Flying high – aviation styled event centre named one of region’s top buildings

The Blackburn Wing, a stunning copper and glass centrepiece of a £6m project at Grade II-listed Bowcliffe Hall in Wetherby, has scooped two accolades in the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Yorkshire awards.

The 2,060 sq. ft airplane wing shaped treehouse was named one of eight outstanding Yorkshire buildings recognised for their architectural excellence.  In the special awards category, serial entrepreneur Jonathan Turner, CEO of the Bayford Group, who commissioned the scheme at the former ancestral home of aviation pioneer Robert Blackburn, was named client of the year.

Designed by architects The Harris Partnership and built by Conlon Construction, the Blackburn Wing is one of only two structures ever to have been built in an area of ancient woodland.

Judges commented: “This is a tour de force, a piece of bravado, worthy of its inspiration, its location and the passion of its client. Whilst equally bold in both its conception and final form, its aptness to its siting within both an historic environment and amongst precious trees is admirably (even surprisingly) sympathetic.”


Jonathan Turner said: “Winning two awards is a tremendous and fitting tribute to the entire design and construction team who brought alive my vision to create a lasting legacy to an unsung hero of the golden age of aviation.  I am looking forward to people coming to enjoy it.”

Accommodating up to 140 people, the iconic conference centre is part of a multi-phase restoration project across the nineteenth century estate, including converting a cricket pavilion and other redundant buildings into office space and a creating an upmarket Drivers Club Restaurant.

All regional winners, who included Sheffield Cathedral Gateway Project, Leeds First Direct Arena and an extension to Leeds College of Music, will be considered for a national RIBA award, to be announced on June 19.

The Blackburn Wing entrance
The Blackburn Wing entrance

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