Conference Centre Dining Room

This Christian conference centre is converted from a house and stable block, originally designed by Sir John Soane in the 1790s. The stable block was then substantially altered by the well-known Norwich Architect, Edward Boardman, in the 1880s.

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The brief was to provide dining facilities for 100 people to eat together for occasions when the centre was at full capacity as well as a useful facility for smaller groups using the stable block alone. The proposed budget for the work was extremely tight and the design is very simple and cheap to construct whilst still having an architectural presence to match the existing building. It makes use of modern engineered timber construction, is structurally independent and requires minimal alterations to the existing structure. The elements of the structure were conceived to be assembled by untrained volunteer labour to keep costs to a minimum, allowing the lion’s share of the budget to go on high quality windows and finishes enabling this imposing orangery style extension to be built for around £60-£70/sqft. A change of management with different priorities and ever-present pressures on their budget mean that it is yet to be built.

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Several possible options were considered for the position of the dining room. This option optimised access to existing facilities as well as minimal disturbance to the historic fabric.