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working details An entrance porch with a cedar screen

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John Eccles House, Oxford Proctor Matthews

Set at one end of a 42m-long three-storey facade, the main entrance porch to the building is an assembly of bold, almost sculptural elements - a light steel frame, a silver semi-cylindrical drum, an extending cedar screen, steps and a ramp - which indicate the position of the main entrance to visitors.

The entrance is raised off the ground on a light steel frame (the structure had to be demountable to give access to a large sewer pipe). A series of exposed 305 x 89mm rsc channels form the floor and roof structure, supported on circular 139.7mm diameter posts which are cross-braced with 10mm ss cables. A steel egg-crate grating floor deck spans between the rcss with a floor finish of propped standard concrete pavers.

The cedar screen, a reference to the main staircase cladding, consists of 100 x 50mm planed cedar boards bolted to a frame of 80 x 80mm ms angles which is supported by 100 x 80mm rhs posts.

The reception waiting area is contained in a semi-cylindrical drum of Alucobond rainscreen cladding fixed to a faceted concrete-block wall with an internal plaster finish and a circular rooflight above.

The entrance is reached by three steps or a ramp for wheelchair users. The stair treads and the ramp and its balustrade are made of glass-aggregate chips, a recycled product which gives a non-slip finish with sparkle and colour. The treads and ramp are formed of aggregate set in resin with a concrete base cast into prefabricated metal trays. The balustrade consists of solid clear resin panels cast into a steel angle frame and inset with blue glass aggregate; backlit, they give a blue glow to the ramp.

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