Every now and then you come across a building that just literally makes your jaw drop and leaves you momentarily stunned into silence. So it was with Gawthorpe Barn, near Burnley in Lancashire. The exterior is impressive enough, but that does little to prepare you for that first time you enter the cavernous interior of the aisled barn.

In 2014, OA North was invited by the National Trust to record what is undoubtedly one of the most impressive barns in England. A full 3D survey of the barn was carried out using all the digital building recording techniques available to us, including laser scanning and a topographic survey by photogrammetry using our in-house UAV.

The barn, which is part of the Gawthorpe Hall estate, dates to around 1605. Much of the timber work is largely original, including parts of a cattle stall, one of the earliest surviving in the country. Each of the trusses is supported by a padstone or plinth, some of which are up to 2.5m high, and the knave of the barn soars to around 10m creating a cathedral-like space.

The 3D survey proved to be very effective, allowing us not only to create a detailed picture of the barn, but also help to inform the programme of building repairs, which the National Trust planned to carry out through the year.