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Historical Astley Castle in the Warwickshire countryside

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Astley Castle originally served as the royal family’s fortified manor for three generations before being turned into a hotel in World War 2 in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, United Kingdom. After years of abandon, it became a ruined curiosity for those who knew of its location, serving as an unofficial impromptu venue for a range of activities until The Landmark Trust – a building preservation charity – proposed to restore the structure. They hosted a competition inviting architects to submit their ideas for the renovation of the residence and accompanying mote, entry gateway, curtain walls, lake, church, and vestiges of Elizabethan pleasure gardens. London-based Witherford Watson Mann Architects were chosen to carry out the project, breathing a new life into the ancient construction. The design tackled big questions regarding renovations, especially given a project of this scale: what will the relationship be between the old and new, and how can the new structure fortify the collapsing edifice?

 The design strategy aimed to reoccupy the old residence, to re-institute the spaces as they had historically been used, retaining as much of the original feel of the space as possible. Brick became the material of choice for the intervention as it matched the idea of the first construction but retained a visually evident difference. it also allowed the new construction to transition into the old masonry elements following the uneven joints created by the dilapidated walls. Construction crew worked hand in hand with archaeologists to excavate the site in preparation for the insertion of new materials. Large concrete lintels and other larger structural members had to be craned in from outside the mote, which also complicated the construction process. Cintec ties were used to strengthen existing walls without adding any visible structure with a process that includes drilling holes into the partitions and filling them with a steel rod and expanding cementitious grout.

The site is owned by The Landmark Trust and its holiday accommodation can be booked at a rate of $1,015.00, for four nights sleeping up to eight people.

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Photos: Courtesy of The Landmark Trust

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