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David Nossiter unveils barn-to-home conversion

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David Nossiter Architects has completed this barn conversion on the Essex/Suffolk border


The large barn sits within a complex of farm buildings that originally belonged to Assington Hall which burned down in the fifties. 

The main part of the work included the refurbishment of the roof to allow the existing structure to be viewed internally. Roofing slates and timber were salvaged from other structures on the site and a warm roof was created. 

Externally the barn has been clad in larch while original openings have been filled in with glazing set back from the line of the wall. 

The building’s internal layout has created large 8m-tall open plan spaces.

Site plan

Church Hill Barn by David Nossiter Architects

Church Hill Barn by David Nossiter Architects

Ground floor plan

Church Hill Barn by David Nossiter Architects

Church Hill Barn by David Nossiter Architects


Church Hill Barn by David Nossiter Architects

Church Hill Barn by David Nossiter Architects

Architect’s view

The site, situated on the Essex/Suffolk borders within the landscape immortalised by Constable was originally the home farm of the nearby Assington Hall Estate, destroyed by fire in the 1950s. It consists of a collection of farm buildings forming a courtyard. The centrepiece of the site with views over the rural landscape is a large barn of cathedral-like proportions. 

Cruciform in plan with a collection of smaller spaces surrounding it, the arrangement sought to provide shelter for different farming activities under a single roof. The barn complex is the legacy of one of its pioneering exponents of the model farm movement John Gurdon Esquire, the original owner. 

Oversized bespoke glazed sliding doors fill the hipped gable porches, allowing views from the courtyard towards open fields. Two 3m2 roof lights allow day light deep into the interior of the eight-metre tall central spaces. 

Polished concrete flooring flows throughout. It was decided early on during the design process to keep the spaces as open plan as possible. Where necessary partitions and screens are designed as over scaled furniture. Freestanding and constructed from birch faced plywood sheets, they help to organise the spaces, providing privacy for bathrooms and sleeping areas.

Project data 

Location Suffolk
Type of project barn conversion
Architect David Nossiter Architects
Client confidential
Structural engineer AFP Consult
Contract client as project manager
Start on site 2014
Completed 2016

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