This new residential building is slotted into a Victorian terrace in Stoke Newington. It takes the form of six storeys of flats above ground as well as a single storey basement flat with lightwells to the front and rear. The three main structural materials used are left exposed to striking effect; the masonry exterior cladding, the interior cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels and the reinforced concrete slabs in the basement.
The architect’s scheme was to create a building with simple but creative materiality. For this reason the structural materials were selected to facilitate their being exposed. The basement box was reinforced concrete to form a solid foundation for the building and then CLT was selected to enable a fast construction programme for the superstructure. With the masonry used as cladding and loadbearing walls in the basement, insulation could be wrapped around the structure and hidden, leaving the structure exposed inside.
This project required a comprehensive understanding of the different materials involved and their structural properties as well as careful detailing in order to leave many of the loadbearing elements exposed. The concrete basement provides both a solid foundation for the building and retains the various levels of the ground on all sides. It was constructed in two levels of underpins of various shapes and sizes to fit with the internal layout and the structure above. The ground floor thickness was kept to a minimum by using the internal masonry walls as loadbearing structure and its soffit was cast flat and smooth in order to leave it exposed. The superstructure is six storeys of loadbearing CLT spanning up to 6.0m with various voids for the stair and services. The roof is also solid CLT panels, carefully balanced against each other to form the open loft space. Cladding all of this is a staggered masonry façade that is decoupled from the rest of the building to allow it to expand and contract separately. The staggered masonry was set to reduce the weight of the façade as much as possible while still keeping enough area in contact to transfer the loads down to the ground.
Each of these materials serves a different purpose; acting and moving in their own way but with careful detailing, together they form the seamless combination of structural form and architectural vision.