Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers Salesroom

Location: Stansted, Essex
Timeframe: Completed 2007
Cost: £1,045,000
Our Involvement: Consultancy
Floor area: 1100m2
Construction Method: Hybrid, Strawbale and timber frame structure

Barbara Jones worked with Robert Ward Booth and his architects/engineers to design this wonderful building. At 1100m2 it was the largest strawbale building of its kind in 2007, and has since been extended to 1600m2, it has been so successful for the company. The auctioneer does not need to raise their voice to be heard at the end of the 30m saleroom. The plastered straw walls keep the fine arts and antiques at an ambient temperature, just right for their health (and ours). Heat from the small office area, generated mostly by body heat and use of computers, is pumped back into the saleroom at night by reverse air conditioning. The saleroom rarely needs any further heating. 

This was one of the early designs that Barbara inspired to have as little timber as possible, to build the roof first, and lower the roof onto the straw to compress it. It worked really well. As a commercial building, it came in at a very competitive build cost of £950/m2, and saves the company about 75% on the heating bills it was paying in its previous premises. Amazonails ran training courses to build the walls and Barbara was consultant for the lime plastering.