Lucas+Western Architects is a design led practice that builds on the reputation of its predecessor, Lucas Hickman Smith, for high quality, sustainable design. Formed in 2004 when Terry Hickman Smith and Paul Lucas merged their already well established practices, Lucas Hickman Smith provided a friendly and flexible range of architectural services which were readily adapted to suit client needs. Lucas+Western Architects continues this approach and the team, most of whom have made the transition from Lucas Hickman Smith, can draw on significant experience across a wide range of building types. As a Wymondham based practice we are conveniently placed to undertake projects both locally and throughout the eastern region.
We offer a high-quality architectural service based on combining the best of traditional and modern architecture, to provide our clients with buildings that are tailor-made for their needs. We always aim to bring imagination to a project in order to lift it out of the ordinary. We believe that the building process is a team effort and that the best results can be obtained by working closely together in new and innovative ways. This requires flexibility and an ability to look beyond preconceived ideas of the role of the architect. As a smaller practice, Lucas+Western Architects can offer all the benefits of a highly personal service structured to suit individual client’s requirements.
The project demonstrates how environmental, social and economic sustainability can be applied to the re-use of an historic building at risk, to create a well-loved community asset with a secure long-term future. Amongst other things, the complex contains a large community hall, meeting rooms, an IT suite and an internet café.
Well-researched restoration of the historic fabric has been comprehensive, involving a range of traditional skills – stone-work, leaded glazing, lime-pointing/render. The addition of high levels of insulation has increased the buildings sustainability without compromising the historic fabric. A laminated oak frame and oak cladding were used for the new extension, with extensive glazing sheltered by an over-sailing clay tiled roof. Finishes throughout are environmentally friendly and low-maintenance for reduced running costs – oak and linoleum floors, oak panelling, stainless steel and glass, micro porous high-build stain and powder coating to aluminium windows.
The project included proposals for two properties in a retail high street context. Refurbishment and alterations to the street front element, a former Building Society, to create one shop plus a separate lettable flat at first floor level.
The Folly, an annex sitting behind the main building, was formerly used by a neighbouring hardware store and the brief was to convert it for residential use.
Retaining as much of the existing fabric as possible, albeit upgrading thermally by external insulation and render, timber was used extensively not only in elements of the structure but also as cladding to part of the annexe and new external joinery. This method was selected because of its sustainability and because it can be locally sourced.
The render is lime based, as it is a much more sustainable option. Horizontal timber cladding and a sedum flat roof to the single storey part also limited the environmental impact. Large glazed doors were installed in the annexe improve day lighting.
The building is designed to be as energy efficient as possible with wall and roof framework made up from 240mm deep engineered I joists fully filled with recycled cellulose fibre insulation. Security has been a key issue, to minimise the likelihood of vandalism in this isolated public space which is in close proximity to a number of large housing estates. Sliding shutters secure all window and door openings and the timber cladding is treated with fire retardant. Timber was selected as the dominant cladding material not only because of its sustainable credentials but also to reflect the woodland setting. Gable glazing allows light to permeate through the length of the building creating a light, spacious quality to the main education room. The whole building is supported on piles lifting it clear of the ground in order to minimise disruption to surrounding tree roots. Rainwater is stored below ground and pumped to an external tap for use in irrigating woodland plants.