Sleep Snugly Behind 13 Foot Thick Walls In Converted Martello Tower

martello tower conversion residential photo

Image credit: Sam Lucas

Three years ago we wrote about the amazing conversion of an english Martello Tower into a home by Piercy Conner Architects. There wasn't a lot of information available about it at the time, but there is now; It was short-listed for a RIBA award and John Glancey, architectural critic for the Guardian, recently covered it in the nicely titled Napoleon-proof your home: convert a Martello tower.

Adaptive reuses of historic buildings can be problematic and expensive, and sometimes there are real questions about whether it should be done at all. The owner explains the problem and how he overcame it:

martello-tower conversion photo

image credit: Edmund Sumner
"We made friends with the conservation and planning people. We needed them on our side. There are people who say the towers shouldn't become homes because this takes away from their historic role. But if they aren't going to be lived in, what's to happen to them? Those that hadn't been blasted away during target practice by the military have often been left to rot, and then demolished."

martello-tower conversion photo

image credit: Edmund Sumner

Glancey concludes that it was worth the trouble:

The overall effect is magical: brick fort on the outside, palatial home within. The main space, approached from the entrance lobby, is breathtaking, with the climb up the spiral stairs enjoyably spooky, and the top floor a revelation: all light, space and comfort, with little hint of ostentation. But then you don't need decoration when you have the sea and all its moods just beyond the parapet, with ships hoving in and out of view, and sunlight playing over that lichen-encrusted brickwork throughout the day.

More in the Guardian.
More Martello and other adaptive reuses:
A Use For Every Building Dept: Martello Tower
Water Tower Converted into Residence
Water Tower House by Jo Crepain
18 Weird and Wonderful Places To Live: Churches, Bunkers, Water Towers and Caves

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