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Martello Tower Y is an ancient defense tower converted into a modern house by Piercy Conner Architects and Duncan Jackson, the founder-director of Billings Jackson Design. The tower was built in 1808 to defend the east coast against potential invasion by Napoleon. The only entrance to the tower is on the first floor of the building, which houses what was an ammunition store. The building is vaulted internally, at the roof and the floor, with a central column supporting the structure. The structure was abandoned in late 19th century and was derelict at the outset of the project.
Here is some description by the architect, “Early planning negotiations revealed the true scale of this ambitious project. The tower is a Scheduled Monument and is located on a flood plain in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Before work began, it was on the ‘At Risk’ register so the priority in conservation terms was to prevent further damage to the brickwork and to restore it where necessary. English Heritage and Suffolk Coastal District Council were keen to minimize the impact of any works so external interventions had to be unobtrusive.
The original brief called for a minimum of three bedrooms and a new roof-level main living space. The condition of the tower made it difficult to go into more detail initially, so the design evolved over time through intense collaboration between architect and industrial designer. The curving roof extension is not only sensitive to the monument and its setting; it echoes the sculptural interior of vaulted brickwork creating a congruency between contemporary and historic.”