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Planning and Design of Orangeries

"Traditionally orangeries were built on stately homes to host exotic plants which required a combination of light and warmth to flourish. In the early 17th century orange trees and pomegranates became popular features in orangeries in the large estates across Europe."

Orangeries - The New Living Space


Website: Oak Conservatories UK

An orangery is distinctive form of building characterized by a flat roof with a clear glass roof lantern.

Traditionally orangeries were built on stately homes to host exotic plants which required a combination of light and warmth to flourish. In the early 17th century orange trees and pomegranates became popular features in orangeries in the large estates across Europe.

Today the role and function of the orangery has changed from an opulent environment for foreign plants to a place which is the favourite domestic living area in the house.

The trend towards buildings with more natural light and greater use of glass has led to an upsurge in the adoption of orangeries as the natural way to extend an existing home. The orangery has now become the new kitchen and breakfast room providing an open plan space in an area exposed to natural light.

However, if you are considering extending your home and opting for an orangery rather than a classic extension or a conservatory there are several key aspects to consider.

Main construction - Brick, Stone or Timber
More traditional designs comprise the brick buildings with stone pilasters that encase timber windows and ornate stone cornices that rise above the flat roof. However a growing trend is towards orangeries where the walls are fabricated from hardwood, often in a premium timber like oak which can be naturally oiled to create a lavish interior environment.

One Lantern or Several
An orangery can have one or several lanterns. A single large lantern will open the room to more light. Multiple lanterns will concentrate the light into more defined spaces, for instance above a breakfast table or a seating area. Planning the use of the open plan roof along with the lanterns size and placing is essential.

Types of Lanterns
Lanterns can be made from three main materials: Hardwood, aluminum and PVCu. Hardwood is the most popular domestic option, although aluminum is far more popular on big commercial applications because of the structural requirements of larger spans. PVCu lanterns are rarely used. Whilst they perform the same function they are less suitable for the more luxurious designs of these buildings

Roof Material
The flat roof is an important feature of an orangery and one that will be viewed from the upper windows of the house. The more traditional and expensive options are to cover the roof in lead, copper or zinc. These require traditional craftsmen and require the roof to be stepped to allow for the folding of the material. There are now arrays of synthetic material that can be sprayed on the flat room that function extremely well and come with long guarantees. However, avoid the cheapest option, which is a felt roof covering used on common garden sheds.
Ventilation
The orangery roof lanterns often sit high above the room making the use of manual window openers less practical, although some people opt do this via and extended pole. The most common route is to use electrical roof vents which can be purchased with climate controls and will close automatically when it rains.

Planning and Regulatory Control
All orangeries will require planning permission and building regulations approval. In undertaking this it is essential that you employ professional help because unlike a simple extension, complex calculations are often necessary to prove the strength of the roof supporting the lanterns.

So, if you are considering an orangery where you should go for advice?

The options are more limited than if you were just planning a simple extension. Orangeries are complex building and require a range of skills ranging from the existing survey and design through to the co-ordination of a range of specialist trades.

There are a number of architects that can be contacted via the Royal Institute of British Architects website on http://www.riba.org. Alternatively if you are looking for a supplier than can undertake the design through to installation then there are specialist conservatory companies that are experts at undertaking this work.

2006 Charles Turner
Managing Director – Oak Conservatories UK
To learn more about Richmond Oak orangeries visit http://www.oakconservatories.co.uk


Note: This article was submitted by a second party and the contents are subject to our disclaimer.

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