Abbey Barns

Bespoke Office Conversion


This bespoke office facility, now occupied by a prominent local housebuilder, was converted from two derelict pigsheds and provides light and airy accommodation with views of the medieval barn opposite, previously converted by CGA.

The site presented a number of challenges, not least proximity to a GI medieval barn and an attractive Listed farmhouse. The project attracted the close scrutiny of the local authority.

To minimise impact upon the setting, the link element between the two sheds is designed as a delicate ribbon of roof, floating above a glass enclosure. This enclosure, along with the two converted sheds, defines an intimate, private courtyard.

Both converted wings address this courtyard with opening, glazed ‘cloister’ facades. Internally, pitched rafters, tied with stainless steel rods, provide vaulted workspace. Running alongside in ‘nave and aisle’ configuration are more intimate, flanking flat roofed zones, one of which forms the cloistered frontage to the courtyard.

The building ‘continues’ the Abbey Farm masterplan, which shows CGA’s ability to work both with and immediately next to historic structures, be they fine, medieval timber framed barns or humble, derelict animal pens.

The wings are restored and extended in a carefully chosen buff brick in lime mortar, with areas of knapped flint. Natural slate roofs, with lead detailing to the link and ‘cloister’ complete a limited, high quality palette. The structural frame is timber, some of which is laminated. Connections are highlighted by use of stainless steel rods, flitch plates and ties.

The building does the basics well. Built tight and well insulated, excessive solar gain is reduced by exaggerated eaves depths and mitigated by glass specification. The building has underfloor heating and ultra high efficiency boilers. Lighting is sensor controlled. The scheme combines traditional craftsmanship and materiality with a current office interior.

Architect: Cowper Griffith

Str. Engineer: Roberts Hay Partnership

Main Contractor: Winterbuild