Northamptonshire County Council has appointed Buttress to help tell the story of Chester Farm, a site of major archaeological significance.
Steeped in history, the Chester Farm site offers a fascinating insight into the development of settlement patterns over the past 10,000 years.
As well as being the site of a Roman walled town, there is evidence from the Mesolithic, Iron Age and Medieval periods, together with a complex of traditional farm buildings dating from the 17th century.
The HLF-funded project will restore and revitalise the listed buildings on the site, and create new archives and education accommodation. The whole creative concept will work with the heritage of the site, bringing its historic buildings back into active use.
One of the modern barns located at the entrance to the farm complex will be replaced with an Archaeological Resource Centre. The building will adopt the material vocabulary of its agricultural context, featuring cedar wood cladding and a dark grey steel roof. The building will also mirror the shape of a traditional barn to further tie it to its rural surroundings.
Although badly damaged in a fire, the farmhouse at the centre of the farm complex will be sympathetically restored and brought back to use as a public café with outdoor space overlooking the archaeological site.
The building will also contain an interpretation of the house itself, offering visitors an insight into the lives of those who lived and worked on the farm in the past. A further number of outbuildings surrounding the farmhouse will also be put brought back to life. One will be repaired as an interpretation of a worker’s cottage, while further buildings will be converted into an interpretation zone and an education centre for visiting school groups. To provide the site with greater revenue potential, other existing barns will be transformed into a conference centre as well as commercial office space.
The finished scheme will be a multi-functional site that pays homage to the area’s rich history.