Saffron Housing Long Stratton

Working to a tight budget of £100,000 to include all fees and construction, Gary Johns Architects were selected following a design competition to deliver a new ground level entrance to their head offices in Long Stratton Norfolk. In order to bring forward a costed proposal we partnered with a structural engineer and local contractor who went on to construct the project.


With their existing office entrance some 2 meters above ground level, Saffron Housing were in need of a new enclosed and welcoming entrance at ground level incorporating a new internal wheelchair compliant lift to replace their dilapidated external lift. The new structure needed to work in unison with an existing tensile structure straddling the existing entrance space. The budget was very tight and therefore decisions such as re-using the existing stairs within the new enclosure were made.

Key Challenges and Successes

  • Won the project through a design competition.

  • Successfully designed proposals using BIM (Building Information Modelling) to fit under the tensile canopy.

  • Successfully designed the junction between the existing tented structure and new proposals to allow sufficient movement whilst retaining a weather tight seal.

  • Successfully delivered the new entrance for £100,000 budget from concept through to completion on site.

  • Successfully partnered with local contractor.

Procurement Route

Concept Designs through to providing a costed working drawing package.

Service Provided

Full service from Concept Designs through to administering the building contract and completion on site.

Design Process

The design concept was to create three separate roof levels cascading down from the upper level, working in conjunction with the geometry of the existing staircase below which we decided to retain and re-clad for cost reasons.

The new lift was positioned where the original lift was sited to ensure it fitted under the canopy. This vertical element was used to place the Saffron Housing signage on.

To ensure that the new proposals did not clash with the tensile structure, and that any movement could be adequately accommodated, a measured survey of the canopy was undertaken and modelled in 3 dimensions.

In order to provide a modern and contrasting aesthetic to the existing timber clad building, a cement fibre based board in two greys were used as a cladding material.

The design was modified in conjunction with input from the contractor to ensure the structure could be built within the tight budget.


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