The brief began with a requirement for a loose fit building able to accommodate apartments and offices/studios across column free floors. Enough time was available to investigate context and a number of possible solutions for a replacement building that would sit within the all but vanished boundaries of an C11th limestone Norman abbey. One able to integrate, extract and perhaps make new a broader and better sense of context than that now dominated by late C20th pastiche. Originally built by Baron Jordan Briset, the abbey was expanded and remodelled until its C16th dissolution precipitated a gradual erosion through subdivision and conversion into grand houses for the newly protestant barons. Oliver Cromwell replacing them with a new home on the Close before the restoration saw yet further subdivision into smaller rented properties that by the C19th briefly housed Marx and Lenin. Lastly and ignominiously a furniture sales room occupied the then still intact abbey kitchens and dining hall before fire and the 1970’s left only a few stones and the road layout as a memory of the abbey enclave.
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