Going green…by going outdoors

The veranda became a popular part of colonial architecture in the late 19th century and was common throughout countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the Western United States. In some cases every room of a home would open out onto a covered veranda. They were an incredibly distinctive part of colonial architecture and became an important additional ‘room’ for any family home blurring the boundary between inside and outside spaces. The veranda is intended to be an important social space where you can sit outside and watch the world go by, a place to either sit on your own in a comfortable chair or a place for family and fiends to gather. That is why I’ve never understood why the veranda isn’t a more common part of the British Home. I appreciate that in hot countries the veranda is a place where you are sheltered from the heat of the sun, but the veranda is also great way of being able to sit outside and enjoy the outdoors while being protected from the rain. Now, we have a lot of rain in the UK and so often I like to sit outside and enjoy watching even the harshest of wet weather, but when so many British homes have nothing more than a small canopy over the front door there is never a place to sit, gather and do this. A veranda can either be built on the front of your home relating to the street or on the rear of your home connecting to your garden and can either be modern or traditional in style depending on the style of your home. Architects should consider them on their one-off grand designs projects and the large house builders should seriously consider them on their spec built housing estates. I intentionally designed our last project for George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, the woodland hut, with a large veranda around 3 sides of the hut to link the small interior to the beautiful surroundings. But verandas can transform even the most ordinary home from an enclosed dwelling to one that opens up and connects in a more sociable way to the great outdoors. Bring back the veranda!

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