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AJ SPECIFICATION CASE STUDY

Diss Corn Hall refurbishment by Hudson Architects

Photos diss corn hall index
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The historic Grade II-listed Norfolk building, now an arts venue, has undergone a £1.7 million refurbishment. Photography by Joakim Boren

PROJECT DATASPECIFICATIONSAMPLES BOARD

Diss Corn Hall was built in 1854, occupying a prominent position in the Norfolk town’s historic centre. Today the Grade II-listed building is a leading East Anglian arts venue, operated by the Diss Corn Hall Trust. 

Hudson Architects has carried out a £1.7 million refurbishment and extension of the hall, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This has reinstated historic elements of the building, provided flexible support spaces and created additional space for heritage presentation and education. 

Dwgs diss corn hall1update

Dwgs diss corn hall1update

Photos diss corn hall2

Photos diss corn hall2

Source: Joakim Boren

The Corn Hall has been given a new entrance, approached from the street through a forecourt. A modern extension, which replaces the 1970s infill building, provides a new fully accessible public entrance and a double-height lobby containing a light and airy bar area and box office together with improved back-of-house facilities. 

A former stable to the rear now becomes a gallery, with additional display space on the extension’s wide first-floor landings. The main hall’s historic features have been restored, with major improvements to ventilation, acoustics, seating and lighting to bring it up to date as a performance venue. Other rooms have also been upgraded to provide high-quality spaces for meetings or small events. 

Sandra Muller, project architect, Hudson Architects

Dwgs diss corn hall2

Dwgs diss corn hall2

Photos diss corn hall3

Photos diss corn hall3

Source: Joakim Boren

Specification statement 

In its time, the Corn Hall was considered to be at the forefront of technology, with a cast-iron roof structure and rows of tall glazed lanterns covering 17 skylights which filled the trading hall with diffused light. These, however, had been replaced with unsympathetic 1970s rooflights of much smaller proportions than the originals. Large shutters beneath the rooflights, to black out light during performance, could not be opened, forcing the need for artificial lighting, even during daytime. 

Hudson Architects has inserted 12 light boxes of the same proportions as the original rooflights between the existing cast-iron beams. These are formed using acoustically absorbent fabric with the lighting behind it, creating a glowing box that can both simulate daylight and deliver mood lighting for other events, allowing flexibility in use. New performance lighting rigs have also been installed.

Photos diss corn hall5

Photos diss corn hall5

Source: Joakim Boren

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Dwgs diss corn hall6

Elsewhere, rooflights to the council chamber on the first floor have been retained and restored. In addition to the artificial lighting, careful consideration has been given to daylighting, in particular in the new extension where a large rooflight floods the lobby and bar area beneath with natural light and also brings daylight into new display and circulation areas on the first‑floor landing.

Sandra Muller, project architect, Hudson Architects

Photos diss corn hall4

Photos diss corn hall4

Source: Joakim Boren

Project data

Start on site January 2016 
Completion April 2017
Gross internal floor area 850m2
Form of contract JCT Intermediate Building Contract with contractor’s design 2011 
Construction cost £1.7 million
Construction cost per m² £2,012
Architect Hudson Architects
Client Diss Town Council
Structural engineer Conisbee
M&E consultant Mott MacDonald
Quantity surveyor Currie & Brown
Project manager Sheila Moss King
CDM coordinator Currie & Brown
Main contractor Pentaco
CAD software used Vectorworks

Materials board

Materials board

Dwgs diss corn hall3

Dwgs diss corn hall3

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Dwgs diss corn hall4

Dwgs diss corn hall5

Dwgs diss corn hall5

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