Brixton Avenue is a beautifully proportioned 3-bedroomed Edwardian mid-terrace that lies in the heart of a West Didsbury, Manchester. The project involved crafting an architectural concept that would transform an oppressive and claustrophobic kitchen space into a generous, fluid and multi-functional dining and kitchen space that not only allows natural light to permeate but also seamless transitions between the interior and the exterior.
To achieve this, the process involved significant re-structuring of the existing configuration through the removal of structural walls; a complicated package of concealed steel work and; a series of timber framing elements emerging from a new concrete base. To construct the new “wrapping”, a beautifully engineered timber and steel curtain-wall and roof-glazing system by Stabalux was combined with floor-to-ceiling sliding windows that can freely glide with a push of a finger.
Within the glazed pavilion, a kitchen that extends the full length of the eastern wall features a Ikea Metod kitchen structure with a facade of painted and oak slab fronts from Naked Doors. Adjacent to the well-equipped kitchen is a solid American walnut table replete with three chairs by Vitra and a sculptural lounge chair by Hans J. Wegner. The windows are covered with tracked voile curtains and a refreshing line of creepers that filters the light and visually isolates the space from the outside.
A few steps away, a bridge softened with ornamental grasses and feature stones leads to a serene dry landscape garden featuring an outdoor dining and relaxation space shaded by ornamental maple trees and steel water bowls calmly reflecting the surrounding foliage and the open skies. With an emphasis on constant connections between indoor and outdoor living, Brixton Avenue is now the perfect place to seek a life-affirming sense of connection with nature in everyday life.
Throughout, the pavilion was designed on the basic precepts of what Vincent Van Dusyen calls “warm minimalism”: simple geometries, strong lines, muted tones, and down-to-earth palettes and so we opted for: ceramic floor tiles with the warmth, tones and textures of aged wood; tranquil shades of sage and oak for the kitchen facade; Carrara quartz for the worktop and a decorative coating for the walls with matt metallic charges for a stunning game of light and shades.
Whether its cooking or eating, indulging in a favourite pastimes or guilty pleasures, working from home or simply relaxing – with glass in hand – watching the gorgeous sunsets that wash across the site; the careful positioning of furniture and landscaping elements gifts the clients a series of day to day, multi-sensory experiences that promote an emotional and spiritual sense of connection with the beauty of the natural world and all the restorative benefits it endows.
Research on visual preferences and non-visual interactions with nature and the impacts of natural light on mood and well-being have shown lower blood pressure, heart rate, sadness, anger and depression; accelerated physiological and psychological restoration, a positive effect on the healing process and human immune function and helps maintain circadian system functioning which is linked to sleep quality, mood, alertness, breast cancer and other health conditions.
Low Carbon Building Design
The extraordinary synergy with the sun will not only have a huge impact on the quality of natural light filtering in but also the amount of natural heating provided through glazing by the sun. In tandem with thermal mass materials and a curtain-wall and roof glazing system that meets the highest requirements for passive house standards; this highly striking pavilion achieves ecological effectiveness within aesthetically beautiful design.