Converting a sawmill into a home – complete with water-powered turbine


The saying “no job is ever the same” is pretty much a daily comment at Hughes Architects.

One of our latest commissions is to convert a former sawmill in Mid Wales into a family home. A pretty straight-forward task you might think.

But this one is a bit different. Our client owns a sawmill that was ahead of its time with a water-powered turbine driving the giant saws.

What’s more, we’ll have to keep the saws and turbine as part of the final conversion as they’re covered by the structure’s listed building status.

“It’s an amazing building,” said Doug Hughes, Principal Architect and Managing Director at Hughes Architects.

“The sawmill employed more than 70 people at the height of its operation. It was also technologically advanced, using water from a nearby stream to power a turbine that then powered the giant saws to cut the wood.”

“It’s a large structure with many fascinating internal and exterior design features that will become a focus of our final design.”

The sawmill produced planks for ships among other products.

Doug and the team are currently devising plans for the property. “This isn’t your usual barn conversion. We’re working with our client to create living space that uses the existing structure and internal fittings to their full advantage within the plans.

“We’ll be incorporating the saw system and turbine into the designs as these form part of the building’s listed status. It’s going to create a spectacular result.”

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