Hunsett Mill is an extension to a 19th century mill house in England’s Norfolk Broads National Park, near the coastal town of Great Yarmouth. The Norfolk Broads are a unique historic area with a wealth of architectural history; the area’s buildings range from historic windmills to creative renovations – click here for Zoopla properties for sale in the area.
The 2,292 square foot (213m2) green project won London-based studio Acme the RIBA Manser Medal 2010 for best new house in the UK, as well as the CPRE Norfolk Award 2010 – Campaign to Preserve Rural England.
The Hunsett Mill website comments: “Since the whole area around the mill constitutes protected conservation land, the aesthetic and sustainable value of the property is and has been of the utmost importance.”
The wooden structure is charred cedar on the exterior and left uncovered indoors for a natural and airy feel. Acme designed the extension to nestle into the existing structure’s shadow and be hidden from certain angles, in order to preserve the area’s sense of architectural continuity.
Acme comments on the Hunsett Mill website: “In order for the new extension to retreat behind the listed setting of the mill, the new addition is conceived as a shadow of the existing house. By adding a dark volume to the existing brick volume and by virtue of the chosen façade geometry, the exact shape of the extension volume seems ambiguous from afar. When inspected at closer distance, the radically modern approach is balanced by the images of the pitched roofs and dark timber boards that are a historic part of the Broads vernacular language. The massing and proportions of the new addition are configured to remain sub-ordinate to the original building, yet the charred timber cladding helps it to settle into its context.”
Planning restrictions limited the building’s size, so an open plan and high ceilings create a sense of openness. Large windows, glass internal fittings and the use of light colors and mirrors build on this sense of spaciousness.
The energy efficient building is nearly self-sufficient; water comes from a well, and heating is drawn from solar heat and ground source heat pumps. This unplugged feeling complements the building’s remote location and harkens back to its early days before modern conveniences.
The original cottage suffered several poor-quality extensions and renovations over the past 100 years, and when the new owners saw the damage, they decided to return the building to its original small size plus a simple, unobtrusive addition. The resulting building has five bedrooms and two bathrooms and is currently in use as a holiday cottage.
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