Architect and property developer Chris Taylor has used the VELFAC composite system to create an original orangery design - an ideal addition to a historic building.

New windows refurbish an older property

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Located on the outskirts of Leek, Staffordshire, Pike Hall Farm was built in the 1800s and has recently been refurbished by owner and architect Chris Taylor. ‘Our aim was to sympathetically improve an historic property using an ‘eco house’ brief, and to extend the building’s relatively small ground floor footprint. The exposed site offers a panorama of the surrounding countryside so we also wanted to create a structure from which we could enjoy the view all year round.’

Adding Living Area
The solution was to use VELFAC composite windows (also installed throughout the property) to create a stunning, single story orangery running across the rear of the farmhouse building which - at 3.8m by 5.3m - adds around 45 per cent extra living area to the ground floor. The orangery features full height windows to the front aspect, installed in combination with a bi-parting glazed patio door. Frameless corner units run round to meet further full height glazing set on dwarf walls, together with an integrated ‘air lock’ porch to one side.

Keep Cold Air Out
A zinc roof with roof light, set at a three degree pitch, floats above the orangery with runoff managed using rain chains set within perspex pipes. The roof deliberately over sails the structure to provide shade, which could be augmented in future by motorised blinds fixed to the interior. The offset porch, which leads into the house, creates a space for muddy boots, and prevents cold air and draughts entering the interior, while the orangery is accessed from the main house by glazed internal VELFAC doors.

Combining Insulation and Architecture
‘I opted for the VELFAC system because it is a ‘true’ composite, renowned for its quality and guaranteed levels of insulation, as well as proven resistance to extreme weather conditions – essential for such an exposed structure,’ explains Chris. 'We specified triple-glazed units for maximum insulation, paying close attention to the air tightness, and to construction detailing in order to avoid any cold bridging. We chose off-white as a finish for both external aluminium and inner pine frames, and the strong vertical frame repeats the distinctive single vertical mullions which we used in the VELFAC windows installed across the main building. This, in turn, reflects the historic local architecture, where silk weavers used large windows with minimal frame designs in order to fill their workrooms with natural light.’

More Daylight while meeting Regulations
The Pikehall Farm orangery is a highly stylish, elegant yet practical addition to the old building: ‘It is amazingly comfortable, whatever the weather, and always flooded with light,’ says Chris. ‘The orangery met the current permitted development regulations, and so is the type of structure which could be replicated in many other properties. We also opted to ‘seal’ the orangery with an internal glazed door in order to meet building regulations more easily, but given the insulation performance of the VELFAC range such a door is not always needed, and a similar structure could be used to add a seamless extension to an interior space.’ 

Sector: Private house / extension / renovation

Architect: Chris Taylor (owner)

Specified for:

  • ‘True’ composite construction
  • Energy efficiency
  • Design versatility
  • Contemporary style
  • Bi-parting door

You can download this case study here.