The arcadian setting on the Norfolk Broads is the place where the currently best UK house as acclaimed by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is situated at. It’s an interpolation of the old and run-down Hunsett Mill updated with a new extension so as to provide the owners and families who come for a retreat here a maximally pleasant living space. Acme Architects was presented with quite the challenge upon reconstructing and interpolating the Grade 2 listed 19th century mill. The development of the requested extension virtually tripled the size of the original house, however, the architects faithfully followed the mill’s original shape which RIBA’s judges described as ‘more akin to a piece of art than a piece of rural, domestic architecture.
The RIBA cited that as opposed to creating either an imitation of the Victorian red-brick cottage, or a self-effacing glass box, Acme Architects sought to create a kind of triple-shadow of the original, in black charred timber, crossed by the shadow of the neighboring windmill’s arms.
The new building is clad in black charred timber so that it’s truly a shadow with flush glazing that add to the sense of insubstantiality. At the same time, large glass windows break the facade’s monotony while leaving a sense of non-materialness.
The roof is designed as a series of linked gables that are asymmetric yet rhythmic. Further changes of angle are added to create a series of interesting spaces, with the first floor walkway to the bedrooms particularly specific. The entirety is consistently detailed and well-crafted with interesting off-site construction utilization.
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