Architectural Solutions for Roof Terraces and Extensions

The trend to ‘improve, not move’ isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but with floor space at a minimum, and London councils cutting down on basement extensions, home owners across the country are coining a new phrase:  Move Up not OutRoof Terraces and loft extensions or conversions are popular home extension techniques, and are now the most common type of extension within London.

The RICS (Royal Institute of Charter Surveyors) carried out a study revealing that homes all over the country are turning roofs and lofts into extra livings spaces, claiming it is the ‘Rise of the peoples penthouse’.

But how can architects and designers create a useable, inviting living area whilst confirming to Building Regulations restrictions for head heights, fire regulations, and planning constraints?

The Modern Loft Conversion

Loft conversion designs have moved away from the traditional Mansard roof extension and boxy Dorma windows.

Slim framed sliding doors lead from a loft conversion bedroom to small balcony

Designs can be exciting, contemporary and minimal whilst making the most of the added height and view.  Oversized windows can transform a simple Dorma into an architectural feature by either using fixed, frameless structural glass or slim framed sliding glass doors.

Incorporating a frameless glass balustrade can create a small balcony area without restricting views and light, or integrate the balcony into the sliding door frames for a contemporary Juliette Balcony design.

Frameless windows were used to give this loft conversion a modern design

IQ Glass recently assisted on a large house renovation project in London where the loft was converted into a new master bedroom. Here a modern take on the Dorma window was used to maintain the contemporary appearance of the renovations, and ensure the master bedroom was filled with natural light.

Our slim framed sliding glass doors fill the entire window opening, ensuring maximum glass area, leading out onto a small external balcony. Here frameless glass balustrades provide the necessary safety barrier without impeding views or reducing natural light into the loft extension.

The Rise of the Roof Terrace

A recent emerging trend, especially in crowded cities, is the creation of external roof terraces. These, often small, outdoor spaces can create an amazing retreat from inner city life above the crowds and can add upwards of 10% to property values.

Even the smallest roof area can be converted into a roof top oasis with interesting and unique design elements ensuring that these outdoor spaces can make the most of even the smallest areas.

An automated sliding roof light was installed to allow easy access to a new roof terrace in North London

Access can sometimes be an issue, especially on narrow London properties. Automated sliding roof lights can be used as minimal roof access hatches, creating easy access to a new roof terrace without reducing too much outdoor space.

Although these roof top spaces can be suntraps the alternating UK weather can sometimes put home owners off the creation of roof top al fresco living areas.

The introduction of some type of roof to a rooftop terrace could ensure that these external spaces can be used throughout more of the year. Considering typical planning restraints these ‘roofs’ are normally required to be temporary structures.

The new Umbris Louvre Roof from IQ Glass is the perfect solution for these roof terrace designs; a temporary structure, modern design, automated solar shading. In addition the automated louvres create a watertight patio roof when fully closed creating a usable roof terrace all year round, throughout the UK’s tumultuous weather changes.

An Umbris Louver Roof used on the upper floor of this residential block to protect the patio living space.

Trend Alert

The inclusion of these contemporary roof top pergolas on some of London’s latest residential developments, such as Embassy Gardens and Paddington Exchange, gives an insight into their emerging popularity. We expect to see these roof top Pergolas being used more often throughout the commercial and residential marketing, creating extended and protected external areas.


Contact IQ Glass for further information about any of the products mentioned in this article

01494 722 880

600450 Architectural Solutions for Roof Terraces and Extensions

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