Two Yorkshire-Based De Matos Ryan Projects Shortlisted For World Architecture Festival Awards

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Two Yorkshire projects designed by De Matos Ryan have been shortlisted for the 2022 World Architecture Festival Awards.

Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery at the National Railway Museum has been shortlisted in the Future Projects – Culture category. And the Alice Hawthorn has been shortlisted in the Completed Buildings – Hotel & Leisure category.

De Matos Ryan will present both schemes live to delegates and an international jury at WAF, which will take place at the FIL Exhibition Centre in Lisbon later this year. The winning projects will be announced at the WAF Gala Dinner on Friday 2nd December.

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“Special place in children’s imagination”

Trains, locomotion and simple engineering concepts hold a special place in children’s imagination. Wonderlab at the National Railway Museum will inspire future generations of engineers and inventors. Wonderlab’s vision will excite and challenge young minds, bringing awareness to sustainability and energy use, whilst encouraging hands-on experimentation and creative exploration.

The scheme will explore the concept of different forms of ‘motion’ evoked by railway engineering. De Matos Ryan are particularly intrigued and inspired by the perception of relative motion experienced in relation to static volumes, surfaces, textures and light. The design looks to create an engaging and intuitive open plan workshop environment, which will stimulate social interaction, dialogue and learning around interactive exhibits. It will appeal to a cross-generational audience but focus on captivating the target audience of 7–14-year-olds. De Matos Ryan’s approach promotes a collaborative, inquisitive, open and broad dialogue-based creative design process. It will physically, culturally and socially bring together existing and new audiences whilst seamlessly stitching new and old together.

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“Authentic, raw interior”

Sited in the former locomotive repair workshop, the scheme draws inspiration from its layered history and its authentic, raw interior. A family of new ‘engineering’ timber structures, reminiscent of iconic locomotive fragments, have been introduced. These act as a screening and layering device to the largely open plan space, defining zones and creating areas of intimacy within the gallery. Their shape and construction communicates and celebrates the creative process and language of core railway engineering principles. Housing a theatre space and a learning space, the structures take inspiration from key exhibits and railway concepts throughout the museum. For example, the briefing space draws inspiration from the Ellerman Lines steam locomotive and creates a surreal and engaging play on scale where visitors metaphorically transform into the size of a steam drop.

A sustainably sourced timber lining is introduced to the perimeter of the space to help reduce the gallery’s scale and add a sense of warmth and calm against which the interactives are set. The lining gently evolves to become work benches, seating areas, storage cupboards and viewing portals. Additional layers and cladding have an exposed finish. Imperfections and historical wear and tear, such as the concrete floor, will be exposed and celebrated. De Matos Ryan’s aim is to maintain the memory, rawness and energy of the space’s current use. The larger scale permanent structures, such as the wheel drop, pits and crane, will be re-activated to form the framework and supporting elements for the new content within the gallery.

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“Critical meeting point”

At the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Nidd, Nun Monkton was once an important trade hub for the medieval river transport network but increase in road travel eventually led to its demise. Grade II listed The Alice Hawthorn is the village’s last remaining pub. In recent years, this critical meeting point and social hub was in economic decline and had come under threat.

Despite previous investment and refurbishment, it was not yet a sustainable business and needed to widen its appeal. The brief was therefore to provide tourists, as well as locals, with a high-quality but affordable basecamp from which to enjoy the surrounding landscape and visitor attractions. Close, collaborative consultations with Harrogate Borough Council and the local community informed the design. Feedback was acknowledged at every stage of the design process.

The redevelopment has created new revenue streams for the restaurant and bar business, improved visitor footfall and dwell time and, most critically, increased propensity to spend within the local economy. Client and local resident Kate Harpin comments, “since reopening, business has never been better.”

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The scheme includes twelve ensuite guest bedrooms, four on the pub’s first floor and eight around a new courtyard, which extends the village green into the pub’s rear garden. The project takes its inspiration from the Norse ‘garth’ (‘grassy cloister’ or ‘clearing in the woods’), creating a sense of quiet enclosure and a notional extension of the village green: a place of gathering.

The design reflects the character of the informal farmsteads that surround the green, which continues to be grazed by animals. The home-grown Douglas fir framed buildings use authentic agricultural building materials to create the sense that the animals have only recently moved out. A simple and honest construction typology ensures that the project looks like the way it was built. Internally, the new build elements have no plaster and are lined with larch boarding and poplar plywood. Subtle distinctions between the timber species are blurred by a tinted treatment.

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“Extensive planting and habitat creation”

Sustainability is at the heart of the project. A ground source heat pump provides heating and hot water to a standard higher than current Part L2A building regulations. The timber frame buildings are naturally ventilated through high-level clerestory windows and rooflights on actuators. Solar gain is reduced by roof overhangs. LED and low energy lighting, as well as low volume water appliances, have been fitted throughout. The sustainable drainage system includes permeable paving and surface water attenuation tanks concealed below the pub garden.

A challenge was to develop a 1-hour fire resisting timber frame wall within 1m of the site boundaries. This was resolved by employing a fire resisting sheathing internally, avoiding carbon heavy blockwork. To ensure accessibility for all, level threshold access is provided throughout.

On completion, the new builds scored an EPC ‘A’ rating. Biodiversity has been improved through extensive planting and habitat creation. The courtyard is bounded by borders planted with native species, which also helps to screen the adjacent bedrooms. A rear orchard is also being re-established with fruit trees, which will ultimately supply the kitchen.


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