The Byre and Garret

Hugo Hardy Architect, Berkhamsted, 2019


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A sympathetic reuse of a derelict coalman's barn in Hertfordshire.

There is a complexity and richness of material culture along this hidden but public thoroughfare, with the ghosts and the ethereal hammer blows of forgotten working buildings.

A decision to sympathetically reuse a derelict coalman’s barn meant there was a clear typology and character that the design could enhance. The design is defined by honest structural expression, agrarian-natured reclaimed and local handmade materials, and consideration of the patina of age, all employed with crisp contemporary detailing.

Inherent is a recognition of the simple functionality embodied in the use of barn boarded shutters, doors and cladding. A rare half-round window with lapped glazing has been considerately preserved. Structurally the existing brick shell is elegantly in filled with a braced timber frame acting as stilts for the new upper floor and roof, a simple trussed building braced with Cor-ten weathering steel. Too often in the wrong hands, the converting of old barns destroy the essential reason for the conversion of the old building.


  • Begun: Jun 2018
  • Completed: Jan 2019
  • Floor area: 80m2
  • Total cost: £200,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Apr 2018
  • Procurement: Prime Cost (Phase 1 Restoration) and Self Build Contract (1st Floor)
  • Address: 123 George Street, Berkhamsted, HP42EJ, United Kingdom