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Hopkins Architects to design new £4.5m visitor attraction for Holkham Hall

by Ashley Harrison | 18 Nov 2014

Holkham Hall on the Holkham Estate in Norfolk has announced plans for a new £4.5m visitor attraction which will focus on agricultural evolution and sustainable food production.

The privately-owned, 18th century estate is well respected for its environmentally responsible approach to farming and its 'inseparable links’ with the local community. The project will have a strong educational bias and will focus on how Holkham has evolved its farming practices over the centuries and how it intends to further develop the efficiency of its food production.

"Holkham was the crucible of the Agricultural Revolution and there can be no story which is more relevant to Norfolk," said estates director David Horton-Fawkes. "We believe the final result will provide a fantastic new visitor experience, designed to rival anything found in any other stately home in the country."

Hopkins Architects has been appointed to design the new 2,625sq m scheme, which where possible will feature natural products such as lambs wool for insulation and Holcombe’s own oak for the structural roof beams and doors.

“The outstanding aspect of this project is the sensitive reworking of important heritage buildings to provide much enhanced visitor facilities,” said project architect Jack Gregory. “While the character of the building will be respected, a completely new building management system will be installed to control the internal climate along with high-end lighting and AV equipment.”

Hopkins is a market leader in environmentally-responsible architecture, with iconic structures such as the London 2012 Velodrome, Goodwood Racecourse, Sussex and Denmark’s Copenhagen Arena to its name. The practice’s work on nearby Norwich Cathedral’s visitor centre and educational facility was influential in their selection for this project.

Experience designer Drinkall Dean will create the exhibition telling the story of Holkham’s farming pedigree. There will be a focus on implementing the Estate's ambitious education programme, drawing on the historical aspect of groundbreaking Norfolk husbandry and showcasing the way today's farmland is linked to sustainable food production.

The attraction will replace the current Bygones Museum which houses agricultural memorabilia and machinery from around the region.

A major part of the investment will be the restoration of a dilapidated pottery into a 250-seat events space for weddings, concerts and conferences. This will enable Holkham to diversify and increase its secondary spend revenue. It will also extend the visitor season beyond the summer months and support local accommodation providers in low season. The current stable block will be enhanced to include a larger shop showcasing local products and the eating areas will be doubled in size, with a new restaurant and cafe planned.

Holkham Hall, which is one of the Treasure Houses of England, has worked closely with English Heritage on the scheme, which will involve changes to a number of listed buildings. The development will be privately funded.

Work will commence on-site in January 2015, with plans for an Easter 2016 opening.

Holkham Hall on the Holkham Estate in Norfolk has announced plans for a new £4.5m visitor attraction which will focus on agricultural evolution and sustainable food production. The privately-owned, 18th century estate is well respected for its environmentally responsible approach to farming and its 'inseparable links’ with the local community. The project will have a strong educational bias and will focus on how Holkham has evolved its farming practices over
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Holkham's new attraction will promote its farming heritage and increase its eating and entertainment areas / Holkham Hall
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