Centre for a Sustainable Energy Charity

A new straw-bale build educational centre near Swindon.

Manifest were commissioned to design a new centre for the Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust: the brief was to provide a sheltered and warm but simple building, constructed from local straw bales and timber shingles, that would give an important place for visitors and schoolchildren to learn about the sustainable energy initiatives taking place at Westmill Farm.  These include a large solar park, and five large wind turbines – all of which should be seen from the Centre itself.

Manifest undertook an extensive landscape impact analysis from the surrounding countryside and villages, and the design grew from a very conscious desire to blend with the land through material, massing and colour.  This included research and test burns of the local corallian limestone which outcrops on the site, showing that it would be suitable for mortars and limewashes – another part of our Local Materials Initiative.  Planning permission was achieved in 2018.