Cuerden Valley Park Visitor Centre and Café

"The Cuerden Valley Park (CVP) Visitor Centre and café, includes office space for the Park Rangers and a classroom area designed by Straw Works Ltd, and built by Straw Works, with the Park Trust and volunteers, and sub contractors. Built entirely out of natural materials, with car tyre foundations, this is a hybrid strawbale building, part loadbearing and part frame. It was designed specifically so that volunteers from the Park Trust could build it themselves, which together with this particular design has saved the Trust in the region of £100,000. It is the first Living Building Challenge registered building in the UK."

Barbara Jones, Straw Works

Project location: Bamber Bridge, Preston, Lancashire

Building completion date: June 2018

Building size: 480m2

Construction type: Hybrid strawbale – part loadbearing straw, part framework

Building use: Public

Architect/designer: Straw Works- Barbara Jones & Jakub Wihan

Contractor: Part-built as training courses run by the School of Natural Building (SNaB), part built by volunteers of the Park under supervision of SNaB

Consultants: Martin Brown, Fairsnape (sustainability, Living Building Challenge advisor); Mary Rawlinson, Green-Castle (Living Building Challenge consultant)

Social Value

Project highlight: The judges were impressed with how the project engaged the local community, who in turn garnered a great sense of ownership in the finished building. People from the local community volunteered throughout the project and the contractors ran training courses in natural material building techniques such as strawbale building, lime plastering and cedar shingling.

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