The hub has been built for volunteers at the Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery Trust to both relax in and take part in training and development sessions. It is also open for use by the local community in Ealing.
A cost and carbon-effective solution to this ambitious ceiling design was achieved by using a CNC kit of plywood parts to produce the fins, which could be easily assembled on site, developed through working closely with structural engineer Webb Yates.
This was a very small intervention on an existing Victorian courtyard, and we have mainly succeeded in achieving a very light and simple insertion with a minimum of decoration over the structure.
The courtyard walls were already there. The new floor is timber and spans from wall to wall. To minimise digging we wanted the floor to be as shallow as possible and so the ply floor finish is actually the top face of a stressed skin structure. We were able to make the exposed fin structure very cost effectively by CNC cutting a kit of parts building on experience from other similar projects like the The Riwaq pavilion for Brighton Festival. The fins themselves are structural, but ply sheets are too small to cross the 5m span and so the little arrow toggles hold the tension in the fins across the joint and are arrow shaped to act as a kind of reverse wedge. The fins are held to the ceiling with wedges and tabs cut as part of the CNC process.
We always try to make structures light, using low carbon materials whilst at the same time turning the structural solution into legible architecture cutting out the plasterboard!, says Steve Webb, director at Webb Yates.