Barrett’s Grove, our residential scheme for Cobstar is one of 49 UK projects awarded a RIBA National Award this year.
The scheme, designed with Amin Taha + Groupwork, is a six-home residential building set on a disjointed, but characterful urban street on the boundary of conservation area in Stoke Newington. The form of the six-storey building echoes the tall gables of an adjacent school and the standalone presence of the neighbouring townhouse.
Spruce cross-laminated timber is used for all wall, floor and roof superstructure and enveloping this is a continuous non-structural façade of striking perforated brickwork. Cantilevering wicker-woven balconies soften the external palette, and complete the fairy-tale trio of materials - brick, wood and straw – that was influenced through consultation with pupils at the school. Internally, the CLT and brick structures are left exposed and joined by timber sets, shelving units, doors and stairs, to create a warm and tactile aesthetic suitable for a residence.
The ability of the materials and superstructure to serve a number of purposes eliminated the need for plasterboarded walls, suspended ceilings, cornices, skirtings and finishes. This simplified design reduced the embodied carbon of the building by 15 per cent, and minimised construction cost and time on site.
Leaving many of the loadbearing element exposed required the team to have a comprehensive understanding of the structural properties of the materials involved. Careful detailing allowed each of the materials to act and move in their own way, and together they form the seamless combination of structural form and architectural vision.