Wells Maltings, a former 19th century malt house in Wells-next-the-Sea, has undergone an award winning refurbishment and extension in a bid to revitalise the building and turn it into North Norfolk’s premier Arts & Heritage Centre. Choice of façade material for the newly built extension was always going to be critical to the overall success of the project. Brass was specified because it created an aesthetic that was distinct yet sympathetic with the Grade II listed brick and flint walls of the existing building. The brass will gradually mature over time to warm earthy tones, creating an aesthetically pleasing patina that will continue to complement the original brick and flint walls on the Malthouse.
The brief to architects Chaplin Farrant was to create a new, year-round destination for artists, locals and tourists that serves as a cultural heart of the community. The designers succeeded in this, creating a flexible space that is used by a diverse range of groups, as well as maintaining the heritage of the existing Maltings. A new glazed full-height atrium acts as a buffer between the two distinct structures with an expansive roof lantern flooding the space with natural light. The brass clad extension is a similar size to the original building and now announces Wells Maltings as one of Norfolk's most significant new architectural designs in a long time.
Featuring vertically elongated brass rainscreen panels on the impressive façade with a traditional handcrafted zinc roof, the new art building is a striking design that establishes a new identify for the whole town. While clever detailing between the zinc roof and brass panels offer a seamless transition between the two elements, removing bimetallic corrosion challenges and providing a modern twist to a historic building. The cladding product is a lightweight honeycomb panel system that delivers a high strength, exceptionally flat, cost effective solution. This enabled Chaplin Farrant to design this unique, eye catching and award winning project within the client’s original budget. The Maltings secured support from Heritage Lottery Fund and a range of partnership funders and individuals.
The brass cladding at Wells Malting creates an outer rainscreen that protects the inner structure from wind and rain. The rainscreen cladding system, supplied by Proteus Facades, is baffle jointed, allowing a rear ventilated cavity to circulate air, protecting the inner structure from moisture.
The Wells Malting project has been nominated for a number of awards. Highly Commended in the Graham Allen Awards, which celebrates projects considered to have made the most significant contribution to the built environment within the district, and recently shortlisted for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) East of England Awards in both the Commercial and Community Benefit categories. The awards recognise excellence in the built environment and showcase the successes of RICS professionals and their impact on local communities.
Wells Maltings remains a historic building but with a twist; a striking example of how old and new architectural styles and materials can work together. The completed project creates a cultural landmark and an inviting, contemporary community space featuring a state-of-the-art theatre and cinema, Heritage Centre, Visitor Information Centre, attractive café and bar and art gallery.
Images: Sarah Toon Photography