Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Modern Gothic: Astley Castle

Ever wondered what it would be like to stay overnight in a castle? The Landmark Trust in Britain allows you just that pleasure. One of many properties they offer was recently the center of much debate and an ingenius renovation: Astley Castle.
Featured in the January 2013 issue of House and Garden magazine, the castle was a ruined shell since 1978 when the hotel it housed burned to the ground. However it held a storied past dating to the 12th century despite its rather forlorn existence throughout the 20th century.
Finally in 2005 a competition was held on how best to utilize the ruined castle.  Architects Witherford Watson Mann were chosen who preserved the damaged shell and ingeniusly inserted a modern house - utilizing the ruins to their best advantage.
Those of you who read this blog and/or know me realize I am not a modernist (duh!). However, I love the respectful nature of the new work within the charmingly derelict shell. The texture of the carefully chosen new brick within the original stone walls is beautiful.
The best feature was actually created from the most damaged part of the castle: the al fresco dining room which retains the original fireplace. Imagine dining under the stars fireside, at once inside and outside of the castle!
The emphasis here is of course on the architecture and not the interiors but I love the whimsy of the Gothic dining chairs seen above and the beautiful green curtains.  Would you stay here over a vacation?
 All photos by Jefferson Smith for House and Garden magazine.


Maison de lin said...

I love this way of renovation, it's very new and special.


Mark D. Ruffner said...

I'd go there in a heartbeat! I can't imagine objections to such a creative and thoughtful solution.

Paisley Curtain said...

It is a wonderful place not only to stay as a guest for a few nights, (but if one can afford), live forever.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Mark, I have mixed feelings here as I do love 'old' -but those feelings for me are nixed as the property was in ruins and totally destroyed anyway - perfect opporunity for modernism. Plus it was done so well!

Pigtown*Design said...

We've been staying at Landmark Trust properties for years now. They have an amazing selection from flats to castles!

Deana Sidney said...

I mourn the destruction of such a magnificent place but laud the hotel for trying to reclaim the ruins (although I do love topless ruins on their own -- my favorites have been turned into gardens). I think they did a fine job of it -- especially the open dining room.

I'm loving that you are sharing the magazine with us! You are making my mouth water with each post. I have vowed not to get any more subscriptions -- you are easing me off my addiction ever so gently!

Karena said...

A genius solution to save this historic landmark and have tourists see it and stay there. I would love to stay!Thank you Stefan.

Art by Karena

La Petite Gallery said...

That's a trip to remember.
Golly there is so much I would
like to do, this is one.

Carlton Hobbs said...

What an inspirational approach to restoration! Fabulous, many thanks for posting this blog!


I'ts nice restoration and revitalisation.. good solution and imaginative.

topSpot | Find your top spot here said...

Very great restoration! This is one of my favorite post. :)

My Notting Hill said...

Would I stay there -yes! Which leads me to a question. We're going to Scotland in March. Do you know of any country estates/castles we should be sure to see?

Re: Frank's Georgetown house, I missed that tour!

smilla4blogs said...

Years ago, when JCB was very little, we stayed at Bargy Castle in Wexford, Ireland. She had a little turret all to herself and the experience was unforgettable. It wouldn't have been quite the same with this interpretation, but I have to admit I love it!

For My Notting Hill ~ We were in Scotland last March and most historic houses are closed until April, but the most picturesque of all, Eileen Donan in Dornie, is open.

PD Architecture in Leicester said...

The open air dining room and fireplace is amazing, there a few places where it could work so well, but this is certainly one of them.

Anton G. said...

this is outstanding! I`m really curious at what price would this go! Damn gorgeous.