Lillie's End - Creating a "Tardis" from a Mill workers Cottage
Dalgarven Mill workings
Robert Ferguson restoring the Mill Wheel
The missing "Dutch Barn" to the left ?...at Dalgarven Mill
Dalgarven Mill Today -
Site Panorama A - The approach to and vehicular through way accross the Mill Courtyard of the Mill.
Lillies end at center of image.
In consideration of the Historic context we have found a way to avoid visual intrusion . We have designed a new "Dutch Barn' That will arrive behind Lillies end and in its Garden - that will not be noticed immediately in the Heritage realm.
Dwg by A McAvoy
Dalgarven Mill Today -
Site Panorama - B -
Looking over the publicaly accessable Mill Courtyard where deliveries and departures occurred. Lillies end with its White wooden "Game Larder' is vigilant over that . Its increasingly private territory is to the rear .
As visitors move around the Building Grouping and ascend out of the valley and courtyard where successions of Mills dipped their wheels - a glympse of the proposal will be seen. A familiar little Barn will be positioned there - not to upstage the existing cottage which must remain expressed and vigilant over the Mill Courtyard.
Dwg by A McAvoy
Dalgarven Mill today - Looking down from the North toward The Mill Courtyard with the Gable of Lillie's End and the hedgerow defining its private garden to the right of the image.
Visitors who have ascended out of the Public and Heritage realm will momentarily see the new "Dutch Barn' sitting quietly in its Garden setting. It is not embarrassed about its presence. Its is exactly what it should be, where it should be and tailored to the Ferguson's required functions.
Though modern in expression it has a route in the agricultural and the Industrial. It is utilitarian and in keeping.
Dwg by A McAvoy
The Mill workers Cottage garden into which the new "Dutch Barn" will be dropped to play its part in the composition or Building Grouping of - Dalgarven Mill as one Heritage realm.
Dalgarven Mill is comprised of a number of Industrial and domestic buildings.
They form a "Building Grouping" related in narrative form and material ... and are listed as such. The Grouping is held together by a semi natural and Industrially adapted landscape that moves - people, water and vehicles around carefully. It is a tight knit situation and you cannot affect any component singularly, without affecting the entire composition.
Dalgarven Mill is a functioning museum and generally accessable to the public. Amidst this commonly public realm - 2 families live their lives. A brother and sister living next door to one another in the Mill workers cottages 1 + 2 - with their respective families.
Their Parents are the proprietors of Dalgarven Mill and together as a family the Ferguson's have managed the Museum and the Heritage realm independently for 3 generations all ready . Its in their blood .
In recent years they have created a Trust to broaden the remit and protect the legacy.All parties whether resident or not are involved in the day to day management of Dalgarven Mill . and all are now conditioned by the constitution of the Dalgarven Mill Trust.
The Buildings they tend have developed over many hundreds of years into the assembly found today and the Trust works to unravel that story and disseminate it to as wide an audience as possible. The museum hosts items and stories from the locality.
The narrative is deep.
Amidst that frame we have been asked to more than double the accommodation of Lillie's end or cottage no 2 , which once served as the vigilant Mill Office. We have been asked to do that to enable the next generation of Fergusons to take the role of caretakers. If we mange to make a tardis out of a tiny cottage then ownership and management will last into a fourth generation.
The work is residential in essence but not detached from the context of the Mill and its work, the Architecture has to be just right.
That is the frame for this small project.
Read on below of you want to learn more.
Dalgarven Mill has existed in various forms at a bend in the River Garnock since Kilwinning Abbey functioned. It is teh surviving Mill in a series along the Garnock and still has a working wheel dipped in the Garnock.
A building Grouping considered and extended to include the new "Dutch Barn" in the Mill workers garden. The arrangement includes an associated terraced garden reed beds, irrigation pond and boat shed.
Applicants site in red.
A spare cast Iron Collumn in the museum garden which has suggested the technology to be employed in building the new Dutch Barn. Its all about clarity in construction and expressing that honestly.
These are the rules and watch points that we have been asked to adhere to in designing at Dalgarven Mill :-
This is not a place for overstatement, it is a place for careful retention reuse, gentle insertion and addition. It's a heritage frame and returning visitors need to feel that Heritage is being looked after. The private interest must not be seen to dominate the Public realm. We are required to place something into the existing building grouping that does not question the stature of the already present and coveted Industrial Architecture .
