Rostherne Avenue is an attractive three-bed semi-detached family home that lies in Fallowfield, a suburb three miles south of Manchester. Within, the bottom floor accommodates a living room at the front and a well-proportioned kitchen and boasts three bedrooms and a three piece bathroom upstairs. The project involved the erection of a ground floor extension that would help an elderly retired couple navigate the physical changes and restrictions that characterise old age.
Due to overshadowing and to afford exposure to the health benefits of natural light; the decision was made to build a timber and glass structure that could be easily accessed from the key living spaces but still form the best possible relationship with the movements of the sun. To achieve this, a series of timber framing elements emerge from a concrete base; and these elements support floor-to-ceiling sliding windows and a curtain-wall and roof-glazing system by Stabalux.
Within the glazed pavilion, a large steel structure acts as storage space and contains a wet room with a walk in shower. The generous, fluid and almost uninterrupted multi-functional space accommodates the ground floor entrance, a lounge and a bedroom. Tracked voile curtains integrated into the frame and a refreshing line of creepers along the entire length of the pavilion provide privacy as well as mitigating the overbearing impact of the sun.
Easily accessed through sliding windows is a re-imagined Japanese-style engawa: a landscaped timber terrace or deck that can be treated as a place for relaxing, dining and entertaining out in the fresh air or; a viewing platform from which the couple can sit back and quietly appreciate the dry landscape garden, the subtle day-to-day routines of birds and wildlife, the open skies and the variety and beauty of the four seasons.
The flooring is of ceramic tile with a grey natural stone effect and the walls, are all plastered with a muted decorative coating by Novacolor. The windows are covered with a grey sheer fabric that grants privacy without blocking the light filtering in. A contemporary bed by Flexform, a chaise lounge by BB Italia and a storage system by Rimadesio continues the more understated, natural approach that will help bring calm as well as direct the gaze and thoughts towards the outside.
The design of a completely glazed pavilion structured around a stylised landscape of trees, grasses and water features; and the careful positioning of sofa’s, chairs and tables and the bed provide the couple with a series of pleasant and tranquil interior and exterior views in which they can sit quietly and connect daily with the beauty of the natural world and at the same time reduce stress, enhance clarity of thought, improve well-being and expedite healing.
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 orientation of the pavilion will have a huge impact on the quality of natural light filtering in along with the amount of potential solar gain – the level of natural heating provided by the sun. A floor with high thermal mass has the capacity to absorb, store and release it in the evening. In combination with a curtain-wall and roof glazing system that meets the highest requirements for passive house standards; the building addresses energy consumption in a thoughtful and elegant way.