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RICS Award winners 2024

— 27 Jun 2024


Agricultural building in the beautiful Dartmoor landscape


Roof repair and pointing to deeply eroded joints


Repairs included lime pointing and flitch plate truss leg repairs


Limework protections, management plans in progress and mortar samples


Agricultural building prior to repair with raised roof profile of loft door


After repair


Timber floor repair to enable use of agricultural building


17th Century Shippon and 18th Century Stable after repair

Devon Somerset architects repair awards 9

Jonathan Rhind Architects are celebrating winning the Heritage Project category of the RICS South West Awards 2024. The winning project was the simultaneous repair of 15 historic rural agricultural buildings in Dartmoor National Park in a limited timescale, with limited funding and under strict conservation criteria during the Covid period.

The pilot project was a collaboration between national cultural and heritage bodies (Historic England), government departments (DEFRA), five national parks, farm owners, conservation architects, specialist consultants and conservation contractors.

The project identified vulnerable historic agricultural buildings which are rooted in the cultural identity of each national park, and were in danger of being lost to decay and unsympathetic repair.

Historic agricultural buildings in Dartmoor National Park are a culturally important part of the landscape. They are distinctive to the locality, having developed over time from the transhumance pastoralism of the distant past to the ‘modern’ farming practices of the Victorian era, and are fundamental to the character of the park. The range of historic buildings in the park was reflected by those in the project from small vernacular linhays to grand Victorian model farm buildings.

Funding was provided for masterplans and specialist conservation repair work to rescue them for continued use in an agricultural context. Funding was finite so we had to concentrate on the essential elements to secure the survival of the building. Deciding what was enough involved careful review of the buildings - assessing extent and approach. How to repair effectively without compromising the character of the buildings.

The works focused on weatherproofing, roof and structural works, and used traditional methods and materials. Bat roosting requirements had to be accommodated; as well as mitigating the risk of lime masonry work over winter in the hard upland climate; and work taking place within the restrictions and supply shortages brought about by the global covid pandemic.

The scheme was a rare source of funding to carry out repairs only where ordinarily no funds are available and there is commercial pressure to convert or demolish such buildings for alternative use. A key factor leading to the successful outcome of the project was the effective collaboration between the parties involved - the government funding body (DEFRA), the national cultural and heritage organisations (Historic England), the National Parks, the architects, consultants, contractors and farm owners, with the combined aim of rescuing these vulnerable iconic buildings and maintaining them in agricultural use.

As a result, they remain part of the distinctive Dartmoor National Park landscape. We are delighted that the hard work of all of the people involved in the project has been recognised in these RICS South West Awards. Congratulations everyone!


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