The Gissing Hall Project
Bringing back to life historical buildings often involves understanding the risks and opportunities related to the conversion of architecture’s functions. Working with listed buildings both in the United Kingdom and Italy we appreciate how fine the border bewteen conservation and building design sometimes can be. Both disciplines use the language of architecture and both requires deep understanding of its structural grammar.
At the beginning of 2013 Marcel Mauer Architecture have been appointed to carry out a conservation, refurbishment and extension design for the grade II listed Gissing Hall located in Gissing, South Norfolk. The original house, once the mansion of the Kemp family, has been built in various different phases from the 15th Century to Victorian times. The current estate has been thus conceived as the rectory and residence of Reverend Sir William Robert Kemp at the beginning of 19th Century. Today Gissing Hall is privately run as hotel and restaurant.
Our project seeks to improve the structural health and decorative apparatus of the house while upgrading its systems to guarantee an efficient use of the space for its current purpose. Learning from the building’s history and with the supervision of the South Norfolk Conservation department, we developed the Gissing Hall Manual, which translates the complexity of architectural conservation into a series of simple maintenance routines edited in the fashion of a ship’s journal.
Phase I comprises the partial demolition of a low quality annex built in the 1970’s to the back of the house towards North and the construction of a new art gallery and public cafe.
Phase II will involve the construction of a pavillion to replace the existing prefabricated marquee to house music events, art exhibitions, space for a green house and a swimming pool.
The new brief was for us a great opportunity to integrate historical and contemporary building forms into an articulated narrative. Phase II will play a key part in lowering the carbon emissions and improving energy management for both the old and the new buildings.