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Martello Tower Y, by Piercy Conner Architects with Billings Jackson Industrial Design

MANSER MEDAL SHORTLIST Martello Tower Y is one of 103 ingeniously designed artillery towers that were built from 1805 at vulnerable points around the south and east coasts to resist Napoleonic invasion

Conversion issues were manifold. Firstly, bureaucratic – how to deal with a scheduled ancient monument. Then there is the tricky matter of how to introduce services into a structure with 3.65m-thick walls in a way that is both elegant and does not compromise what is inevitably a series of tight spaces.

Finally, there is the circular configuration: how to design in a way that sees the shape as an advantage not hindrance to creativity. The architects’ sensitive response is typified by the beauty of the exposed domed brickwork and the indoor-outdoor roof terrace which is oversailed but not enclosed, leaving a third of the roof area open to the considerable elements and providing views across the Suffolk levels and the sea. 

In line with best conservation practice, the history of the building has been preserved – details of the gun emplacements coexist with the barbecue apparatus. This secondary living area features the magnificent, kiln-like brick vaulting that gives the project its poetic quality.

Credits 

Architect Piercy Conner Architects with Billings Jackson Industrial Design
Client Duncan and Kristin Jackson
Contractor Rosewoods
Structural engineer Price & Myers/JP Chick and Partners
Services engineer Norman Disney & Young
Contract value £400,000
Date of completion January 2010

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