Our plans for Calverley Old Hall

We have an ambitious and exciting architectural scheme for Calverley Old Hall that will bring the whole site back into use, creating a spectacular new Landmark for 10 people, together with space for the local community. The design - by Cowper Griffiths Architects - will restore the main spaces of the house to their historic uses, fusing the conservation of medieval fabric with contemporary design.

The great hall will become an impressive open space for living, cooking and eating, just as it would have been in the 15th century. The solar block will hold bedrooms on the ground floor and upstairs, the Calverley family’s private rooms will become the sitting room; a convivial space beneath decorated roof trusses, lit by a long, stone, transomed and mullioned window, and warmed once more by a fire in its magnificent 14th-century stone fireplace.

The existing structures and surviving fabric of the building will be gently and sensitively repaired, and where the original fabric has disappeared - as with the lost cross passage and stairs – the new interventions will be clearly identifiable as 21st-century repairs. The lodging block, the current Landmark, will become a community space and residential flat, with separate entrances and parking.

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The great hall

In the great hall, we intend to keep the cross wall that was inserted in the 17th century but reduce it in height to open up the views of the roof, allowing an understanding of the volume of the original great hall. Later brickwork on either side of the cross wall will be removed, together with the remnants of the 18th-century cottages that subdivided this space. The floor will be insulated, and the stone flags re-laid, while steps up to the entrance hall follow the historic change in level. Contemporary wall panelling containing insulation, services and window shutters also helps to define the extent of the former great hall.

The cross passage and gallery

Behind and against the 17th-century cross wall, contemporary joinery will be used to create an entrance hall and staircase, with views from its upstairs gallery of the spere truss above, and the great hall below. A timber screen wall supports the new staircase and is suggestive of the lost cross-passage screen that would once have been here. Recent investigation of this space has revealed a previously unknown fireplace at the back of the 17th-century cross wall, which will be revealed as a feature. Timber panelling behind the stairs will contain a lift, giving access down to the great hall and up to first-floor level.

 

The solar

The floor in the two-storey solar block will be reinstated, with the ground floor divided into rooms, following the medieval pattern. The first floor will be restored to a complete volume as the main living space with the hearth repaired and a log burner installed. A blocked doorway will be opened up to give access to one of the bedrooms in the parlour block, while a new door also gives access from the sitting room into the gallery of the chapel.

This is an ambitious design, one that the architects say will be "informed by the analogy of a worn tapestry, much loved and repaired." The building will present a series of dilemmas each different from the last and each requiring a decision on the whole of the space, the minutiae of the detail and the best traditional techniques to stitch back the building fabric.

Chris Cowper, partner & design director at Cowper Griffith Architects, says:

“We are very aware that the success of the project will depend upon our ability to make the social history and architectural detail of the development of the Old Hall discernible and legible, through the expressed evolution of the masonry and worked timbers already exposed. We hope to create distinct but contemporary form and detail, subservient to the historic building, whilst enhancing the setting by drawing out and celebrating the tension between the new use and the architectural iterations visible in the historic fabric. We feel privileged to have been chosen by Landmark to take the Old Hall forward into the next phase of its history."