Walls protect and walls limit. It is in the nature of walls that they should fall.
Stockport, United Kingdom
Grundy Street is a charming 3-bedroomed terrace house in Heaton Mersey; a residential suburb of Stockport that lies on the north bank of the River Mersey. The clients, a couple with a penchant for cycling, wished to remodel a north-facing annexe - currently a galley kitchen and utility room with a inharmonious mix of original finishes and fixtures - to form the best possible relationship with the movements of the sun as well as the adjacent and neglected rear exterior space.
In response to this feedback, the re-imagining of the space began with the reconfiguration of the existing form, configuration and pattern of the window and door openings. Within, a Ikea Metod kitchen structure faced with painted-ply and oak from Naked Kitchens complements a minimal palette of natural materials - soft grey plaster walls, white veined marble and grey concrete floor - and fixtures from interior brands such as Smeg, Kohler, Poliform and Vibia.
Beyond this, a calming hallway with a wall-mounted bike rack for secure, convenient bike parking leads out to a 6-seater outdoor dining table from Tribu complemented by a freestanding pergola with integrated planters and vines that offer privacy as well as protection from the sun at the hottest times of the day. Adjacent is a gravel pathway - softened with natural elements such as planters, trees, ornamental rocks and pools - leads to a "outdoor room" that can be treated as an additional seating area.
The end result is a new, generous and almost uninterrupted multi-functional interior space with a through-flow from interior to exterior space that is not only easy and seamless; but also fosters a sense of connection with the natural world - plantings, birds, wildlife, the cycle of the seasons and the open skies - and all the psychological, physiological, emotional and spiritual benefits it brings with it.
Residential, Remodelling, Private House
Transform Two Rooms
1 Passive Solar Lighting
A collection of low-carbon building design concepts that harvest the free energy of the sun in order to permeate and invigorate internal space as well as reduce or eliminate our consumption of environmentally destructive fossil fuels.
A solid timber and aluminium roof glazing system will be overshadowed for most of the year by the existing building. However, the east is free from overshadowing and receives an initial boost of direct sunlight in the morning and diffuse sky radiation will provide the interior with indirect natural overhead lighting throughout the day.
A solid timber and aluminium curtain wall system will be overshadowed for most of the year by the existing building. However, the east, west and north facades will source natural light from alternate directions to take best advantage of sunlight at different times of the day to complement the indirect natural overhead lighting throughout the day.
1.4 Internal Reflectances
A subtle colour range of classic neutral colours and textures e.g. silvery grey trowel-on plaster coatings for the walls reflect available natural light as well as spread it around the interior.
Voile panels that pull back from the curtain wall offers the clients privacy as well as gently diffuse any overbearing impact of the morning sun without obscuring natural light filtering in. A “living curtain” of creepers located above the curtain wall act as a supplementary natural blind that can also generate evocative patterns that alter with the direction and level of the sun.
1.6 Artificial Lighting
To maximize the efficiency and quality of the electrical lighting system, technologically based strategies include the selection of energy efficient LED’s that use up to 90% less energy than traditional sources; luminaires [i.e. angled spotlights] that provide a good general level of background light as well as a soft, restful atmosphere and; dimmable lighting controls that save energy by reducing the flow of electricity to the bulb and allowing lights to operate with lower power outputs.
2 Passive Solar Heating
In simple terms, passive solar heating is a low carbon building concept in which windows, walls and floors are utilised to collect, store, reflect and distribute solar gain – natural heating provided by the sun – in order to heat the home in winter and thus reduce or eliminate the consumption of environmentally destructive fossil fuels.
2.2 Direct gain
During the heating season [i.e. winter] the same south-facing curtain wall, roof glazing and window that provides the interior with natural overhead and side lighting also collect solar energy in the form of heat.
2.3 Thermal Storage
The application of high mass materials: cast-in-place concrete floor slab and ceramic tiles for the floor and trowel-on plaster over masonry walls near the east-facing glazing allows for the sun’s energy to be absorbed and released throughout the evening and night.
2.4 Heating Technologies
The pavilion floor comprises of a cast-in-place concrete floor slab, 20mm heating insulation board and a underfloor floor heating and uncoupling membrane to creats an efficient yet aesthetically pleasing heating solution.
3 Fabric First
The “fabric first” approach is a low carbon building design solution that maximises the thermal performance of the homes components – windows, walls, floors and ceilings – in order to reduce the loss of natural heating provided by the sun and thus reduce our dependence on environmentally destructive fossil fuels.
The solid timber and aluminium curtain wall façade and roof glazing system as well as the windows and doors meet the highest requirements for passive house standards: the world’s leading standard in energy efficient construction.
The south-façade of solid brick comprises of 50mm thermal laminate plasterboard finished with a soft-white trowel on plaster coating and a precise 12.5mm shadow gap [where applicable]. The floor comprises of a cast-in-place concrete floor slab, 20mm heating insulation board finished with cement effect ceramic tiles. The ceiling comprises a 31.5mm thermal laminate board finished with a soft-white trowel on plaster coating.
4 Biophilic Design
Biophilic Design is a concept that brings elements of the natural world in to the built environment for improved health and well-being
4.2 Visual Connection with Nature
that can reduce stress through lower blood pressure and heart rate; increase positive emotional functioning, improve concentration and recovery rates as well as improve attitude and overall happiness.
4.3 Non-Visual Connection with Nature
e.g. herbs and flowers, birdsong, weather, breezes that can accelerate physiological and psychological restoration, reduce cognitive fatigue and help motivation.
4.4 Thermal and airflow variability
i.e. sensory variations in light, sound and temperature can improve concentration.
4.5 Presence of Water
e.g. visual access to rainfall and water features can elicit a higher restorative response, improve self esteem and mood as well as reduce stress.
4.6 Dynamic and Diffuse Light
e.g. direct sunlight, moonlight and starlight can increase productivity, induce positive moods and impact the circadian system functioning.
4.7 Connection with Natural Systems
i.e. climate and weather patterns, stars and constellations can elicit an experience that is often relaxing, nostalgic, profound or enlightening, and frequently anticipated.
4.8 Material Connection with Nature
e.g. natural wood grain, stone and natural colours such as green can decrease diastolic blood pressure, increase in pulse rate and decrease in brain activity.
Thank you so much for sharing your vision with us; it is more than we could have dreamed of...!
Mr & Mrs Ruane
WALLS CAN BE MORE