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James Gorst reveals plans for timber community hall in rural Suffolk

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James Gorst Architects has unveiled proposals for a 292m² single-storey timber frame community hall in Framlingham, rural Suffolk

The scheme will replace the 130-year-old St Michael’s Rooms close to the Grade I-Listed St Michael’s Church and Framlingham Castle. According to the practice, the exisitng structure is in poor condition, has no insulation and has subsidence issues due to being ’supported on steel plinths on basic, shallow foundations’.

The architect has been working on the concept for Framlingham Parochial Church Council (PCC) and Framlingham Town Council since early 2018.

The new building will feature a large main hall with a vaulted ceiling and glazed dormer together with a small meeting room, office, kitchen, store and toilet.

It has been designed to meet the ongoing needs of current users, such as dance classes, lunch clubs and children’s play groups, and ’be flexible enough to accommodate myriad future user group, for example the local film club’.

Subject to planning, the scheme could start on site this autumn.

James gorst framlingham axo

James gorst framlingham axo

Architect’s view

Our design proposes a lightweight timber frame building with specialist piled foundations to mitigate any potential impact on archaeology and the mature trees around the site. The form, scale and massing of the building have been carefully considered to ensure the new church hall has a discreet presence onto the streetscape while also offering a generous glazed porch to welcome people into the building.

The focus of the building is a large main hall with a vaulted ceiling and glazed dormer with views across the churchyard towards St Michael’s Church. Ancillary spaces including a small meeting room, office, kitchen, store and toilets are grouped either side of the hall with a double-height entrance foyer connecting to Church Street. The roof and walls are clad in standing seam zinc with double-glazed timber frame windows and doors.

A key aim of the project is to deliver a sustainable building that will use renewable technologies and high-quality, natural materials to ensure the building makes a positive contribution to the town and complements the surrounding built fabric.

The client and design team are dedicated to using environmental strategies to ensure the building will be well insulated, airtight, easy to maintain and have low energy consumption when in use. We are designing from a fabric first approach to minimise the amount of mechanical systems needed to heat and ventilate the building, with passive technology preferred. We will use a borehole and ground source heat pump to provide heat.

Smcr18 model photo 02

Smcr18 model photo 02

Project data

Project Name St Michael’s Community Rooms
Location Framlingham, Suffolk
Client Framlingham Parochial Church Council
Architect James Gorst Architects
Landscape Designer To be confirmed
Structural Engineer Stroud Associates
M&E Consultant To be confirmed
Quantity Surveyor Hyams QS
Project Manager James Gorst Architects
GIA 292m²
Start on site date Autumn 2020
Planning Type Pre-application
Current RIBA Stage 2
Construction Budget Undisclosed

Photo 09 05 2018, 11 04 28 (2) churchyard elevation

The existing building - churchyard elevation

The existing building - churchyard elevation

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