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Winner’s Story – The Granary, Lingcroft Farm, Fulford

The Granary Large news

Commercial and Sustainability 2018

The Granary, a conservation-led, self-build conversion of 19th century farm buildings to the office of an environmentally-sensitive local architectural practice, was a deserved first ever winner of a York Design Award for Sustainability. The efforts of the project team were rewarded in 2018, with dual awards given to this imaginative scheme with judges also presenting it with an award in the Commercial category.

The main building is a typical two-storey granary with external stone steps giving access to the upper floor. Floors are left open plan and a small single storey outbuilding has been refurbished as a kitchen and service block with a new two-storey link. Yorkshire grown, construction-grade hemp was cast against the solid brick walls for thermal insulation, and extensive use has been made of recycled plywood sheets, which could have otherwise gone to waste.

Quality of Design

The new office base for Native Architects, the traditionally constructed clamp brick building sits within a working farm with the main house and barns unoccupied at present. The building comprises the main two storey granary with open plan floor layouts which have been maintained with outside access to the first floor via a flight of traditional stone steps.

To the rear is a small single storey brick outbuilding that has been refurbished to form the kitchen and WCs for the office. A new two storey element has been designed to link the main granary building and the service block at the rear. The design is traditional in form and scale but is differentiated from the existing building by a change in materials that contrast in both colour and scale.

The extension is subservient to the main building visually and physically with minimal ornament other than the slate hanging on the surface of the external walls. The building demonstrates our practice ethos of environmentally sensitive design.


The farm comprises of nine agricultural buildings including two dwellings with mature gardens and a number of small outbuildings on the Lord Halifax Lingcroft Estate. The surrounding land is in arable use and is adjacent to the A19, three miles from the centre of York.

Whilst the houses and single storey barns are brick, the larger barns for agricultural machinery and storage are a mixture of steel and timber frame with timber boarded walls and sheeted roofs. At the early design stages, it seemed appropriate to choose materials that were agricultural in character to reflect the working part of the farm, but Halifax Estate preferred the materials for the roof of the existing granary and the new extension walls and roof to be more robust in nature, rather than materials that might be perceived to be of low quality. The Estate is traditional in its values and it required its buildings to reflect this.

Materials & Workmanship

The building work was a self-build project carried out from Native Architects’ practice resources and the Native team completed all the work with the exception of the electrical installation, telecoms, finishes and some fittings. The philosophical approach to the conversion was that of a conservation project for a traditional non-heritage asset. No new bricks were required, for example, and building elements were only replaced of life expired with a conservation repair led approach.


Truth to materials, use of traditional, natural materials throughout with a high level of recycling was central to the construction and a fabric first approach to sustainability. The Yorkshire-grown construction grade hemp was cast against the solid brick walls for thermal performance, and the economic re-use and diversification of traditional rural buildings.

Ability to Delight

Non-invasive cleaning of the existing brickwork revealed a stunning formerly hidden attribute. The building is not ostentatious or pretentious – it makes evident the simple fascination of vernacular buildings,-ageless and reassuringly coherent.

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