The existing house is a Victorian semi-detached dwelling comprising a traditional layout of two floors of bedrooms over a ground floor living room, dining room and small kitchen with an existing set of basement chambers that occupy the full footprint of the house.
The brief from the client, a family with three young children, was to convert the existing basement chambers to provide additional bedroom accommodation and extend the ground floor to create an open kitchen, dining and family living area.
The existing layout of the house suffered from a disjointed, cellular arrangement that resulted in family members being isolated in separate rooms. The intention was to adapt and create enough living space to resolve the imbalance of bedroom versus living accommodation; to mesh the new with the old and not to simply stitch on another new volume.
AWARDS: Manchester Society of Architects Design Award (2014), RIBA Regional Award (Shortlisted – 2013)
This conversion therefore seeks to take advantage of the additional volume offered by the existing basement chambers without adding another separate space. The approach was to hollow out the core of the building, removing the existing ground floor at the rear of the property, and insert a new spiral of accommodation that steps down from the existing entrance level through a new dining platform, into a kitchen and finally into a new guest suite via dedicated utility and storage spaces. It opens up what was dark and unusable basement space and removes the need for stepped garden access whilst providing an impressive light filled double height dining space. The demolition and extension of the existing outrigger was also undertaken. The new outrigger was designed as a visibly different component that slots into the back of the larger volume of the house, an expression of the new inside, and provides a mezzanine family room open to the kitchen
and dining area below.
The result of this restructuring of space is a series of new rooms within a larger, lighter, open volume. Rooms that offer a feeling of connectivity yet maintain their own distinct boundaries and uses.
The extended outrigger is clad in vertical timber boarding that is stained black, providing a striking contrast to the existing property. The roof and rear wall of the new outrigger is finished in slate, reclaimed from the demolished outrigger.