London-based firm Will Gamble Architects has breathed new life into a dilapidated building in the small village of Gretton, U.K. The complex consisted of a Grade II listed Victorian house, a disused cattle shed and a set of ruins of a former parchment factory. Although the project presented several challenges, the architects managed to strategically incorporate the existing structures, as well as several reclaimed materials found onsite, into the new design in lieu of complete demolition.
The Parchment Works House represents the best of green renovation that incorporates a deep respect for the past. Because the project involved restoring a Grade II listed Victorian home, the architects had to work within several building restrictions. Buildings listed as Grade II are legally protected from being demolished, so the designers were forced to get creative with a redesign.
The original plan called for renovating the home while incorporating the disused cattle shed. The adjacent complex, which only had stone walls remaining and was in complete ruins, was initially going to be demolished. However, Will Gamble Architects saw the value in incorporating the ruins into the new design via a “sensitive but well-conceived intervention.”
With a new green renovation plan underway, the project centered around using what was onsite for construction. Working within the focus of creating “a building within a building”, the process began by inserting two modern volumes within the complex’s existing structures. Using the old masonry walls as an envelope, the new house consists of a modern interior wrapped solidly in the site’s history and rural setting.
The two volumes are clad in a blend of weathered steel, oak and reclaimed brick. Additional materials found onsite were also upcycled for use throughout the Victorian home, enabling the architects to save on costs and make the renovation more sustainable.
The interior of the home is thoroughly minimalist and modern. Each room is filled with natural light. The kitchen is the heart of the home and doubles as a space for gathering. Despite the house’s modern design, the interior stone walls were repaired and washed in lime to create a mottled effect while the exposed ceiling beams were repurposed from the old cattle shed for a striking contrast between past and present.
Photography by John Dehlin via Will Gamble Architects