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Looking as though it were poised to take flight, the Blackburn Wing is a multi-award-winning conference venue located within the ancient woodlands of the historic Bowcliffe Estate in Yorkshire, UK. Designed by The Harris Partnership and commissioned by the Bayford Group, the aerofoil-shaped ‘treehouse’ (as it is sometimes described) is located in the grounds of an estate that once belonged to aviation pioneer Robert Blackburn – a fact that inspired both the aeronautical theme of the design and the name of the venue.
About the project
The 200-square-metre Blackburn Wing is part of a £6 million refurbishment of the estate. The curved wooden beams and tensile cables of the construction reference the biplane wings that Robert Blackburn is credited with creating. Clad in copper, it is cantilevered 30 metres above ground, supported by galvanized steel legs and reinforced with steel cross-bracings. Two wooden runways form a connection between the ‘wing’, with its spectacular wrap-around balconies, and the estate grounds.
In addition to copper and wood, glass plays a central role in the design. Glass feature balustrades on the balconies and runways – created by Q-railing – together with floor-to-ceiling curtain walls allow for stunning unobstructed views of the surrounding woodland. As a result, users of the building experience a feeling of openness and connection with nature. In total, 140 metres of balustrade were installed, with Easy Glass MOD 0763 glass adapters and stainless steel cap rails.
Since its completion in February 2015, the Blackburn Wing has won numerous awards for its high-quality construction as well as its sensitivity to nature and feeling of connection with its surroundings.