The Loft House, BS7

89 flats and small houses for sale and affordable rent together with a new HQ for the George Müller museum, refurbishing and converting this Grade II listed orphanage building and adding a new block and an additional wing.

Loft House, garden court
Garden Court – new wing on left
Interior of show flat in refurbished “bungalow” wing
Main entrance and stairway
Show flat – view of mezzanine living space
Typical sketches during construction
Quadrangle Court – redundant infill buildings removed and walls restored
Early sketch scheme retaining lime trees
New block next to listed building – original planning entrance elevation
New block at planning stage – watercolour style image by Troopers Hill Ltd
Alterations to lift tower and adjoining areas
Detail showing alteration to lift area roof
George Müller museum opens in wing of refurbished orphanage building (photo

As project architect I worked with the purchaser and my director to develop a scheme and bid for the property. The successful bid included a newbuild block of 32 flats within the curtilage of the listed building, with final purchase agreement subject to planning permission: this was granted in June 2016.

The listed building was primarily loadbearing stonework construction, with loosely coursed Pennant rubble stonework on the outside, with Bath Stone chimneys, doorways and window dressings. Our mission was to upgrade this thermally and turn the buildings into apartments which could benefit from the large volumes while being reasonably energy efficient.

Given the commercial nature and scale of the project it was decided to install proprietary high performance insulated dry lining, incorporating both vapour check and small stand-off cavity for alignment and a small amount of air circulation to deal with any vapour which did get trapped.

This was combined with secondary glazing, loft and floor insulation. I proposed appointing a thermal consultant, in particular for condensation risk analysis, and so we benefited from the expert advice of Darren Evans Consulting, and the scientific knowledge and stamina in particular of Brandon Wipperfurth.

The new building was initially designed to be ultra-high fabric insulation combined with all-electric services including underfloor heating. However, when the scheme was bought post-planning the new developer decided to replace this with individual gas boilers. Other changes at this time also presented some interesting design challenges. We retained most of the high performance wall insulation, and the triple glazed windows.

The refurbished apartments have been sold and occupied, the new block completion date is to be confirmed following a change of contractor.