A Retirement Gift

A Retirement Gift

Vita Architecture
Reigate, United Kingdom | View Map
Project Year
Private Houses
Richard Chivers

A Retirement Gift

Vita Architecture as Architects

The project began in July 2016 and was completed in January 2017 for £174,000. It is an extension and refurbishment using quite a unique palette of materials with a golden aluminium panelling system blended with a glazing system with sliding glass doors.

Initially thoughts of a traditional extension with pitched tiled roofs and bi-fold doors with wide frames and hinges were suggested by the client, but after several design discussions we were able to develop a proposal that gave them a balcony space instead of a pitched roof which doubled their area and gave them the prime views across the garden.

Downstairs, the idea of bi-fold doors soon disappeared and was replaced with a fully glazed sliding door system with an opening corner. Careful detailing and a precise eye on specifications ensured that a glazed system with only 18mm frames allowed maximum amounts of daylight to flood the interiors.

The result is a glass and aluminium clad extension with an opening corner which blends the interior into the exterior giving them space to truly enjoy their garden from.

What was the brief?

The proposal’s brief centred around the couple being able to ‘enjoy their cup of tea’. As a retired couple, they loved the existing home but felt it needed updating with a kitchen refurbishment and dining space to enjoy the garden from, so a design which felt minimal in its impact but gave them the space to sit and enjoy their garden was key.

What were the key challenges?

There were 3 main challenges to this project.

One challenge was that the client was very well informed on the typical cost per sqm rates across the industry so wanted the space to be on par with this to represent value.

Secondly, was to maximise the views.

Lastly, having a balcony space meant potential planning issues but after several meetings with the pre-application department, we were able to overcome the overlooking issues by integrating a privacy screen into the architecture.

What were the solutions?

To ensure the build was meeting the client's budget aspirations we designed the balcony space to factor into their cost per sqm rate. This meant that the build, despite being relatively high specification, came in at a rate which they felt represented value.

In order to maximise the views, we used a minimal frame glazing system and developed the brief to include a balcony space instead of a pitched roof effectively doubling the amount of space they could enjoy their views from.

We were able to negotiate the overlooking issue without compromising the design by wrapping the aluminium cladding around the balcony and glazing to form a band of gold that raised up to obscure views to the neighbouring property whilst being in keeping with the design concept.

Material Used:

- The client was looking for something more contemporary than the existing house and something that could be quite eye-catching. So we proposed an aluminium Valcan panel.

- Many aluminium products out there came with minimum order sizes or long lead times but the Valcan panel met with the aspirations of the client both in terms of aesthetics and delivery times.

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