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Outstanding buildings celebrated in the New Forest National Park Building Design Awards

Outstanding buildings celebrated in the New Forest National Park Building Design Awards


Amazing architecture has been recognised in the New Forest National Park Authority’s Building Design Awards for 2024.

An energy-efficient replacement for a 1950s bungalow; a community space built on the base of a Victorian water tower, and a property with its own woodland management plan have all received accolades.

The New Forest’s buildings and their setting in the landscape are an important part of what makes the National Park special. The annual Awards celebrate high-quality design and the best new developments across the National Park, with nominations invited in several categories.

A judging panel, made up of members of the New Forest National Park Authority’s Planning Committee, was particularly impressed by this year’s entries, praising not just the outstanding design but the sustainability of all the builds.

Best Residential Scheme 2024 was awarded to Chestnut Plantation at Tatchbury Mount, which replaced a 1950s bungalow with a sustainable and modern, open-plan new home. The property, designed by Lymington-based John Pardey Architects, gave careful consideration to the site as a whole, and was called ‘a beautiful scheme’ by the judges.

David Illsley, NPA Policy and Conservation Manager said: ‘At 100sqm in floorspace, Chestnut Plantation is also a great example of what can be achieved with a small dwelling.’

Highly Commended in the Best Residential Scheme category was The Clay Retreat at Norleywood. Architects PAD Studio in Lymington created an inspired design for a replacement home using traditional materials which complement each other and enhance the New Forest’s South East Conservation Area. In particular, the judges praised the clever shading on the large windows to reduce light pollution and help protect wildlife.

The Clay Retreat also won the Best Green Building category. The single storey home has a pre-fabricated timber frame construction filled with blown paper insulation. David said: ‘The building has particularly high energy efficiency standards which go above and beyond current building regulations.’

Highly Commended in the Best Green Building category was Chestnut Plantation (also winner of Best Residential Scheme). The judges were impressed by its solar panels, air source heat pump and woodland management plan for the surrounding land to improve biodiversity. 

Best Non-Residential Building was awarded to The Living Room at spudWORKS in Sway which the judges described as having ‘remarkable detailing’ and being ‘innovative on every level’.

Now a space for dementia care community use, it’s built on the base of a Victorian water tower, with a new Douglas fir timber frame and locally-made cedar shingles.

The design, by Delve Architects in London, has energy-efficient insulation, low energy lighting and makes the best use of natural daylight. It also celebrates and preserves a heritage feature in the landscape.

David said: ‘The building is sympathetic to its surroundings and creates an inviting, informal art therapy space for people with dementia and mental health issues.

‘The community purpose is outstanding and people from a wide range of backgrounds will be able to enjoy it.’

Gordon Bailey, Chair of the New Forest National Park Authority’s Planning Committee, and a member of the Awards panel said: ‘The standard of entries to our Awards this year has surpassed all other years, so our 2024 winners really are best in class.

‘There has been an increasing focus on areas such as climate change and sustainability on our planning policies and local design guidance. All our winning schemes demonstrate the sustainability measures that can be incorporated into new development, while respecting the environmental protections and local character of the National Park.’

The Awards were presented at the New Forest National Park Authority meeting on 21 March. The plaques were once again created by New Forest company BearWood using sustainable local oak.


Browse winners in the photo gallery below:

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