New St Agnes Island Hall Shortlisted In Sustainability Awards

island hall 1The architect behind the new Island Hall on St Agnes says the project proves wrong the old saying that you can’t design by committee.

Rachel Gaunt, from St Ives-based architects Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole was speaking following the announcement that the project has been shortlisted in this year’s Cornwall Sustainability awards.

The new £2.4million community and workspace hub opened to the public this summer.

Rachel says everyone is “absolutely ecstatic” about the nomination because it recognises the hard work of the community on St Agnes. And she believes it has a good chance of winning the award.

From Radio Scilly

Architect Rachael Gaunt tells Radio Scilly why she’s so pleased the Island Hall has been nominated for the award.

Rachel says the whole project is a perfect example of how to build something that is truly sustainable. Other than taking a drinking water supply, all other services are designed to be as green as possible, including solar panels built into the roof, water harvesting for flushing the toilets and on-site treatment of foul waste.

And the building uses as much natural daylight as possible to reduce energy.

But she says that drive and ambition to create a sustainable space came from the community rather than the architects.

The committee were also very clear that they wanted something that would be easy to maintain.

Rachel says the building is storm resilient, with very high performance windows and doors, but can be easily maintained with skills already available on the island.

Rachel says this is the best project she’s ever worked on, even though there were some highs and lows along the way.

But she says the end result is stunning, mainly down to the vision of the islanders.

She says there were lots of opportunities for people to get involved in the design process, which should have been a recipe for disaster. But she said all those individual ideas actually came together brilliantly.

One example is the concept of the wrap-around balcony. That came from a suggestion that there should be somewhere to observe the night sky and leave telescopic equipment out overnight.

She’s pleased with way the old hall and new elements of the building work. And that’s important, she says, because this has also been a big restoration project.

Rachel paid tribute the people of St Agnes, saying the architects learned much more from them, than the islanders ever did from architects.

The Cornwall Sustainability Awards take place on Thursday 4th December.