Andrew was chosen for interview based on the work he had undertaken on various Mill and Agricultural buildings elsewhere.
Client Gavin Ferguson remarked - " the way you inserted your parents solar barn into the heritage mix of that 19th Century granite Courtyard caught our eye,... My wife Joanne and I have been involved in the saving of Dalgarven with my father for decades and we need someone sensitive to the buildings and sensitive to our relationship to the Dalgarven Mill Trust ...We also need someone to deal with the scale we like to live at. We live in a tiny house and everything in it is just where we need it to be ... although we are extending that still needs to be the case "
Andrew pitched and was then asked to begin the process of recording.
Once familiar with the site he instinctively started to search for a route to new Architecture. Wanting to find Architecture that related to the place in a meaningful way....he started with a question -
Was there anything missing that might inform debate about aesthetics ?
A way of working developed at Barn o Braco in Aberdeenshire for Andrews parents began at Dalgarven. - It began by moving back through time with the old maps to gain a thorough understanding of context as a starting point. Looking for a way to avoid overstatement and over building. Essentially finding a quiet respect for the very specifics of place,.
Gavin and Joanne also liked the recreation of the third side of a Steading at Little Mill of Clinterty and the material choices made there ( see Corten House section )..
In process the subtle Architecture of "Dutch Barns once familiar to this Landscape - entered the frame of Dalgarven
WHERE DID THE DUTCH BARN IDEA COME FROM ?
A number of years ago in surveying a different Mill in South Lanarkshire - Folkerton MIll , the presence of a Dutch Barn had been felt. The client there suggested moving it and Andrew had considered the logistics of that and tabled its components.. An essay in Iron casting and quick assembly was recorded and the range of that Building type first noted. There has been some practice research since then on where those Barns came from.
Gavin Ferguson was quick to point out that such barns had been removed from this Garnock Valley landscape in quick succession in recent years...but it was likely that there had been one at Dalgarven.
Suddenly he was searching for Dalgarven' s missing component.. The quick assembly Storage Barn or maybe the lost Dutch Barn Dutch Barns were the product of our central belt Casting Industries and strong patents.
We had to be careful that this was the right thing for the grouping ... It would have to be tested visually and we would require Listed Building Consent LBC - for dropping that into the Heritage mix.
As the founding Trustee of the Dalgarven Mill Trust and the man responsible for preventing the wrecking Ball taking the buildings in the 1970s - Owner of the Mill Buildings + Retired Architect Robert Ferguson, was the man to ask .
He instantly approved and encouraged..
Robert was keen for us to understand the History of the site and passed his essay on the History of Dalgarven Mill. This thorough work placed the Mill Grouping in a Landscape context ... it allowed us metaphorically to meander out into the realms of that historically productive landscape and reengage with the idea that Buildings here were bespoke and Utlitarian.
This Landscape, that the Mill was amidst was not disconnected from the Buildings ... These buildings processed things from the landscape . To understand Dalgarven Mill you had to understand the development of the landscape based on production and markets. It had long been productive and the further back you went . The more productive it had been .
Once upon a time, before the sacking of the Abbey's by Cromwell, this river valley would have been ripe with very diverse production. - The soils were alluvial and rich enough to support - Orchards, different grains and seeds, commonly a 100 types of green vegetables, berries and herbs.
In essence - a highly developed culture based on the diversity of: growing, storage and processing had once been in place here . The Mill had been intertwined with the Abbeys agrarian culture .-The Abbeys being schools of knowledge.
Kilwinning Abbey just down the valley.
That diverse Landscape system was systematically sacked and its components were removed to feed the taxation based and incentivized structures suiting a new distant order. its difficult to picture the landscape then, however If you visit for instance Inchholm Priory you can gain some residual sense of the luscious nature once all around.
Where thousands of products and localised markets were once the norm, the landscape fell victim to heavy control. Dalgarven Mill's monastic status and role had been reduced through time to Groat Mill.
However there it stands today and in very good order thanks to the Fergusons and the Trust. Unlike many of its contemporaries it was against all odds maintained and used into the 20th Century as a Mill. Only in the last half of that century did it fall into disuse and disrepair .
Robert and his son Gavin with the now defunct " Man power services commission" volunteers had saved it in the 1970s and 1980s .
In the 20th Century the lands around Dalgarven had been reduced to almost monoculture plantation and grazing. The diversity of many types of Oats, grain, wheat and corn requiring milling had not passed through this mill for 60 years. The Mill wheel now turns to tell a heritage tale !
