Two storey extension at Heath Ridge
To extend up, down and to the rear
Some projects are more complex than others – but these are often the ones architects really enjoy.
Rising to the challenge and coming up with a series of solutions that work well for the homeowner is a rewarding experience. Heath Ridge was in a magnificent location, with far-reaching views, and the owners wanted to make the most of its superb position. It was a typical, unattractive, late 1970s’ brick building, which had been constructed over a garage and set into a steep hill. Although the attic had been converted, the upper floor space was very constrained.
The clients had big ambitions for their home – their aim was to extend the property and to create a much larger, villa-style house. Their vision was to replace two bedrooms with five and to connect the ground floor with the garage below, transforming the lower space into a gymnasium.
As well as extending up and down, however, they also wanted to extend out to the rear and to exploit the amazing views. The challenge for me was that extending up and down required two new staircases, which had to run at 90 degrees to each other.
Once the stairs were located, I then had to consider how to create the new upper floor with its five bedrooms, while also keeping the height of the new roof as low as possible. My solution was to consider the possibility of a clerestorey, split-pitched roof. This enabled the roof space to be maximised without increasing its height too much.
I also looked at re-facing the existing building and changing the windows in order to give the property a fresh, contemporary look. Initially, the planners were concerned to see how the height of the new upward extension would sit against the neighbouring properties. But I developed visualisations to show the new proposal in context and demonstrate how the design was keeping the height increase to a minimum, and, as a result, no changes had to be made. From then on everything went relatively smoothly and the project is now complete.
It is always a challenge for both builder and client if the occupants have no choice but to live in the property during major alterations. If the builder has a clear run, then he can work more quickly and more cost effectively. This was not possible at Heath Ridge but there were no complications and the owners now enjoy their beautiful new home.