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Emerging firms shortlisted in Horsham office-to-resi contest

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Alma-nac, Takero Shimazaki and vPPR are among five teams competing for a ‘contemporary skin’ to wrap around an office-to-residential conversion in Horsham, West Sussex

TDO Architecture and Haptic Architects complete the shortlist for the exterior-only, invited contest for developer-builder Shuttleworth UK.

The winning proposal will be harnessed for a £3 million conversion of the historic Prewetts Mill in the centre of the market town.

The 1861 flour mill, which features a 1970s office extension, already has permitted development planning permission for conversion into 45 low-cost flats.

The developer is planning to submit a revised application to raise the roof by 1.5m and increase the number of planned apartments by 10.

The five teams have until 24 October to draw up concepts for the wrap, which will replace the old window pattern, enhance the new interior layout and highlight the former car park and entrance sequence of the building.

The developer is planning to spend between £45,000 and £50,000 on each unit and £400,000-to-£500,000 on the external works.

According to the competition brief, ‘a holistic approach will have to be considered to complement the external envelope of the building with the landscaping of the site including both the sequence of entrance to the building and the embankment of the River Arun.

‘The proposal should seek to be aesthetically pleasing both externally and internally; the former office building should be enhanced through design and material use. At the same time, the elevations and the new roof should maximise the amount of daylight and sunlight entering the new apartments and make the most of the opportunity of the riverside location.

‘The architects are also expected to identify what they see as the “soul” in this conversion project and should have a clear vision on how this can be preserved in the new design.’

The five teams will receive £2,500 to participate in the competition’s design phase. Submissions will be judged on their quality, likelihood of winning planning, construction method, cost and value.

The winning team is set to be announced on 4 November and will receive £25,000 to develop drawings for a planning application in early December and to provide advice.

The full shortlist

  • Alma-nac Collaborative Architecture
  • Takero Shimazaki Architects
  • TDO Architecture
  • vPPR Architects
  • Haptic Architects
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