Richard Parr Associates converted the nine buildings that once formed a dairy farm as an addition to The Newt, a luxury hotel and spa set on an 800-acre estate of an 18th-century home near Bruton. The estate has been reformed by a roster of architects – including Invisible Studio, Simon Morray-Jones Architects, Stonewood Design and more – under hotelier Karen Roos since its purchase in 2013, and its first hotel suites and spa opened in 2019. Graham Bizley of Prewett Bizley Architects described The Newt as “extremely well-built theme park” in his review for Architecture Today in 2020.
This latest 2,000 square-metre addition known as the Farmyard provides a 17-room hotel with a restaurant, indoor pool and spa and leisure facilities including a bar, games room and bike shelter.
The buildings – a Grade II-listed Georgian farmhouse, threshing barn, cheese barn, stable, granary, cyder press and a range of outbuildings – have been sensitively remodelled using a palette of stone (local Hadspen stone, Cornish late, limestone and Blue Lias), oak framing, glass, marble and plaster that aim to retain the character of the original structures.
“We wanted to keep it raw and unpretentious in order to retain the beauty and simplicity of these historic farm buildings,” says Richard Parr.
“Using natural materials and traditional building methods enabled us to introduce a new modern aesthetic when building two new contemporary structures, the Grain Loft and the Bike and Buggy Shelter, that have blended harmoniously with the existing configuration. This has been aided by concealing state-of-the-art technology underground, allowing us to create a harmonised look and feel of the entire space.”
Landscaping around the buildings has also been reinstated and a new fish pond dug beneath a willow tree. A horseshoe shaped shelter with a Douglas Fir and oak structure houses bicycles and buggies for guests to transport themselves through the estate to the main hotel and spa facilities.