Architype Architects' Hereford Office Is an Adaptive Reuse Gem

Cottage against a sweeping countryside of rolling hills and fields

Leigh Simpson for Architype Architects

Why is this on TreeHugger? The Hereford office of Architype isn't particularly new (it was built in 2006); it isn't Passivhaus, a firm specialty; it sits alone in the country, when we tend to favour more urban projects.

Green Building

side view of building
Leigh Simpson /

However I have admired the firm's work and follow associateElrond Burrell on twitter and saw a stunning photograph by Leigh Simpson and fell in love with it. There is a lot going for it, and for the firm's attitude toward green building.


brick wall and old building
Leigh Simpson /

It is hard to classify the project as an adaptive reuse, this thing was almost rubble. They...

... transformed a derelict barn complex in Herefordshire owned by the Duchy of Cornwall into stunning contemporary offices for the practice’s Hereford office. The original barn was almost totally derelict when Architype first visited the remaining standing walls - hundreds of years old.

Worth Saving

old building entry
Leigh Simpson /

The wreckage before....


window and wood siding renovation
Leigh Simpson /

..and after.

We began to carefully restore it, adding a timber ‘box’, and transforming the ruin into a light-filled working studio. The aesthetic is warm and expressive, and the original threshing space is glazed from floor to ceiling, framing the beautiful views.


interior view conference room
Leigh Simpson /
The design was undertaken with maximum attention to sustainability. It exemplifies our ‘eco-minimalist’ approach - focusing on careful analysis to develop effective solutions and achieve long term sustainability; avoiding unnecessary techno-fixes.

Keeping it Simple

meeting at conference table
Leigh Simpson /

"avoiding unnecessary techno-fixes." This is the admirable thing about this firm; they are not into gizmo green but keep it simple. They describe it as "eco-minimalism":

  • We create inspiring and beautiful buildings of elegant simplicity, which are:
    design based on simple and fundamental principles that make the architecture to do all the hard work in saving energy and reducing environmental impact
  • sustainability integrated into design rather than as added eco-cliches

Reduce Carbon Emissions

loft office space
Leigh Simpson /
We achieve dramatic reductions in energy consumption and carbon emissions by optimising the building shape, section and orientation to maximise the comfort, delight and benefit of daylight, solar gain and natural ventilation, whilst avoiding overheating. This is underpinned by high levels of insulation, high performance windows, excellent airtightness, elimination of thermal bridging, and carefully integrated services with simple intuitive controls.


close up of wood railing
Leigh Simpson /
We minimise wider environmental impact and create healthy internal environments, by using natural materials, with low embodied energy, that are renewable, recycled, and manufactured in non-polluting processes, such as UK grown timber, recycled newspaper insulation, organic paints and stains, cork, rubber and linoleum. By integrating sustainability and avoiding unnecessary complexity in design and detailing, we create uplifting and beautiful sustainable buildings, that are practical, robust and affordable.

Wonderful End Results

exterior night view looking into building
Leigh Simpson /

That is perhaps the best definition of green building that I have read in a very long time. More wonderful work at Architype.