Enough is enough according to the nuns at an ageing Victorian convent. They are tired of being caretakers for an old country mansion in the English countryside that is eating money in fuel bills and upkeep. Now they have commissioned a new home in the remote countryside that will be environmentally friendly. It will have rainwater harvesting, reedbed sewage systems, sedum roofs, recycled materials, a woodchip boiler and be built of responsibly-sourced timber.
"We are supposed to love creation and respect the environment. We're living in and taking care of it." said the abbess. To that end they have hired Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, prize winning architects who have recently won the prestigious Stirling Prize for a residential development. The architects appreciated the sisters' point of view: "These clients are naturally parsimonious, they're not into buying and consuming like we are and they have a great respect for the natural environment. It's been a privilege working with them. They're so charming and they're quite good fun."
With only 22 nuns left, the women were downsizing and wanted something smaller with some "natural curved surfaces and shapes" and a place that was "manageable, comfortable and suitable for the 21st century". The new building will have broadband, solar panels on the roof, and outer buildings including a church, library and a retreat for up to 15 visitors. Guardian
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