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The Lake District National Park Authority has approved plans by Purcell for its £6.2m Reimagining Wordsworth development project in Grasmere, Cumbria

The scheme for the Wordsworth Trust will conserve, adapt and extend a number of properties linked to the William Wordsworth across the hamlet of Town End.

The plans consist of seven key proposals, including the extension of the existing museum and a rooftop viewing platform, and the revamp of Dove Cottage, once the poet’s home. The project will also reinterpret the Wordsworth Trust’s important collection of manuscripts, books and works of art.

Two further approved proposals include a new café on the site of the current shop and the development of a learning centre on the site of the existing tea rooms. A trio of subtle wayfinding gateways, inspired by the region’s traditional sheepfolds, will be created at each of the key approach points to Town End.

Associate Rob Gregory described the team’s approach: ‘We stopped, looked and listened hard before we put pen to paper. In Town End, this led to an appreciation of the existing townscape, and the qualities of space between the buildings, and the formation of four core themes that brought clarity to the design narrative: townscape, legibility, orientation and threshold.

’The final design incorporates seven key proposals that thread their way through the hamlet, all of which centre on enhancing the existing yard. Through this we demonstrated that the Trust did not need to build a new Welcome Centre, but that they could create a new welcome at the centre of the hamlet, adjacent to, but not overshadowing the focal point of Dove Cottage.

’The combined effect of our seven proposals creates a unified architectural approach that not only creates new qualities of legibility and orientation at the heart of the site, but also brings a coherent approach to the site as a whole.’

Subject to second-round approval from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other fundraising, work on the scheme is expected to start in spring 2018. Construction is due to complete in early 2020, in time to celebrate the 250th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s birth.

The plans consist of seven key proposals, including the extension of the existing museum and a rooftop viewing platform, and the revamp of Dove Cottage, once the poet’s home. The project will also reinterpret the Wordsworth Trust’s important collection of manuscripts, books and works of art.

Two further approved proposals include a new café on the site of the current shop and the development of a learning centre on the site of the existing tea rooms. A trio of subtle wayfinding gateways, inspired by the region’s traditional sheepfolds, will be created at each of the key approach points to Town End.

We stopped, looked and listened hard before we put pen to paper. In Town End, this led to an appreciation of the existing townscape, and the qualities of space between the buildings, and the formation of four core themes that brought clarity to the design narrative: townscape, legibility, orientation and threshold.

The final design incorporates seven key proposals that thread their way through the hamlet, all of which centre on enhancing the existing yard. Through this we demonstrated that the Trust did not need to build a new Welcome Centre, but that they could create a new welcome at the centre of the hamlet, adjacent to, but not overshadowing the focal point of Dove Cottage.

The combined effect of our seven proposals creates a unified architectural approach that not only creates new qualities of legibility and orientation at the heart of the site, but also brings a coherent approach to the site as a whole.

Rob Gregory, Associate

Subject to second-round approval from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other fundraising, work on the scheme is expected to start in spring 2018. Construction is due to complete in early 2020, in time to celebrate the 250th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s birth.  

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