Boxing Clever

Glazing Vision’s box rooflight maximises the potential of a Lancaster water tower conversion project

In association with


Glazing Vision’s three-wall box rooflight has been installed in a converted water tower at the former Lancaster Moor Hospital in Lancashire. Located close to the Forest of Bowland in a designated area of natural beauty, the gothic-style, grade-two listed former asylum has been transformed into a multi-million pound housing development by the PJ Livesey Group, and was shortlisted for the LABC NW Building Excellence Awards 2016.

Restoring Gothic architecture for contemporary living space
The conversion of the stone water tower into a residential apartment posed a number of structural challenges. Chief among these was the removal of narrow spiral staircase and a water tank containing more then 1.1 million litres of water without damaging the existing fabric. The installation of a generous roof terrace formed part of original concept, but the existing roof was deemed too high to provide sufficient barrier safety in relation to the parapet walls.

Glass box rooflight solution for terrace access and aesthetics
PJL Group initially favoured a hinged Glazing Vision Skydoor rooflight, before choosing the company’s innovative box rooflight. The latter not only provides superior head height, but also removes the requirement for a balustrade around the roof opening.

A key consideration was to ensure that the building remained watertight as construction work progressed to the rooftop phase. The solution was to build a new roof under the old one, with an aperture for the bespoke box rooflight formed before removal of the existing structure. Supplied in a powder-coated grey finish and fixed to three of the existing walls, the rooflight requires no additional balustrading, guaranteeing full use of the roof terrace and seamless integration between inside and out.


A retractable glazed section, which slides over the fixed unit, is operated at the touch of a button, providing a clear 50 per cent opening and sufficient head height for easy access. Building occupants can climb the small stairwell while the rooflight is retracting into its open position, without having to bow their heads. A secure manual override detects movement during the open/close operation, ensuring safe operation. An access keypad provides user comfort and security.

In keeping with the development’s contemporary aesthetic, the large glazed sections of the box rooflight ensure that the interior is flooded with natural light, while views of Bowland Fells, Morecambe Bay and the night sky are maximised.


Recognition for the Lancaster Moor project
PJL Group’s sensitive conversion of the water tower and residential development at Lancaster Moor was named Bespoke & Urban Developer of the Year at the inaugural NW Insider Residential Property Awards in 2016.

Find out more about specifying box rooflights that comply with Approved Document K by downloading Glazing Vision’s Part K Whitepaper.


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