Visitors to Thorpeness are enjoying a warm welcome at the newly revitalised Barnhall which fully re-opened its doors in early 2014. Located just a few yards from the beach and overlooking Thorpeness Meare, Barnhall offers visitors the opportunity to eat, shop and even take their holidays at the very centre of this world renowned village
The new building in Thorpeness [the name of the village closest to Aldeburgh] is arranged principally over two storeys: on the ground floor there is a bustling Antique & Collectables market, Thorpeness Emporium which is home to 29 local small businesses and the adjacent Café & Restaurant ‘The Kitchen @ Thorpeness’, serving seasonal and locally sourced food and excellent coffee. Upstairs are ten studio ‘boltholes by the sea’ – cleverly designed, contemporary holiday apartments which are available for sale with 99 year Leases. Designed with ‘small-space living’ in mind, the apartments are fully fitted and open plan with clearly defined kitchen, dining, living and sleeping areas, along with their own dedicated car parking space.
The new Barnhall replaces the original Estate Office which over the years had been considerably altered and was badly decaying. “I wanted to give the village a new and functioning building that is relevant and would do justice to the wonderful location.” Says owner and designer-developer Tom Brent who purchased Barnhall in 2005. “Somewhere pleasant for people to meet and spend time – not just visitors to Thorpeness, but the people who live and work in the village and surrounding areas as well as in the building itself.”
“The original building had serious issues” explains Brent. “It was ‘back to front, facing east and all the beautiful original views were obscured by a house that had been constructed within the original Estate office garden in the 1970s. We’ve turned the building around so that it now faces due west and looks out towards stunning views of the Meare.”
These westward views over the Meare, – a magnificent man made boating lake and islands set in over 100 reclaimed marshland acres can now be fully enjoyed by diners wishing to eat in Barnhall’s outdoor garden space and by those holidaying in the apartments above, nine of which come with a private balcony or terrace.
Designed outwardly as a ‘cluster’ of five separate buildings, Barnhall embraces the very latest developments in timber engineering. Built from solid cross laminated spruce and pine panels from sustainably managed forests, the new building is considered carbon negative. In addition, running costs will be low due to the high levels of insulation and airtightness which are benefits of the main structural material.
The Community’s wishes that the new Barnhall should not appear too contemporary influenced the visual specification of the materials used in the cladding of the building. The resulting building succeeds in embracing the modernity and benefits of a sophisticated engineered timber superstructure whilst sympathetically reflecting the Village’s existing traditional framed timber buildings.