Renovation of city shop & house

Full design, planning, building regulations and construction of a property in St. Augustines Street, Norwich.

For this project we are taking the opportunity to carry out most of the construction work ourselves. It is a very constrained and complicated site in many ways:

Historically: the site lies on an one of the major thoroughfares to the north within the medieval city walls of Norwich. The oldest parts of the structure on the site date from the 16th century though the oldest surviving complete structures date from the 17th century. Despite its age the building was never listed due to its poor condition. The plot had been infilled and altered many times in the 18th and 19th and early 20th centuries with poor quality building to form at least four individual slum tenements. It was only after the buildings had been taken down that a loosely backfilled 17th century cellar was discovered as well as remains of 16th century windows.

cellar

Although it was full of rubble when we found it, we excavated to find this 17th century cellar

Structurally: The building had lost its roof and many years of rain ingress had resulted in erosion of soft brickwork at the base of the central 17th century chimney stack resulting in the need to prop the chimney and replace one of the piers. Most of the older walls were made of flint which due to exposure to the elements, lack of maintenance and repeated alterations had lost much of their integrity. These had to be taken down, repaired or underpinned as appropriate. Later walls were of timber construction, nearly all of which were in a poor condition and had to be taken down. The replacement building is founded on a reinforced concrete raft which continues as a ground beam around the top of the cellar.

foundations

The ground is prepared for the raft foundation…

foundation_reinforcement

…then reinforcement is put in place, ready for the concrete pour

Spatially: There are limited outlooks for the site which is surrounded by other buildings. Careful thought had to be given to room positions and fenestration to provide views, privacy and light.

arch_formwork

Arch into garden in progress

Construction: since we were planning to build the structure ourselves alongside continuing our architectural design work the structure had to be designed to be durable even during construction and require the minimum of hired scaffolding and other equipment (as progress may be slow). Access is very tight and insufficient for any machinery larger than a wheelbarrow.