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Bridgewater House, Altrincham

It is rare to come across a property that is situated immediately adjacent to Bridgewater canal. The owners were keen to achieve views down the canal but wished to maintain a degree of privacy given that the opposite side of the canal has a fairly regular flow of walkers and cyclists along the path. The house is situated in the Oldfield Brow area of Altrincham which is typified by late 20th century housing developments. As a result, the positioning of the house and it’s unique relationship with the canal were the main focus and we were able to treat the external design of the property as more of a blank canvas.

Altrincham, Manchester

Two Story Extension

Scope of Work

  • Survey of existing end terrace property in Altrincham. Including internal measurements to establish relationship with canal and internal survey data.
  • Proposed plan layout drawings for two storey side extension with part single storey rear extension to form open plan living space and additional bedroom space.
  • Preparation of householder planning application to Trafford council, including acting as agent through to approval stage.
  • Building regulations plans and elevations integrating structural engineers information.
Bridgewater House Altrincham Northedge Architecture
Bridgewater House Altrincham Northedge Architecture

Having engaged with Trafford Council we felt that they would be open to a contemporary approach to this property and locality, especially as the houses nearby were fairly modern additions to the area. We picked up on the trees that lined the canal and saw an opportunity for the design to be driven by the materiality. The timber appearance cladding provided a contemporary architectural design whilst being sensitive enough to soften the contrasting external off-white rendering. Having previously used timber cladding on other projects, we were aware that the exposed location and proximity to water would possibly lead to vulnerabilities in using wood, regardless of it being treated. We offered solutions to the clients which involved the option of composite slatted timber cladding which is much more stable, consistent in its colour and spacing and wouldn’t require ongoing maintenance, all of which assisting in the construction phase of the project.

Bridgewater House Altrincham Northedge Architecture
Bridgewater House Altrincham Northedge Architecture

Our approach as architects often involves producing plan options for the layout and for this scheme we did a number of iterations of the design to ensure the client was satisfied they had sufficient space for the open plan living areas but also the more functional, storage, study and utility areas. The proposal was for a two storey side extension and single storey rear extension. The two storey element extends the accommodation sideways allowing for a central staircase and rooms branching either side. At ground floor we kept in mind the need for open views of the canal from within the house, but also to form more private enclosures whereby the clients wouldn’t feel on show when sitting externally. A single storey extension was proposed to accommodate the lounge which was set back from the canal edge to shelter it with enhanced privacy. The living areas are formed around an L-shape arrangement with the kitchen and dining areas being able to open up to an external terrace via wrap around corner glazing. These bifolds can open up to create a continuity between inside and outside spaces.

Bridgewater House Altrincham Northedge Architecture

We were conscious that we the modern extension needed to integrate with the existing house and as a result we proposed opportunities for smaller interventions of cladding on the existing parts of the property such as the garage door and entrance porch. With many end of terrace and semi-detached properties around Timperley and Altrincham, the side elevation is often a secondary consideration compared with the front and back of the property. But with the exposed location on the canal we came up with an affordable architectural design solution that would create a consistent language around the front, side and rear elevations. We proposed a wrap around canopy that would create a datum line for the change of materials and would extend from the entrance porch, over the corner glazing and to the rear. This is a truly unique property within Altrincham and is a modern landmark that is to be admired along the Bridgewater canal.