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The scale model of the winning design ‘I Am Archive’ which will be installed next year


The winning design has been announced at a National Trust mansion house for a new archive room to showcase Croome’s extensive historic records in imaginative and surprising ways.

Two shortlisted designs have been on display during the summer at Croome, near Worcester, with visitors being encouraged to share their thoughts to help choose the final winner.

“Both proposals that we received were strong, which made it incredibly hard for us to choose,” said Clare Harris, Croome’s Creative Producer. “It was a difficult decision as the final scores were extremely close. Winning the competition by a 2% margin was 'I Am Archive'. This is the first time these individuals will have worked together on a project of this scale which embodies what we are aiming to do here at Croome. Like the 6th Earl of Coventry, during the 18th century, we are providing a platform for this fledgling practice to launch from. From the offset this group impressed us with their energy and enthusiasm for the project. I am looking forward to working more closely with them over the coming months.”

Archives are often considered the domain of the historian, researcher, with overtones of reading rooms, online catalogues and stores tucked well away from public view. Not everyone wants to be a researcher, but there is a growing appreciation of how important archival material is – we all create our own archive and a trail in life, whether we like it or not.

The new archive room project is not about recreating the Croome archive or even providing access to all of it, as the archive is carefully looked after at The Hive in Worcester. Instead, Croome seeks to create an imaginative and stimulating experience for visitors to explore what archives are all about, why Croome’s archive is so important and to help visitors reflect on their own archive in life.

The winning design has been created by ‘I Am Archive’ made up of Elena Thatcher, Ruth Hall and Max Jones. The group are a mix of theatre designers and architects who have proposed a really exciting response as they have drawn on their experiences of set and design. Over the next few months Croome we will be working closely with the group to develop their proposal for installation in 2017.

“As a fledgling design studio it has been an amazing opportunity for us to take part in this competition and work with such a highly regarded institution such as the National Trust,” said the ‘I Am Archive’ team. “We were very inspired by the pioneering spirit of Croome and the passion for innovation that has given the place such a special character. We were keen to engage with new audiences in our working practice and have found the process of developing our design concept alongside the team at Croome very rewarding. We are proud to have been awarded the final commission and look forward to further collaboration to create something unique and exciting in the archive room.”

Visitors can see the scale model of the winning design on the first floor of the house and now being encouraged to get involved with the next step – what stories will be told when ‘I Am Archive’ is installed next year.

Croome is open throughout the year. The park and lakeside are open from 10am until 5.30pm and Croome Court is open from 11am to 4.30pm every day. Normal admission applies.

For more information please call: 01905 371006 or visit the website

Photo credit: Andrew Butler