Martello Tower Y, Suffolk Architecture, Napoleonic Invasion Building, Architect, Project, Design, Property

Martello Tower Y, Suffolk Building

UK Coastal Artillery Defense Property in East England – design by Piercy Conner Architects

2 Oct 2010

Martello Tower Y – Award

RIBA Manser Medal 2010 Shortlist

Martello Tower Y


Architect: Piercy Conner Architects with Billings Jackson Industrial Design

Martello Tower Y is one of 103 ingeniously-designed artillery towers, built from 1805 at vulnerable points around the south and east coasts to resist Napoleonic invasion. It presents perhaps the ultimate challenge to the housing architect – the issues are manifold.

Bureaucratic: how to deal with a noted ancient monument, especially one that is on the ‘at-risk’ register and is in an area of outstanding natural beauty; what is more how to capture the magnificent views from the rooftop platform when heritage advisors insist it should not be completely enclosed and that any enclosure should be all-but invisible from the ground.

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images : Edmund Sumner

Then there is the tricky matter of how to introduce services into a structure with 12 foot thick walls in a way that is elegant and does not compromise what is inevitably a series of tight spaces. Finally there is the circular configuration: how to design in a way that sees the shape as an advantage not hindrance to creativity.

The architects’ sensitive response is typified by the beauty of the exposed domed brickwork and the indoor-outdoor roof terrace which is oversailed but not enclosed, leaving a third of the roof area open to the considerable elements and providing views across the Suffolk levels and the sea.  In line with best conservation practice, the history of the building has been preserved – details of the gun emplacements co-exist with the barbecue apparatus.

The lightweight steel structure is lit by clerestory windows and rooflights and flagged with stone and kitchen, dining and living accommodation in a light and spacious way that contrasts with the cell-like atmosphere of the bedrooms at ground floor level – which, given that no openings could be cut into the structure, are lit only by light-tubes and by daylight borrowed by cutting away part of the entrance level floor above. This secondary living area features the magnificent, kiln-like brick vaulting that gives the project its poetic quality.

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images : Edmund Sumner

RIBA Manser Medal 2010

Piercy Conner Architects

Martello Tower Y – Building Information

Architect: Piercy Conner Architects with Billings Jackson Industrial Design
Client: Confidential
Contractor: Rosewoods
Structural Engineer: Price & Myers / JP Chick and Partners
Services Engineer: Norman Disney & Young
Gross internal area: 120 sqm

Martello Tower Y information from RIBA

Stirling Prize

Location: Suffolk, England, UK

English Architecture

Contemporary Architecture in England

English Architecture Design – chronological list

Stirling Prize 2010

RIBA Special Awards

Suffolk Buildings – Selection

Balancing Barn, Thorington
Balancing Barn Suffolk
image from Living Architecture
Balancing Barn Suffolk

The Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich
John Lyall Architects
Jerwood Dance House
photo : Richard Bryant
The Jerwood DanceHouse

Snape Maltings Campus Buildings
Haworth Tompkins
Snape Maltings Building
photograph : Philip Vile
Snape Maltings Building

Clay Fields – affordable housing
Riches Hawley Mikhail Architects
Suffolk housing

Poplar Cottage, Walberswick
Dow Jones Architects
Suffolk property

University Campus Suffolk building, Ipswich
Suffolk building : Architecture Competition win

English Houses

County Architecture adjacent to Suffolk

Cambridgeshire Buildings

Essex Buildings

Norfolk buildings

English Architect

Suffolk Apartments

Ipswich Buildings

Piercy Conner Architects

Buildings / photos for the Martello Tower Suffolk Architecture page welcome