That is the context of Dalgarven Mill and the project.
EFFECT OF LANDSACPE AND AGRICULTURE ON ARCHITECTURE ?
We were looking for the filigree ... the small bespoke building ...the delicate ancillary ...where were they ?? With an ever increasing field size and ever increasing scale of machinery , the requirement for the ancillary domestic scale architecture or Barns ...had been removed .
The landscape and immediate field pattern at Dalgarven had survived but the diversity of small buildings had been depleted . The ecology in its immediate vicinity is diverse .. It is relative to the hinterland, rich. Trees are a plenty and we needed to work with those . The Dalgarven Mill Trust functions to tell the whole a tale of local history and production and society. Another great starting Point - Buildings in Trust and in the right hands.
SEARCHING FOR A BARN
What we were metaphorically looking for and perhaps practically was the related bespoke Architecture of the Agricultural hinterland. - Something that might still be used for gathering and storage - A Barn - A dutch Barn
Something to be brought back into the fold,
In early discussions with the owners of “Lillie’s End” - Gavin and Joanne Ferguson, they were quick to disclose that they had always dreamed of having a Barn in their Garden.
They had not imagined living in it , but liked the thinking and were willing to run with it.
For them the narrative of generations of inhabitation by their family was important. They coveted things like “The strange marks at the Mill Office door” caused by roped dogs welcoming Mill deliveries …They saw these things as their continuing narrative and something they would continue to add to.
Lillie was their Aunt - back in time , they saw themselves as guardians of her Cottage.
Were we looking to actually find and repurpose a Barn that embodied the local landscape and weather - Or were we beginning the process of designing a Barn based on registering the depletion of authentic things in the Landscape.. ?
Such a Barn .. in their garden ,would enable Gavin and Joanne to engage with and accommodate the following: - Much needed living space , a place of small manufacture, a permaculture station, an orchard repository, wood store shelter Etc
We then studied Dutch Barns and found comfort in a simple robust Architecture that was relevant. Gavin Ferguson as Client suggested we concentrate on designing a new Dutch barn rather than continuing to search for an old one.
We once more pondered this ... we might not then have a 100 year old casting that once stood in proximity, but we had the essence of that .
Check .. is that ok .. yes we are both - client and their architect ...confident.
A design for a new " Dutch Barn ' has evolved and its material nature is related carefully to the Utilitarian narrative, The location is agreed with the Trust .. Its design and specification has been approved and It is to be dropped in carefully ... to the garden ...at the rear of the cottage.
CHECKING THE NARRATIVE
New Architecture is to be added to the Building grouping. - Architecture that has found its way to permissions and intent through consideration of things missing in the landscape ... But most importantly It has come from a natural sense that a Barn in the right place will instigate activity. A barn that acknowledges that this valley had once been much more productive.. A barn that registers - that before the dissolution of the monasteries and sacking of the local Abbey - Dalgarven Mill was tuned to a diverse landscape of small productions , small specific deliveries.
We are reversing a trend and suggesting a return to diversity and what we have designed in terms of form is a .simple Barn. A barn which would have existed somewhere in relation to the Mill Buildings, at many points in agricultural time .
What we are conjuring and allowing for .. Is the reappearance of something that will sit in a sensible relation to both the grouping of Mill buildings and the emerging permacuture garden .
A temporal nod to the monks and a contemporary statement about Re - greening of this Garnock valley.
The process has flowed easily from an intuitive sense shared by architect and client.
Something derived from a fascination with simple utilitarian structures of this landscape will now shape itself easily in the appropriate manufacturing shop.
The proposal has been negotiated through Listed Building Consent and technical compliance. ( Building Warrant )
That is thenarrative of this project so far.
In essence - before we even start the work on the site, it feels like that Barn ... well yes its just meant to be their.
The barn has been Engineered by Mike Dewar at Dewar Associates
The energy performance data and strategy have been developed by ...Bill Sheldrick at Alembic research and we hope it can embrace the full gambit of Low energy and passive solar strategy that it can.
Watch this space as it evolves.
Topographical and tree Survey of the Building grouping as found.
Upper level Plan
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Elevation of Lillie's End with new Dutch barn at rear in private Garden
Tucked in neatly at the back with just a glimpse over the roof tops
Elevation proposed presenting itself to the Mill Courtyard