The conversion and extension of a group listed Regency Villa in the central conservation area of Cheltenham.

 Ferguson Mann Architects were asked to convert Overton House into a new home for the Barnwood Trust, a charitable foundation which assists people with disabilities and people with mental health problems in Gloucestershire. The original villa had been converted in to a care home in the 1950s and subsequently became student accommodation for students with disabilities at North Star College. Modern insertions had been added that were insensitive to the original building and interrupted the circulation.

 We decided that our priority should be to make the building as legible as possible with intuitive internal circulation. We also saw it as necessary to demolish the unsatisfactory 1970s extensions to allow for parking spaces.

 One of the other challenges with this project was to create a space that is essentially an office space but one that aims to inspire team members at the Trust to think, reflect and discuss. The Trust also wanted the space to be ‘branded but not corporate’ and with enough space to accommodate 32 staff. The test was to create spaces that could represent these values, that were inspirational and social and creative spaces, less formal whilst still being a place of work.

 The outcome is a design which features a hierarchy of attractive and convivial rooms help to create legible spaces as well as a new circulation core for improved flow around the interior. The original layout is largely re-established alongside installation of a new fully accessible 13-person lift. Accessible entrances lead to a sheltered courtyard and parking spaces and internally there is an informal welcome space and a 50-seat seminar room. Works are due to complete in summer 2019.