Cambo Stables, Cambo Estate
Cambo Heritage Trust
Cambo Estate, Kingsbarns, St Andrews, KY16 8QD
Internal Floor Area
A light touch preserving the history and charm of Cambo Stables
The need for buildings to meet new uses and regulations requires all sorts of interventions which can smother out the reason for keeping an existing building in the first place.
A good example is our work on the Cambo Estate stable block where we were appointed in 2011 to create a base for visitors to the estate. In broad terms it now serves that busy visitor audience with learning workshops, office accommodation, café, shop and exhibition space. Critical to our approach was consolidating the existing fabric in the lightest touch manner – leaving it with a feeling as if it is ‘as found’. Our philosophy was intervention only where required, and where necessary expressed as new. A limited palette of materials was used for new elements, with these materials rooted and derived from the existing. The building is in effect the first exhibit on display, the stories of its previous occupants etched into the fabric and revealed on the visitor journey through the building.
Cambo Stables is a particularly fine building. Externally there are rusticated quoins, some old lime harling, and inside twelve stalls integrated into a distinguished timber and cast-iron colonnade, loose boxes and tack room, with many original fittings intact. An enclosed yard to the rear backs onto the walled garden. It was that earthy magical quality enhanced by the delightful coastal light that we sought to preserve.
The stable building at Cambo is one of a number of buildings ancillary to Cambo House that contribute to the collective architectural and historic importance of the estate. The stable is category B-listed and is within the Cambo designed landscape included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes. The original stable building was designed by George Paterson in the 1760s and the first floor added in 1870. Our consolidation of the building fabric through roof works with reclaimed slate, rot works in the North Range, and modest, honest structural interventions has ensured the building has been saved from continual decay.
Through the fusion of the briefing process and the enthusiasm shown by the client, Cambo Stables has now evolved into a cultural hub for the local community. Education workshops in the Learning Space and adult and children woodland walks culminating in the Nosebag café, amongst others, have shown the power of transforming this building into a cultural destination. Cultural projects are often dependant on grant funding, the clever aspect of Cambo Stables has been the channelling of this funding into the areas of the building where added value can be sought.
Since our appointment in 2011 we have worked closely with the various members of the Cambo Heritage Trust to evolve the brief for Cambo Stables. Close engagement with the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland, two of the principal funders, we were able to establish a schedule of accommodation suited to the needs of the client whilst preserving the existing building’s character. Telling the story of the building’s historic past was the critical driving design consideration of the interior of the building. The building itself was the exhibit, exposing as much of the fabric in its raw state as possible was the aim of the light touch philosophy adopted.