked closely with engineers Simon Bastone Associates who had a particular interest in using research data from the University of Bath to rigorously test the timber structure. Of course we passed with flying colours.

Photographer: Westwind Oak

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