Architect: Amanda Levete Architects
Location: London, England
Project Director: Ho-Yin Ng
Project team: Gidon Fuehrer, Chris Geneste, Soren Aagaard, Alan Dempsey – Project Architect, John O’Mara, Michael Mitchell
Client: Clarendon Properties
Main Contractor: Powells Group
Façade: Frener & Reifer
Interiors: Windsor Workshop Ltd.
Constructed Area: 14,220 sqm
Project year: 2007-2009
Photographs: Gidon Fuehrer
Many narrow streets and alleyways off Oxford Street, London are currently misused and underdeveloped. These under regarded areas are ideal not only for improvement, but also for relatively unconventional design opportunities. Our proposal acknowledges this by providing an architectural intervention that subtly draws attention to the building through the intrigue of a sculptural façade. Inspired by the art work of Lucio Fontana large glazed areas orientated towards the sky are slashed into the façade, maximising the natural light available in this narrow street.
This sculptural form is achieved using a system of aluminium profiles used in the production of high quality, ship hulls. The facade is fabricated using curved 140mm wide aluminium profiles that are connected together on-site, using a tongue-and-groove system ensuring water-tightness and construction efficiency. The metallic silver finish is a high performance durable paint typically used on super yachts. The use of self cleaning glass and an ingenious detail of hidden gutters within the eyelids ensures the facade remains low maintenance.
The ground floor is fronted by a bespoke laminated glass in which is sandwiched a stainless steel mesh and semi opaque interlayer over a dichromatic film. This is lit from behind, using fibre optics to generate a coloured moiré pattern providing dynamic visual interest and a feeling of depth to what would otherwise be a blank wall.