James Gorst Architects, Suffolk, 2003


Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

The south elevation of the extension is designed to take advantage of the views 

Stephen Tierney, Sandy Rendel, Mark Luscombe-Whyte and Mark Fiennes     Download Original

  • The south elevation of the extension is designed to take advantage of the views    
  • Detail of south elevation showing new extension meeting refurbished house    
  • East elevation of new extension and reflecting pool    
  • The more closed north elevation    
  • The library with its southerly view    
  • Only in the master bedroom are beams exposed in the new work    
  • Interior of master bedroom in the new extension    
  • View from the new to the old    
  • View from the old to the new    
  • Small panes of handmade glass provide dappled light when the sun shines    
  • The language of the new work is continued in the timber-framed cottages, where a day-lit stair has been installed    
  • The converted barn and existing pond    
  • The barn is lined in a fireproof birch ply. Locally produced clay paviours have been used for the floor in the main living and kitchen area    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Section AA    
  • Wakelins was superficially unappealing despite its Grade II listing    
  • About 40% of the timber frame was beyond repair and had to be replaced    
  • English Oak was used for new elements of the timber frame, jointed and pegged in the traditional manner    
  • The roof was clad in locally made clay tiles, and the chimney stacks rebuilt    
  • The existing buildings were stripped back to the frame    
  • The reconstruction work was carried out in close collaboration with local contractors    
  • Local contractors on site    
  • Existing fabric is stripped back    
  • Exterior of the existing building during construction    
  • Roofing on the converted barn    
  • Interior of existing under construction    
  • The new wing is a prefabricated softwood timber structure, made in a boatyard in Beccles and erected on site in 10 days.    
  • The flat roof of the new wing is sedum-planted    
  • Isometric and section details    
  • Library details    

Conservation and restoration of Grade II listed Tudor Suffolk farmhouse, conversion of adjacent barn and construction of a contemporary oak clad two-storey extension

Originally a group of medieval cottages the existing buildings had been crudely extended and altered over the years, and were superficially unappealing, despite the Grade II listing. The existing buildings were in very poor condition and required extensive careful repairs and restoration, with lime render used externally in the local tradition.

The interior of the former cottages had been reconfigured to form one large house, with kitchen, dining room and music room on the ground floor and bedrooms and bathrooms on the first floor. The new extension, uncompromisingly modern in appearance, provides a library and study on the ground floor, with master bedroom and bathroom upstairs.

The existing structure and new extension are connected internally at ground and first floor levels, creating a clear spatial flow between the restored and the entirely new elements. Externally the form and materiality of the oak clad extension provides a clear visual contrast to the historic building that it joins.

The adjacent former barn has also been carefully and extensively restored and reconfigured to provide additional living spaces.


  • Begun: Nov 2001
  • Completed: 2003
  • Floor area: 151m2
  • Sector: House
  • Total cost: £443,940
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Nov 2001
  • Procurement: Negotiated fixed fee plus prime cost
  • Address: Wickhambrook, Suffolk, CB8 8UX, United Kingdom

Professional Team