Sited on the ‘flat-fields’ area outside Hillsborough, the Sir William Allen Memorial Hall was officially opened by the then Minister for Home Affairs Rt. Hon. W.B. Magennis L Ed QC MP in December 1953.
In its early years, the building accommodated much activity playing host to the local Moira Young Farmers, various Evangelical Missions, Orange Institution events and many local dinner dances. Throughout the course of this project there have been a surprising number of people who have expressed connection with the building throughout its existence.
Increasing running costs led the Institution to relocate and ownership then changed a number of times, which saw the building fall into a state of disrepair with an abandoned appearance to passers-by.
Late 2013, a local family, who were keen to investigate the possibility of re-instating the abandoned hall, contacted C3 Architects.
Following a feasibility study of the building and a review of relevant planning legislation, the Client purchased the building and working with C3 Architects took their first steps towards creating their new home.
Full Planning Approval was obtained by C3 Architects for the conversion of the existing Sir William Allen Memorial Hall into a single two storey dwelling which would secure the building’s upkeep and retention whilst providing a new high quality family home in the countryside.
The original brick building was subject to minimal sympathetic alterations externally that reflect the changes necessary for conversion into a family home. The overall character of the building is successfully retained in its original form and scale whilst fulfilling the requirements of both Client and Planning Service.
On inspection, the original roof covering was found to contain asbestos, which required removal. A new standing seam zinc roof has been constructed which provides a contemporary appearance whilst retaining a similar form and massing to that of the original roof.
DESIGN OF THE DWELLING
In contrast to the exterior, the inside has seen major changes. The original Main Hall space has been replaced with an open plan lounge/ kitchen/ dining area at ground level with a gallery over, providing access to the bedrooms and linking them to the south facing roof terrace area. This living space takes advantage of the existing provision of natural lighting from the large ‘church like’ windows that have ensured the retention of one of the main external features of the building in a way that enhances the internal environmental quality of the house.
The private functional spaces of the house bedrooms/bathrooms have been arranged to reuse existing window openings with slightly altered configurations influenced by the introduction of the new first floor structure in the main body of the hall.
One of the intriguing aspects of the completed project is the ability to walk through the various rooms with each providing a different outlook of the surrounding countryside. The quality of natural light provided within the interior successfully adds to the drama of the contrast between ‘old exterior’ and ‘new interior’.
The old single storey entrance block adjacent to Lany Road has been retained in its original form with minor modification to the window openings to take advantage of its south facing aspect allowing more natural light into the newly created internal spaces. A new external roof terrace over this block with glazed balustrade just visible above the parapet walls provides unobstructed views to the south along Lany Road.
Within the overall layout an integral double garage is provided at the northern end of the block accompanied by utility spaces and a private sheltered rear external space.
The main external space located along the western elevation provides an access driveway and parking for vehicles and a family garden to take advantage of the afternoon and evening sun. This garden area adjacent to the main entrance is connected to the building by a new covered canopy with patio door access to the main living area that successfully blurs the edge between inside and outside.
The project was completed in August 2016, one month ahead of the planned schedule, testimony to the hard work and co-operation between Client, Main Contractor and Design Team.
As the Client’s youngest son has frequently commented they cannot wait to live in their ‘old new house’ !!!!
Mark Cassidy C3 Architects LLP
Architect: C3 Architects LLP
Quantity Surveyor: DMA Quantity Surveyors
M&E Consultants: Bailie Associates Ltd
Structural Engineers: Hanna and Hutchinson Consulting Ltd
Main Contractor: Leo Matheson Contracts
Specialist Glazing & Staircases : Macspec Ltd
Photography : Mark Cassidy