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The Old Sail Loft

Conversion of Grade II listed building to design studio

Being a client is a good experience for an Architect as it enables one to fully understand the process from the client perspective.  So it was that the practice undertook a small development project to create our own studio.  Having found a suitable but very neglected old building and after lengthy negotiations to secure the property, we set about the design and management of the project.

The building is Grade II listed and is believed to have began its life as a sail loft, when the River Taw ran up to what is now Castle Street.  It has had different uses during its life including a printer’s workshop for a time.  For the last 40 years however it was largely unused and unloved; holes in the roof, pigeons, ivy growing down the walls inside and a gable end that decided to part company from the rest of the structure presented some technical challenges!

In addition we sought to find a design solution that was both sustainable and affordable, something which balanced the need to respect the character of the original building with the desire to create a contemporary office environmentally appropriate for an Architect’s studio.

Externally, the stone walls are limewashed and the roof is finished with natural slate.  Limewash was also applied as an internal finish to the exposed brickwork. The gable end was rebuilt in structural timber framing, to reduce the weight on the structure below and allow increased amounts of insulation at the same time.  This part of the building is finished in timber cladding which hints at the building’s origins to which we have remained true.

Client:  Peregrine Mears Architects Ltd.
Status:  Completed 2008
Value: £ undisclosed