Warehouse conversion into multi-use live/work space

New life for a disused warehouse offering flexible space for a social enterprise

OCRA have been commissioned to convert a disused warehouse and office into living accommodation for a large family, who will utilise the existing office building to run their business – Impact for Change – a limited company with social enterprise principles which provides various residential childcare provisions for vulnerable young people who are experiencing social, emotional, and mental health difficulties.

live work scheme with barn inspired cladding

The site had an existing planning permission to demolish the existing building and replace this with three new homes, prior to our client's purchase of the site. OCRA are of the opinion that ‘the greenest building is the one that already exists’. Elongating the lifecycle of the existing structure is more environmentally conscious, capturing carbon and reducing impacts on the wider supply chain.

Our hope is that instead of demolishing a usable structure (where its contents will go to landfill) and replacing it with three new dwellings, all requiring new materials, it is felt to be advantageous to work with the existing structure which already sits comfortably in its context and has an embodied energy.

As a result of this sustainable ambition, working with the client we developed a series of initial concepts to test the viability of the site retaining the main parts of the structure and then submitted to Torridge District council to work through the pre application process. By undertaking this pre planning assessment with the council, OCRA were able to progress the design with more certainty, de-risking the process as much as feasible for our client.

The concept was to remove the existing roof, exposing the wall plate and continue the wall up – forming a usable first floor while retaining a low eaves level to reduce the overall massing and volume

Due to the number of bedrooms required, the entire ground floor of the existing warehouse is occupied by accommodation. Therefore, it is necessary to provide additional living space above. From the outset, the concept proposals see the existing roof removed, and a new floor added. It is our intention to propose a roof pitch which is shallow to ensure that the overall ridge height is not significantly higher than that of the existing roof ridge. The form looks to take influence from rural building forms, as well as local agricultural materiality. A section of the pitched roof over the office has been removed to distinguish the two forms and the two uses (office and living accommodation). It is felt that this will ensure an enhanced relationship between the proposed and existing buildings.

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