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Architectural inspiration wins top accolade for innovative project

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Mill FarmThe inspired design of a highly innovative and imaginative project, creating both a unique four storey residence and a garden inside a listed Methodist chapel building, has won a top accolade in the Jersey Design Awards, presented every second year.

The awards, which recognise and celebrate the work of local architects, named Barnes Collie Architects as winners in the Best Small Scale Refurbishment or Remodelling category for their design of a project at the former Gorey Methodist Chapel, in Grouville.

The project was carried out by Developers and Main Contractors Larsen, who bought, developed and built the scheme.

After Larsen acquired the site, the architects’ brief was to achieve the best possible design to maximise the owner’s return.  They experimented with a variety of ideas from flats to a nightclub, but the scheme that eventually won through was to build a four storey house together with a garden, inside the church. Bruce Robinson from Larsen group said: “I’ve always wanted to put a tree in an atrium in the middle of a church, so this is where the idea began.”Gorey Church

“We started with the blank canvas of a former church – not the easiest of spaces to form a home in. However, taking into account the planning restrictions, it soon became clear that forming a single home in the space was the most viable approach,” said Mr Dale Fischer of Barnes Collie Architects.

The concept was to build a partially glazed box within the building. The church building is listed and protected as a Building of Local Interest.  This meant that with the notable exception of a continuous rooflight two metres below the ridge of the roof on either side, no exterior changes were permitted to the listed facade.

The interior of the church had previously been sectioned off into smaller spaces with a covered ceiling at eaves level. This was completely stripped out leaving only the trusses and roof in position. Gorey Church

A four bedroom house was then constructed in about two thirds of the building, leaving a full height atrium rising to 14 metres at one end, beneath which a Moroccan style garden, complete with garden style furniture and minimal planting, has been created. The house features a kitchen, dining area and living space on the ground floor, with a master and two secondary bedrooms on the floor above, a third floor comprising bedroom and study areas, and the top storey comprising a deck space with a Jacuzzi and entertaining area. A whole house ventilation system has also been installed to ensure fresh air internally.Gorey Church

The entire wall of the house overlooking the garden is glazed, with further light pouring in from the church windows of the original elevations (which form the remaining walls of the house), and the innovative rooflight which was a key element of the project. The resulting internal top lit space has returned the interior to something like it must have been when first built.

The entire house is digitally wired with remote controllers to operate from key locations and a high quality sound system runs throughout. The house is heated and cooled with an air-to-water heat pump feeding to underfloor heating and has a whole house ventilation system.  To avoid a secondary means of escape, a fire sprinkler system has been installed.  It has a full height atrium and on the top floor and a hot tub with views out the sea.  This house within a church is a highly insulated eco-friendly high specification dwelling.Mill Farm

The conversion of the building inside has breathed life back into an imposing but neglected structure in a desirable residential area of the Island. This is a refurbishment with a difference. It is one which has undoubtedly made the most of the existing structure without compromising on a contemporary style and finish for the interior.

“The project went smoothly. We have worked with this client/contractor a number of times and have built up a fairly good working relationship with them,” said Mr Fischer.Mill Farm

In addition to winning the Best Small Scale Refurbishment or Remodelling category, Barnes Collie won a commendation in the same category for their work at  The Mill Farm, Rue du Moulin, St Martin.

This project involved the refurbishment and extension of a home which had originally been a mill and had fallen into disrepair. The original rather narrow internal spaces did not lend themselves to modern open plan living, so an extension was constructed to the rear of the building to address this. The extension incorporates a large open plan kitchen beneath a high vaulted roof incorporating glazed elements, with large expanses of double sliding glazed doors overlooking a nearby forest and a small dam.

There were originally plans to convert the home into two houses; however Bruce Robinson from Larsen group noted that this would have been at the expense of a lovely home.

Instead, the original house was given an external facelift, which involved removing old concrete render and repointing the walls with lime. Internally, the walls were lined with a waterproof membrane and a second skin of insulation was added.

“The build went very well,” said Mr Fischer.

Projects carried out by Barnes Collie Architects within the residential sector include those involving new build, extension, historic buildings and refurbishment. The practice also undertakes projects within the education, leisure/culture and offices/retail sectors.

Other accolades won by Barnes & Collie include those in the 2002 Jersey Design Awards for La Hogue Cottage – Best New Building and Belle Vue – Best Large Scale Development; 2004 Jersey Design Awards for Le Coin – Best Small House/Renovation and 2008 Jersey Design Awards for Petit Menage Stables – Best Small Scale Refurbishment.

Bruce Robinson from Larsen group said: “We are passionate about bringing old buildings back to life and restoring their former glory. We like to revitalise the traditional aspects of design using innovative modern concepts that serve to unite the past with the future.”

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