R&K Jepson appointed us to design a satellite office to their company on a historically industrial site in Wirksworth. The brief required a shopfront presence, chapel of rest and dignified private entrance for hearses. The building is split into two blocks. An entrance block wraps around the corner of the street in mesh bond brickwork with glazed entrance. The rear private block is entered by the public along a glazed walkway, and in private through a hearse garage and preparation area. The public and private areas of the building connect at the chapel of rest in the centre of the rear block, defined with a Private reflection courtyard.
The client wanted to take this sweeping corner site and build a purpose designed funeral directors premises amongst the mix of typology.
The constraints of this angular site and requirement to be able to turn and park a hearse safely on site led to the accommodation being pushed to the boundaries and the creation of a central courtyard. To the front a reception provides a public street frontage to the business. A glazed link connects this to the private accommodation consisting of a waiting area, chapel of rest and preparation rooms. The internal courtyard is enclosed by timber cladding, whilst a solid brick exterior provides privacy from the adjacent activity, with glimpses through panels of mesh bond brickwork.
The client, a manufacturer of high quality playgrounds, wanted a design that reflected the progressive ethos of their company, on a tight budget - a 'chic shed'.
'We have enjoyed working with Evans Vettori and have been particularly impressed by the way in which they have been prepared to draw our management team and the workforce into the process of developing the brief for our new factory. The result has been a design that really does reflect the ethos of the company and has helped us to sell the whole concept of relocation to our management team and the workforce.'
Robin Sutcliffe. Managing Director Sutcliffe Play Ltd
An expanding funeral directors business needed a new hearse garage, cold store, additional workshop space and two more offices. The site overlooks a brook and has views to the nearby church. The new building replaces a decrepit shack, and occupies the same tight footprint. It is in the middle of the Matlock Green Conservation Area so needed to be designed carefully to blend with the traditional stone and slate vernacular.
The design is conceived as a ‘boat-house’ and expresses ‘store’ below and ‘offices’ above. Hence local quarter-tooled Birchover stone is used for the flood-resistant plinth, with larch cladding on a prefabricated timber frame above. This timber box makes reference to the casket joinery heritage of a century-old business. The stone is detailed simply with deep reveals to reinforce the strong plinth concept. Welsh slate is used on the roof to match the surrounding traditional buildings.
The new building acts as a ‘bookend’ at one extremity of the expanded funeral directors premises, and acts as a transition between the long green metal garage (to which it is linked internally) and the adjacent two-storey row of cottages. Its use is deliberately ambiguous and discreet – most locals believe it to be a house.
Windows and doors have been carefully positioned to respond to particular views and light, and to compliment the ‘ad hoc’ character of the Old Matlock. The rear office is for the funeral director, and has a balcony overhanging Bentley Brook. This vantage point affords an excellent view of St.Giles church where many of Greatorex’s funerals take place. The front office is for the engraver and has an oriel window giving views along Knowleston Place.
Thos.Greatorex have benefited greatly from additional work and storage space, enabling it to expand its service. Having directed funerals for many years, the principal has particularly enjoyed a ‘sense of separation’ from the daily funeral process which his new eyrie has brought to his working life. The building has furthermore benefited the immediate community by creating additional local employment and by replacing a long derelict and contaminated site with a high-quality contextual piece of architecture.
This small new addition to a historic locality makes a positive contemporary contribution and further enhances a charming mixed-use environment.