A Use For Every Building Dept: Martello Tower


We do go on about how almost any building can be adapted to almost any use; Justin points us to this conversion of a Martello tower into a weekend retreat. Martello towers were built by the British in the early 1800's around the world; there are three in Kingston, Ontario built to ward off American invaders. They had thick stone walls below, a single big gun on a pivot, and a light wood roof that would get blown away instantly. There is not a lot of information about this conversion by Piercy Conner Architects on the Suffolk Coast of England, other than you don't want to blow away this roof; it cost £95,000.


From AEC Magazine:

"The Suffolk tower is in an area of outstanding natural beauty," explains Stuart Piercy, founding partner of Piercy Conner. "In addition, it has monument status, which puts it in the same protection category as Nelson's Column. We knew we would have to come up with an extremely sympathetic design since the planning restrictions would be fierce." The internal design would have its own challenges, but it was the roof that would have to satisfy the planners. "From the start we knew we wanted a contemporary, floating roof," says Piercy. "This presented two main challenges: satisfying the planning department and designing something that could actually be built within budget."


Piercy and his team began designing the roof of the tower, initially taking their inspiration from a stealth bomber. "We thought about juxtaposing the defence style of today with that of 200 years ago," explains Piercy. "But the planners were having none of it." The next design direction proved more popular. "We settled on a curved, clam shell shape, that would appear to float above the tower." The architects created a series of CAD models to show the planners exactly how much of the roof would be visible from the ground. Satisfied that the soft, unobtrusive design would blend well into the tower and its surroundings, the planners gave their consent for the project to continue.

and ::AEC Magazine


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