Airfield has always been a working farm. Visitors had come to love the unkempt nature of the place. With increasing popularity and visitor numbers the balance between working farm, landscape maintenance, wear-and-tear and safety was becoming more difficult to achieve. The brief, therefore, was to improve access, facilitate larger numbers, add new ‘infrastructure’ but at the same time retain the character of the place.
To retain the character of the place all of the new functions had to be integrated so that the experience began, not in the gardens, or at the fields, but at the entrance and at the car park. The large new car parks are treated as gardens in their own right and this approach has attracted a lot of favourable comment. The materials of the car park are brought though the site and reappear in the horticultural, teaching and art courtyards. Grey water harvesting and recycling has also been integrated in a reed landscape. New routes are created through the walled gardens and the Victorian arboretum to establish the new museum as one of a sequence of space, internal and external.
The farm is the reason Airfield exists and it remains the core attraction for children and families. A maximum farm size was retained and protected, with circulation and access improved. The wilder character of the farm area and associated hedgerow and woodland walks was carefully preserved. The process here was a process of elimination, careful clearing and pruning, as opposed to the construction of new spaces.