Tuesday, 28 December 2010

....an hour to kill in London

During a trip to London last week I had a spare hour to myself; so I took the opportunity to visit Foster's 'The Gherkin' up close!

It's footprint is surprisingly small and whilst it dominates the skyline, it has a light non-oppressive feel at ground level and somehow, compliments the scale of adjacent low rise buildings.

The main entrance into the building is very subtle by the simple exclusion of perimeter glazing to eight triangular segments; the ground floor envelope is also recessed to create a dramatic external sheltered area behind structure. 

The detail of the form is tremendously elegant; the structure is subtlety evident behind the glazing and yet, the eye is still drawn to the kissing point of the glazing triangle at ground level.

Much to my surprise at the location of the Swiss Re building, I found an old favourite within photoshot....Lloyd's of London by Richard Rogers!

I visited this building for the first time in 1988 after its completion in 1986; it looks great today as it did 22 years ago.

The external stainless steel cladding to the stair cores maintains the building's lustre and the external services and lifts certainly retains dynamism.  

The elements of exposed concrete and ducting are showing subtle signs of weathering, however, for a building that was designed over 30 years ago, it'll still look great for decades to come.

Directly opposite Lloyds however, are the beginning's of 'The Cheese grater', again by Roger's, so hopefully another trip will perhaps be required around 2014. 

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to see the completion of Renzo Piano's 'The Shard' in 2012.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Fradswell to build new Village Hall.

Having presented a scheme to the committee of Fradswell Parish Council in October 2010, we were delighted to hear today that our firm was nominated as preferred Architects based upon design rather cost! We're very pleased that the practice has been awarded this project and we're certain the other three firms made a great effort; the project isn't the largest in the office, but it certainly will be an interesting one.

As a practice we are always striving to be include sustainable ideas, albeit frequently challenged on cost by the client; however, the scheme does include a variety of features that will minimize the running costs for the facility for decades to come.

We have included Underground Water tanks for grey water harvesting, Passive Ventilation Stacks for natural ventilation in lieu of mechanical and we are currently researching the possible use of Air Source Heating.

The building will have enhanced insulation properties specified for improved thermal requirements and Solar Photovoltaic and Solar Water Heating Panels are also offered, but may be challenged by the financial brief. Materials for the building are intended to be sourced locally and where specified, from manufacturers with strong sustainable codes of practice.

The site is within open countryside and our thoughts were to create a facility that echoed an agricultural texture and form. From the lanes or adjacent fields, only the ridge line would be seen above hedgerows and with this mind, the use of profiled metal cladding and ventilation stacks are proposed.
Within the site, the appearance needs to reflect a typical agricultural building, hence the timber cladding and expressed steel frame; however, for durability and potential vandal resistance, low level brickwork has been introduced.

The sustainable elements and interior function influence the composition and scale of the building. Solar shading devices are required along the southern facades and a spectating veranda is provided overlooking the playing fields. The multi use hall capitalizes the large volume where necessary and the lower eaves areas along the northern facade are ideal for storage, toilets and  bicycle stores. 

Attached are a few visuals:

Main Entrance View

South West view
Rear Elevtion
South East view
We would like to thank David Arscott for preparing the visuals and look forward to developing another competition scheme. In the meantime, we're looking forward to working with Fradswell Parish Council and supporting them in delivering a great community building.

Friday, 12 November 2010

About Time

Its only taken me 4 years to ponder about blogging, but thanks to Leigh Adams and Sarah Coleman aka Inkymole.com; I'm in!
Not sure where to begin, but hopefully will have plenty to drone about...I think; seems a bit daunting now.
Anyway, I'll dig deep into those grey cells and ponder what to share.
Be back soon......hopefully :0)