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Work starts on 31/44’s ‘playful’ Norfolk barn conversion


Construction has started on 31/44 Architects’ conversion of a steel-framed barn in rural Norfolk into a family home and weekend retreat

According to the planning conditions, the proposed four-bedroom scheme must be housed ’entirely within the 455m² shed’, with the steel frame retained.

Three sides of the existing structure in Hall Road, Alderford, near Norwich, will be reclad with vertical timber louvres and corrugated metal, while the fourth, western elevation, with views to open countryside, will be mostly glazed.

The project close to the Bernard Matthews farm includes a 15m indoor swimming pool, plywood living spaces and a helical stair built within a silo-like corrugated steel drum.

Work is expected to complete in July next year.

2 3144 1711 church farm section

Church Farm barn - section

Church Farm barn - section

Architect’s view

In its form and materialisation the architecture preserves the memory of the building as a functioning agricultural space whilst accommodating new domestic uses with an additional level of comfort and refinement.

The existing metal roof will be replaced and fitted with new roof lights bringing natural daylight deep into the plan.

On three sides of the building, the perimeter of the house is set in from the barn edge, creating sheltered external pocket gardens and transitional spaces protected by the roof.

These transitional spaces open into an extensive, partly productive, series of gardens. The front elevation is quiet and restrained, in respect of its immediate neighbours.

A new helical stair within a corrugated steel drum, visible on the entrance elevation, is redolent of an agricultural silo. The rear elevation is more dynamic; a break in the louvred screen reveals the double-height curtain-walling behind, allowing uninterrupted views across the landscape.  

Ground floor plan church farm 31 44

Ground floor plan church farm 31 44

Ground floor plan

Project data

Address Church Farm Barn, Hall Road, Alderford, Norfolk
Architect 31/44 Architects
Project architect Kate Nicklin
Structural engineer Fluid Structures
Services engineer XCO2
Gross internal area 455m²
Building contractor Draper & Nichols
Project manager Andrew Morton Associates
Quantity surveyor Andrew Morton Associates
Pool consultant Swimming Pool Design
Value Undisclosed
Start on site September 2018
Completion July 2019
Client Private

1 3144 1711 church farm rear elevation

Rear elevation

Rear elevation


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Readers' comments (2)

  • Fantastic! And coming to an Atcost shed near you?

    The planners seem to be relaxed for once, and there enough of these sheds. There will be even more free at the point of use with the evaporation of CAP and the aggregation of farms? A dry working environment, and eminently suitable for fabrication of components or rooms off site.

    Another way forward?

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  • I suspect that the many Atcost (precast concrete portal framed) sheds kicking around the countryside might prove to be rather less conversion-friendly than the steel framed variety of farm shed illustrated here.

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