Black Robin Farm

This week, we’re placing a spotlight on our project at Black Robin Farm, a retrofit and refurbishment of this historic farmstead, which seeks to preserve the agricultural character of the existing buildings and their unique setting, while extending the campus to include a new flexible art gallery and events space.

The new gallery building is located on the northern side of the track and is formed of three distinct gallery volumes, rendered in lime and flint. The monopitch roofs follow the fall of the land, provide north-lit galleries and optimal orientation for photovoltaic panels. Internally, the gallery spaces have been designed in collaboration with Towner to create flexible, simple and raw spaces for art; one of the galleries is designed as a climate-controlled space and the other two are designed to GIS standards.

The proposed redevelopment replicates the north-south wings around an education yard and productive orchard. The new buildings carefully balance accessibility with vernacular principles, learning from careful study of the architecture of the buildings which are too dilapidated or inaccessible to retain. A variety of scales, materials and agricultural references connect the buildings, resulting in rich sensory experiences and connections to the South Downs.

The site is approached from the crest of the hill, with stunning views either side of Beachy Head out to sea. The slate and corrugated roof pitches undulate and fall with the land, resonating with the folds of the South Downs and framing a view out to the west, over Birling Gap and to the sea. The weather-beaten tones and patina of the rugged farm buildings recede into the chalky downland pastures, a quality the new buildings aim to emulate.

The landscape-led project will also act as a catalyst to connect the iconic landmarks of Beachy Head, Birling Gap, Seven Sisters and Cuckmere Haven. With new walking, cycling and sustainable and accessible transport routes between the sites, it will provide a coherent visitor offer for the 1 million national and international visitors to the region each year.

To find out more about the project, click here.