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An exclusive Formby home, Firwood Hall, wins prestigious regional award

An exclusive Formby home has been named as the ‘Best Individual New Home’ at a prestigious regional awards ceremony. The prestigious development of the Firwood estate in which Firwood Hall stands, took the title at the LABC (Local Authority Building Control) North West Building Excellence Awards at the Emirates, Old Trafford in Manchester. The awards showcase buildings and designed teams that have faced complex technical or construction issues and building site constraints, whilst also celebrating innovative smart solutions around the region. Sefton Council’s building control team advised over compliance with the building regulations during construction of the property, which is owned by Mike McComb. The contractors Creative Design & Build (North West) Ltd and the project architects RAL Architect Ltd were all also recognised. Stuart Barnes, Sefton Council’s head of economic growth and housing, says: “This has been a long term, unique and complex project, and taken its time to reach delivery." “During this period there have been a number of design alterations, client-led and technical, that have required a collaborative approach between all parties, including the council’s building control team." “The results of the ambition of the land owner and the quality of the design and execution have rightly been recognised, and the LABC award is a worthy accolade.” Rob Anderson, from RAL Architects, adds: “Delivering a home of this quality requires a collaborative effort between architect, builder and the local authority with all parties appreciating the end goal but, above all it requires a client with vision who is willing to put significant trust in the project team." “RAL is extremely pleased with the end result and are delighted to have the efforts of all involved recognised with an LABC Building Excellence Award.”

Firewood Hall owner, Mr Mike McComb said: "I'm delighted for the architects, RAL architecture and Creative Design & bulid as they are both local companies".

"A lot of local employment was created and i am very proud of the result".

The entrance to the mansion is dominated by a central stone four columned ionic portico with modillions, finials and pediment. The front door leads to a central hallway around which internal spaces are arranged.

But it is the outstanding £400k stairway which is the jewel in the crown for Firwood Hall. This award winning French limestone staircase with a complex 320-degree curved self supporting structure is a "World First’. This helical stair runs through all three floors culminating in a decorative domed roof lantern which floods the centre of house with light.

The breath-taking, stone staircase that springs from one landing and sweeps unsupported through 320 degrees to the next with the grace and audacity of the post-tensioned stone stair that has a total weight of approximately 6.6 tonnes. The shape of the stair was sculpted to maximise impact by making the edges of the treads as thin as possible, while along the central spine two post-tensioned cables hold the entire stair together.

Inspired by the stone masons who build France's mythic cathedrals. Pierre Bidaud, project manager at the midlands based company, is a former member of a Compagnons du Devoir, a guild of artisans based in Paris. Pierre left France and set up his own firm in England, dedicated to creating seeming free-standing stone structures that appear to float on air. The team of craftsmen and engineers use the the technique of post-tensioning. Their structures are threaded with hidden, steel cables. Although the final result might appear handmade, the structures are mapped out in precise detail using the latest software.

The staircase also won an award for the excellence in structural engineering for the amazing design. This was the award for the staircase:

The house extends to 22,000 sqft and includes 8 en-suite bedrooms with a leisure annex. The building employs typical classical symmetry in its layout, with neo-classical Georgian proportions completing the overall aesthetic.

The rear of Firwood Hall

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