Kresen Kernow is a remarkable project which has transformed the derelict and fire damaged former Redruth Brewery into a state of the art archive and local studies centre for Cornwall. The building cleverly integrates the surviving historic fabric of the old brewery with new additions and interventions to form elegant and well-planned public space, secure archive storage, library, study areas and offices.
The building, by Purcell for Cornwall Council, has won the 2020 Cornish Buildings Group and Cornwall and West Devon Mining World Heritage Site award, a much covet award for excellence in architectural design and conservation. The Cornish Building Group judges were especially impressed by the attention given to the detailing of the interiors and thought that the way in which the layout mixes up working spaces and public exhibition space to connect users of the new facility with conservation and archival work. The building is an outstanding example of how to re-purpose a derelict historic building to create a stunning new public facility whilst also stimulating the regeneration of a historic mining town. It will quickly become one of Cornwall’s most iconic buildings.
Kresen Kernow is the first winner of the newly inaugurated Cornwall and West Devon Mining WHS Award in recognition of its contribution to enhancing the Outstanding Universal Value of the WHS.
The Brewery was an important part of the commercial landscape and economy of Redruth during the mining era. As a service industry supporting the mining community and as part of the eco-system of the mining era, in which mining entrepreneurs invested, it was an important part of the historic landscape. The re-purposing of the brewery provides a sustainable future for an important building, using appropriate traditional and contemporary materials, and following good conservation principles as well as attaining high energy efficiency.
The redevelopment has set a very high standard and, in so doing, new expectations for the quality of development on this site. Whilst not being a feature of Outstanding Universal Value in its own right, Kresen Kernow is likely to have a positive impact on future projects within the wider development site that are attributes of OUV.