265cos_TOOL OF THE MONTH: FREUND MASTERCUT SLATE CUTTER

Who would have thought cutting slate could be so easy? I start to think a whole generation of architecture students at NCKU Taiwan making slate models. Marvin will make a slate model of our Costa St project, by way of example. 

Tramezzino: a triangulated sandwich panel?

The tramezzino is a: triangular Italian sandwich with the crusts removed and are popular and inexpensive. The origin of the tramezzino can be found in (Caffè Mulassano) in Turin where I worked for Andrea Bruno Architetto and where I also met both la Juve and Lingotto.  The tramezzino I understand to be a halfway, between breakfast and lunch but also between the triangle and the regular polygon. I like triangles. It reminds me of Polynesia as triangulation in navigation gives 3-point geo-spatial fixity. What happens if we triangulate the fibre cement sheet cladding on our proposal by cutting along the diagonals?

265cos_WHAT’S THE SECRET ABOUT SECRET FIXINGS?

“Look mum, no hands!” Secret fixing is the architectural equivalent of riding your bike with no hands. That’s really not so difficult when actually “Look mum, doing a wheelie” is far more daring. Your hands are on the bike but the bike is being propelled at a balanced crazy angle. Even better is a rodeo-like one-handed wheelie. Trying to implement difficult architectural geometries made me question whether it is then necessary to complicate matters with the economic overlay of secret fixing which often requires curtain walling ‘cassette cladding’ diseconomies to create material strength through extruded depth. One could secret fix though through bonding: a triumph of the chemical over the mechanical. Or is it? How do the insurers / warrantors assess the fixation risk? Mechanical could puncture a waterproofing membrane for example. SuperGlue was promoted when I grew up as ‘one drop holds a tonne’ but these were laboratory conditions promoting tensile not shear strength. And who says the contractor applies the correct amount when cost cutting quantities increases profit? The name’s Bonded, James Bonded? Doubtful when he still uses a mechanically propelled weapon. So let’s keep it simple: a mechanical face-fixed stainless steel screw is relatively low-tech ‘8-bit solution’ for an easy fix without the need for an ‘Approved Installer’> given the affordability crisis affecting house building in London I am convinced this is the way forward.    

265cos_CLADDING RUSHES

As much as brick corbelling is of innovative interest and fits the brick context, brick doesn’t stack up. In terms of weight, 22,000 bricks @ 2.4 kg per brick means the cladding would weigh 50 tonne and increase pile loads even before we cladding one considers Ancon bracket shelving @ 6kg/m). A lighter cladding system would reduce pile loads from say 10kN/m to, for example slate, to 2kN/m. In terms of time, assume 500/day given a good brick layer corbelling = 44 days * 1.5 risk = 66 days but let’s say 2 months… plausible if the programme was split into parallel interior and exterior works). So what are the cladding alternatives? Cor-Ten? Good fit in terms of contextual robustness but proprietary Cor-Ten systems at first glance could be Kingspan’s curtain walling. Not cheap at £100/sqm supply doubling to £200/sqm installed = £70k. Also the Kingspan system is a say 1.5mm thick biscuit tin fitted as a ‘cassette’ on a curtain walling system. Many of such systems look like commercial warehouse façades. Ask Kingspan if there CNC system allows for large 2m high panels say supported internally by a timber cross member to avoid the biscuit tin from denting. Plywood? Our House on Motiti (in New Zealand) was made in 1996 utilising 12mm thk rough faced WBP type ply. How does it look 20y later? Will ask the client who still lives there today… Visual degradation, say due to surface discolouration as evident in Lynch Architect’s Greenwood Road house, could be attended to by staining so how did Motiti perform in terms of water tightness? And how could it inform self-building in London? I see the House K – Tham & Videgård Arkitekter also used plywood so it seems it could work in a European environment. I believe the Dubbel Huis by MVRDV was also plywood clad as was David Adjaye’s Electra House. So using the filmic equivalent of a ‘rush’ deploying blending raw fast techniques, in this case Tham & Videgård, our project in Peckham might, fenestration not pertaining, might look like:

265cos_FAKE NEWS: PLANNERS NO LONGER GIVEN THE SLIP.

Fake News is not only about the click bait of deliberate misinformation. Fake News, in Architecture, can be truthful News about Fake Things. The RIBA’s Code of Professional Conduct first principle relates to Integrity: Members shall act with honesty and integrity at all times. This professional requirement for honesty has transformed into a desire for material expression also not to tell porkies. The truth to materials is a tenet of modern architecture and holds that any material should be used where it is most appropriate and its nature should not be hidden. With this in mind the ‘brick slip’ is a fake brick upheld by manufacturers and, therefore increasingly, architects as it gives the material illusion of brick but not the ‘hassle’ of weight or need for detailing knowledge. This has lead to modern brick wallpaper facades, the currency of contemporary London housing. Planners, after all, loved brick. Easy on the eye, brick offers a non-confrontational public consultation. If correctly chosen and detailed, brick degrades arguably better than other other material. The brick slip is, as leading brick manufacturer Vandersanden declare, fake: the Fake News here is that its use is no longer giving the planners the slip but is being increasingly written out of planning consents. Brick Slips2 ACE-Hotel-Londonpba_website_project_colville_banner2_20165397007134117_03cBrick SlipsFake-Club

265cos_MOODY BOARD

Mood Board 3_ah

265cos_PECKHAM RAIN SHOWER

#SpendItLikePeckham You are inside your house caught in the rain shower provided by Magda’s sliding bathroom window. Rain Shower

265cos_WHITE PICKET FENCE AS CROP CIRCLE

#SpendItLikePeckham is the hashtag for a project where the architect spending, is to put her money money where her, blablablarchitecture, mouth is. So #SpendItLikePeckham leads the architect-developer to aspire to design their own brand of spatial economics. Case in point: how to design something of interest yet in accordance with Approved Document K: Protection From Falling. The White Picket Fence Balustrade? The History of My White Picket Fence begins with Dennis Hopper’s House in Santa Monica… TBC Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 23.53.01dennis_hopper_house_venice_01WHITE PICKETWHITE PICKET 3D  

265cos_LEANING WINDOWS

IMG_8180The Peckham Project has three leading facades: two leaning in at 5 and 30 degrees, one leaning out at 20 degrees. This presents a technical issue for the window fabricators (air and water egress according to Velfac…) which lead us to the renovation of the John Hancock Centres’s observation deck which leans out 30 degrees to afford the viewer a vertiginous outlook of Chicago from 450m above ground level. In the video, the guy in the white shirt looks less enthralled… IMG_8169IMG_8170

265cos_Forget Hi-Tech, this is Deep-Tech Architecture

piled-wall-secant-contiguousretaining-wallOur Peckham project raises the question of what architectural value(s) can be assigned to the structural expression of exposed contiguous piling: aesthetically, commercially? Piling is not very sexy and is typically hidden behind a layer of applied cement but does it have to be like this? This is not the architecture language of hi-tech but deep-tech! Piling after all looks like a foundation colonnade. The pile depth can be a condition of the lateral load requirements of the site: a house to the North, roads to the South and West, a garden to East.maori pa fence