bigger on the inside - a surprising sustainable loft

Red Co-operative Ltd, Manchester , 2019



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South Manchester is seeing a boom in extensions to homes in the characterful fringes of conservation areas

Here the brief was to create a well functioning, energy conscious extension serving the growing needs of a family, while responding to the character of the area.   The client was inspired by Red Co-operative’s growing reputation for providing innovative and inspiring retrofit solutions.     The first challenge was to make it possible, done by radical restructuring of the existing roof to open up the space with the plywood interior finish forming part of the primary structure.

The only external evidence of the considerable amount of new space created is a carefully crafted zinc clad box with triple glazed windows. This is insulated with high performing composite structural insulation panels to ensure good internal ceiling height while keeping to the original ridge-line The staircase, which in keeping with an Arts and Craft property was hand built by Charlie in his studio workshop, was made from UK grown Douglas Fir.

Honed to millimetre precision, it was manufactured to navigate through the narrow corridor of the original house then fitted together on site, bringing light into the centre of the building, emerging from the tenebrosity of the main house into a an open modern space flooded with light and long views over the surrounding rooftops.   Key benefits include : super-insulated, requiring no heating modern design providing setting for the original building contrast not imitation adding excitement as well as supervision to the adjacent alley proving the untapped potential of locally grown wood showing how adapting buildings from our past can enable them to play a crucial role in our futures, minimising the use of additional energy and resources sustainable choice and use of materials.

Photography by Charlie Baker


  • Begun: May 2018
  • Completed: Sep 2019
  • Floor area: 47m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £62,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Procurement: Design and Build (bespoke)
  • Address: Rusholme, Manchester , United Kingdom

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