Infusing new life to Medieval Buildings: Charing Palace

Judit Heli’s work on the Spring Term module ‘Intervention at Historic Buildings’ involves the preparation of a new Conservation Plan aimed at revitalizing the Great Hall of Charing Palace. This major Scheduled Monument is currently owned by Spitalfields Trust. Earlier this year, the Trust invited the students of the MSc in Architectural Conservation to study the building and use it as a case study. As Judit notes, ‘the hall’s evolution from a palace hall to a barn and, later, to an oasthouse, makes this a particularly inspiring backdrop. I was particularly interested in the industrial oast-conversion, which lay the foundation for my intervention concept.’

As the project’s name ‘(h)all-round’ suggests, the proposal ‘aims to establish an adaptable space for diverse uses, providing public access to the Hall while integrating a manufacturing area to maintain continuity with the building’s past. While introducing modern architectural elements to foster organic growth, ensuring coherence between old and new components, the approach emphasizes minimal interventions to the existing historic fabric. 

Rather than prescribing a specific function, the proposal offers a flexible occupancy scheme to accommodate various business models. This approach facilitates diversified occupation, enabling the adaptation of multiple sustainable business plans to ensure the building’s long-term usability and viability. Furthermore, the proposal includes recommendations based on case studies as part of the documentation, contributing to the preservation and economic sustainability of the building.’

Charing Palace, Retracing the Phases of Construction, J. Heli, 2024
Charing Palace, plan of proposed intervention, J. Heli 2024
Charing Palace, Proposed Intervention, Sections and Elevations, J. Heli, 2024