The Orangery, Norwich

McCloy + Muchemwa, Norfolk, 2021



All photographs Simon Kennedy and McCloy + Muchemwa     Download Original

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For this renovation of a dilapidated garage in Norwich, removing an asbestos roof was the priority. However, this presented an opportunity to boldly re-configure the building and garden.

The project included myriad options within the relatively small (£5-6K) budget that would require imagination, recycled materials + lateral thinking.

Formerly the garage was dark, cluttered and had issues with pests; making it virtually unusable. Now it is a safer, better functioning, and enjoyable space – with generous and considered storage solutions.

The project's sustainability lies in reuse; improvements to the existing structure promise to extend the working life of the building and have been undertaken to minimise the waste taken off site. A naturally lit interior provides a workspace for messy hobbies like bike maintenance, DIY, and pottery with electricity generated on-site by solar panels.

The greenhouse/orangery supports vegetable patches and fruit trees in providing home-grown food, while the water-collecting pergola offers both shelter and shade. The interventions have resulted in a positive lifestyle change for the owners, who now spend much of their free time relaxing, eating meals and entertaining outdoors.

The project was designed so that the DIY build could happen in small phases over non-consecutive weekends. The size and type of metal roofing panels were selected to reduce safety risks and minimise the number of joints. The greenhouse is fabricated as lightweight frames which are lifted and fixed into place from below; reducing working height significantly.

The profiled black cladding provides a high-contrast backdrop, which emphasises the colours of the garden. The bright orange makes the seven-metre span of the pergola's steel beam really 'pop', and for the interior, is used to enhance visual coherence across many individual details. A triangular motif repeats throughout the project too; from the structural expression down to small details such as the shelf brackets.

Annual CO2 data was not provided


  • Begun: Jul 2020
  • Completed: Sep 2021
  • Floor area: 50m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £6,000
  • Tender date: Jun 2020
  • Procurement: Self-build
  • Address: Lonsdale Road, Norfolk, NR13 6QW, United Kingdom

Professional Team