Ancient defense tower becomes a sleek home


January 25, 2011

The 1880 defense tower, located in the Suffolk wetlands

The 1880 defense tower, located in the Suffolk wetlands

Image Gallery (9 images)

British home designer Duncan Jackson recently joined forces with architectural firm Piercy Conner to transform an 1880 defense tower in Suffolk, England into a stylish and accommodating home. The defense tower, being a historically-registered building, was transformed whilst maintaining its structural appearance and integrity. The project came with a list of obstacles, including the tower's round structure, minimal windows, 12 foot-thick walls and wetlands environment. Despite these hurdles, the joint venture successfully created a contemporary home with an abundance of light, warmth and a streamlined interior design.

The first floor houses the bedrooms. Although it has no windows, it leads onto the central circular staircase, designed to filter natural light throughout the entire home. An inconspicuous metal roof was positioned above the top brick line to incorporate a circle of windows. This simple design element allows light to flow throughout the home, without disturbing the original look of this protected building.

In addition, an abundance of lighting tubes draw light into the living spaces, whilst also dramatizing the natural pattern of the ancient stone walls.

A single main entrance leads through to a large storage room, once used for housing armaments and cannonballs.

It is hoped that the unique approach taken to this project could inspire the transformation of ancient defense towers or other protected structures around the world.

Via Inhabitat

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

That building is not Latin teacher was ancient.

Bruce Williams

i wouldn\'t exactly call \"1880\" ancient.

David Larson

Neat look... but lots of brick to heat and/or cool. Wonder how having all-brick walls affects the energy conservation? Probably VERY slow to change temperatures inside the building due to the thermal mass of the brick in contact with the living airspace...

Matt Rings

I don\'t know why, exactly, but it rankles that \"ancient\" is used to describe something that is less than 200 years old. By that usage the United States is ancient, the civil war is ancient, the steam engine is ancient. See what I mean?

Facebook User

Matt: the thermal mass probably makes it VERY energy-efficient. Being \"slow to heat and cool\" means that it probably maintains a relatively stable interior temperature even without climate control, in much the same way that an underground house does.

Facebook User

Actually, the steam engine is ancient. They were first in use in ancient Greece, but were thought of as a child\'s toy. It was centuries later before they were used to perform work.

Daryl Sonnier

The tower may be 1880\'s but the conversion isn\'t \"contemporary\" looks to be ultra modern.


It is probably more valuable to leave the old tower as is so that younger generations still can learn about the history and old buildings rather than turning it into a fancy house for someone\'s ego.

Facebook User

I don\'t want to knock this too much, because it\'s certainly a good way to reclaim an old building... but my gosh that\'s an ugly add on. I would have kept that ultra modern crap well away. I\'m thinking they should have kept primarily to glass on top. It would have been more in keeping with the stone, still stylish, and more light.

Jacob William

Nice to rent for a day. Definitely not a home, unless I am missing a \"whole bunch of windows\" in the images.

Fred Meyers

Well just to add a comment about \"ancient times\", in nearly ancient times, that is about three quarters into the last century, a not so ancient person bought one of the three sea forts in The Solent (Ye South of England) and converted it into a home. No doubt that has been modified numerous times within. Modern day architects think they are so clever and innovative. Funny that. Ken NZ


Yeah, Ancient takes on a whole nuther meaning when you walk into a church in Germany where the cornerstone says that it was built in the 900\'s


I think \"historic\" is the word that should have been used. Lots of historic buildings are currently used as homes and if they do as this one did and leave the old part as it was, that is a good thing. Private ownership of historical buildings can be a win/win as well. The building\'s owner now pays property taxes on it although often at a reduced or differed rate if they keep the building as it was but in good shape. The town I was born in had a lumber baron over a hundred years ago that was a major employer and was quite benevolent. He built two houses that are now historically registered under my first and last name. That is because he was my name sake and great great uncle!

Will, the tink
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