Quarn Lodge – Quarndon
The Quarn Lodge project stands as one of our most complex and exciting designs.
Located on the edge of Allestree Park in Derby, Quarn Lodge is one of two remaining lodges, with both sitting at opposite ends of the park. Originally, we were approached by the previous owner who had acquired the property from Derby City Council. Their vision was to reconfigure the ground floor living area and modernize the building, which had remained vacant for over a decade. In 2008, we obtained approval for our initial design, including the addition of a garage. However, the client later sold the property without initiating any construction.
When the new owners took over, they were keen on transforming the lodge with a dramatically different design, aiming to more than double its size. As we embarked on this fresh proposal, we sought feedback from the council’s pre-application service. We were then told that the building held Grade II listed status, which was news to everyone and would present us with additional challenges and scrutiny during the planning application process. Despite some initial hesitation from the owner, we remained determined to find the best way forward.
At Simon Foote Architects, we firmly believe in contrasting rather than imitating heritage buildings, recognizing the importance of preserving their unique historical value. With this philosophy in mind, we crafted a bold and confident design that not only opened up the interior space but also offered breathtaking views of the surrounding mature woodland in Allestree Park. We deliberately created a clear distinction between the original building and the new extensions, employing various elevational tricks to reduce and break up the massing, a design element that would become a signature feature in our future projects.
Materials were carefully chosen to blend harmoniously with the woodland setting while maintaining a commitment to sustainability. In 2010, we submitted the design to the council for approval, but unfortunately, it was initially refused.
Undeterred, the owner firmly believed in the design’s vision and decided to appeal directly to the government, removing the decision from the local council’s hands. Simon Foote Architects managed and submitted the appeal process, resulting in a favourable ruling in mid-2011. Subsequently, construction commenced in 2012, and by mid-2013, Quarn Lodge stood as a remarkable realization of our innovative design.
The design received an esteemed RIBA East Midlands Award in 2014 and was long-listed for the prestigious ‘RIBA House of the Year’ accolade in the same year.
Quarn Lodge serves as an inspiring example of a client unwavering in their belief and tenacity in achieving their vision, despite the numerous obstacles faced along the way. This project reminds us all to stay persistent and resolute in the pursuit of our dreams. Never give up.