Architects: Amin Taha Architects
Location: London, England
Photographs: Charles Hosea
From the architect. Located off Broadway Market, south of London Fields in one of the poorer, but upcoming east-end areas, Ada Street accommodates six apartments above two small retail units in an area with the largest number of different languages spoken in the city with the largest population of artist per square kilometer in Europe. With creative shops, bars and clubs to reflect the Local Authority’s more relaxed approach to design aesthetics, Amin Taha Architects formed a structure asymmetrical in appearance with subtly battered and sloping walls and floor plates and a gentle scattering of window openings. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The building is finished in an all-encompassing monolithic black render making up all external elements of the building including, parapets, sills, and window reveals. Internally exposed block-work, concrete floors and ceilings with some gypsum partitions the apartments.
The client expressed an ambition for utility and unadorned domesticity. The practice’s general strategy is to find a binding aesthetic form with a reduced material palette. The detail illustrates the extension of this logic through the use of fewer, yet standard products to reduce construction junction types, associated specialist trades, their time on site and associated costs.
Externally, the Dryvit insulated render system, certified to 24 degrees from the horizontal, is used to perform a number of roles, avoiding the need for copings, sills, external gutters and drains. First it was used to weather external walls and the upper pitched roof, and around window openings to form reveals, returning to an integral sloping sill. At roof level the system alone forms the parapet and coping, terminating against the roof coverings. Finally, the integral DPC at the base avoids an overlap of trades when sealing the building. Together with Velfac’s glazing and Guaranteed Asphalt’s inverted flat roof, the external envelope is reduced to three products and trades, contributing to the coherence of the form.
This reduction is followed through internally, where precast concrete planks are left as exposed soffits, and floors are power-floated concrete. This standard floor build-up was engineered to meet acoustic performance requirements without the need for suspended plasterboard ceilings or raised floors. The resultant savings permit the use of underfloor heating and 5 amp lighting circuits throughout, allowing better room layout flexibility, without radiators or pendants determining furniture arrangements.