The building was the first private house and the first renovation to receive the UK's top architectural award in its 18 years of history. The customer of the project was Landmark Trust, a public organization that supports its architectural monuments by renting them out for short-term rent to everyone who wants to have a rest outside the city.
Astley's estate is basically a 12th-century moat-walled noble dwelling that was completely burned out in 1978. Over the years, the ruin has become even more dilapidated and overgrown with trees until it was taken over by Witherford Watson Mann Architects, who won the corresponding competition in 2007.
Since after the Middle Ages, something new was added to the building almost every century, the architects could not choose the period that was worth making the starting point for the reconstruction of the monument. Therefore, they decided to add another layer to the eight centuries of history - already today. During the reconstruction, all the details were taken into account - from the pattern of the brickwork to the perspectives of the surrounding landscape. The authors of the project see adding pieces of the 21st century to the walls of the 12th, 15th, 17th centuries as creating a dialogue through the centuries.
The Sterling Prize has been awarded annually since 1996 by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to the best building built by a member within Europe.