Structural EngineersStructure Mode
ContractorsE&C Building and Design
Architect in ChargeMatthew Wood, Stephanie Reid
Text description provided by the architects. The client wanted a new extension which was of a similar size to the existing conservatory, but with a bit more climatic stability, a little less glare and more privacy whilst still retaining light and the relationship to their modest Dalston garden. The clients were keen to embrace a unique design solution.
MW Architects, in close collaboration with Structure Mode, designed a lightweight roof comprised of a lattice of beams which curve in both directions, with a stressed plywood skin. The roof is supported along the rear edge and on six square steel columns.
The design utilises the existing conservatory foundations and retains the floor slab including underfloor heating and tiles - a cost effective and practical strategy.
To control solar gain and glare, the roof peels upwards to take advantage of low winter sun and maximise the visual connection to the garden. The roof overhang shades the glazing from the high summer sun thereby creating an effectively insulated space with a tactile exciting roof.
The roof dips down along its western edge to respect the adjoining neighbours’ view by matching the eaves level of the old conservatory. A clerestory all round lifts the roof so it appears to float.
A series of 3D models were developed using BIM, and then used to laser cut 1:10 scale models. The physical models and connections within were analysed and assembled to inform the design and construction process. The final model drawings were used as the full-size CNC template.
Curved roof beams were cut from LVL timber panels and then bolted together on site. This careful material choice enabled the beams to be small enough to maintain head room, whilst each structural grid connection is self-reciprocating - the curving edges provide stability to the cantilevering eaves.
The result is a unique calm space. The roof is tactile and well within reach at its lowest points. It encourages visitors to touch it and look at it. The curve draws the eye outwards and upwards. It is an uplifting space that feels connected to the outside but isn’t overexposed as the previous fully glazed conservatory was. The light and temperature is now well regulated, making it a functional and enjoyable space to be in.