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Sussex Prairies Tower

West Sussex, 2020


A playful addition to the collection of buildings as Sussex Priaire Gardens allowing visitors panoramic views over the swathes of prairie planting as well as our clients' own out of hours crows nest terrace linked to their adjacent Dutch Barn.

The cylindrical steel tower echoes the character of a grain silo. Its language, as with the adjacent buildings, plays on this vernacular. It avoids over refinement or complexity but is simple and direct using an economy of means, constructed entirely one single material in standard sheet and profile sizes, both to emphasise its form and simplify its procurement.

Externally the tower is clad rolled sheets to that brace the pfc frame. Inside the drum a helical stair winds up two stories past a bridge connecting to the barn’s first floor living space. On the way a variety of circular cut-outs are positioned to frame views and suit the different ages who visit the garden.

The design was detailed in close collaboration with engineers Structure Workshop and fabricator Cranbrook Iron enjoying the limitations of budget, access and a necessarily low-tech approach to fabrication and erection.

Photography: Richard Chivers

For a timelapse video of the construction click here.