VEX / Chance de Silva

VEX / Chance de Silva - Image 2 of 19VEX / Chance de Silva - Windows, FacadeVEX / Chance de Silva - Countertop, ChairVEX / Chance de Silva - Handrail, WindowsVEX / Chance de Silva - More Images+ 14

Greater London, United Kingdom
  • Music Composer: Robin Rimbaud
  • Architect In Charge: Stephen Chance
  • City: Greater London
  • Country: United Kingdom
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VEX / Chance de Silva - Handrail, Windows
© Hélène Binet

Text description provided by the architects. Vex is a unique architecture/sound collaboration. It is an in situ concrete house which arose out of the collaboration between musician Robin Rimbaud (known as ‘Scanner') and architects Chance de Silva.

VEX / Chance de Silva - Windows, Facade
© Hélène Binet

Music and architecture both take as their starting point Erik Satie's 'Vexations' – a looping, repetitive piano work that lasts around 18 hours in continuous performance. 

VEX / Chance de Silva - Windows, Facade
© Hélène Binet

This is to our knowledge the first architecture/sound collaboration of this type since Le Corbusier/Xenakis/Varèse's Philips Pavilion of 1958. (In that it was envisaged as an integrated design collaboration, with the music and architecture symbiotic and made in parallel, rather than the sound added later as an installation in an existing building).

Section B-B

Creating the continuously changing, fluted exterior concrete required formidable craftsmanship in making the boat-like formwork.

VEX / Chance de Silva - Windows, Column
© Hélène Binet

Internally, exposed concrete ceilings, elements of wall and a single elliptical column create a warm, cavelike feel – although the building is paradoxically very light with window positions responding to Satie’s musical score as well as contextual and sunlight parameters.

VEX / Chance de Silva - Facade
© Hélène Binet

Wherever an upper floor is 'pulled back' from the one below a crescent-shaped rooflight results. Where an upper floor overlaps the one below, there is a reflective soffit of galvanised steel.

VEX / Chance de Silva - Windows, Wood, Beam
© Hélène Binet

The building is a very bold addition to a London conservation area (of predominantly Victorian houses). It nudges forward of the historic building line to give views down the street, capture sunshine around the clock, and look out towards a local landmark church.

VEX / Chance de Silva - Image 2 of 19
© Hélène Binet

The building is triple-glazed, highly insulated and, with very good thermal mass from the concrete, has a simply-controlled internal environment using an efficient condensing gas boiler and underfloor heating.

VEX / Chance de Silva - Countertop, Chair
© Hélène Binet

Sound is incorporated in a hardwired Sonos system controlled from iPod or mobile phone.

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About this office
Cite: "VEX / Chance de Silva" 22 Jun 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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