A sensitive contemporary conversion to office accommodation


The brief:

Simple, to convert the existing curtallage listed barn into an office on a minimal budget.

The approach:

This conversion is for office use, utilizing the ground floor only and keeping construction cost to a minimum.

We wanted to achieve an aesthetic of today, with movement and a clear visual story of development.

Glazing a barn conversion is always more difficult than it may appear, it is essential to achieve the required natural lighting and ventilation for the occupants, while not over domesticating what was a windowless agricultural building.

Vertical windows fixed between the existing timber studs of the buildings frame was considered, but we designed a horizontal system to be fitted inside of the existing frame instead.

This gave the freedom to choose windows sizes which did not correspond to the frame, creating a layering and a sense of depth and movement, and importantly for the budget, can utilise 'off the shelf' windows avoiding multiple specialist made units to conform to the undulating timbers.

This internal system connects into the thermal lining of the office, which forms a box within the existing barn frame, leaving the frame intact and able to breath, and allowing wildlife to use the roof spaces which remain accessible above the office 'box' below.

The horizontal nature of the windows, with vertical windows to 'punctuate' the fenestration gives movement to the façade. The timber surrounds and shutters accentuate the aesthetic while the layering is clear and honest in visually describing the timber cladding, timber frame and internal 21st century conversion.

Design details:

Placing the window units to the inside of the existing barn frame. This allows for the continuous construction of the internal linings, including insulation, vapour control layer and breather membrane. this approach will provide a greater opportunity for airtightness and thermal performance reducing heating demands and being better for the environment.

With the large southern glazed opening to capture the suns energy and the internal lining and window system, the conversion has a designed in potential for supper low energy consumption with the use of mechanical ventilation and heat recovery and solar thermal collectors.

The project so far:

The design was successfully granted Listed Building Consent and Planning Permission in April 2015 by Mid Suffolk District Council