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AJ Specification 07.12 - Colour & texture

Case studies by Slade Architecture, van Heyningen and Haward Architects and Do-architecture

Editorial - Felix Mara

One of the complexities of architectural practice involves making proposals for logical choices of colour and texture and then diplomatically having to tell project teams these decisions are highly subjective. Of course colour and texture are rich in nuance, and they are not quantifiable to the same extent as other components of architectural design, but this does not mean that they are invariably beyond logical discussion.

The design and specification of our first case study this month, Slade Architecture’s Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Lounge at JFK, pulls out all the stops.

My favourite part is the seating pods recessed into aluminium-faced walls, although I wouldn’t say no to the curving screens of stainless steel rods and walnut fins. Whoever said New York architecture is conservative?

From the Big Apple to Barking, where van Heyningen and Haward Architects has added a range of colourful highlights to base finishes to animate facades and improve way-finding in their Rivergate Centre civic development. We’re looking forward to the second, residential, phase.

Finally, DO-Architecture has completed a sumptuous take on Glasgow’s tenement typology for their Golspie and Shaw Street development, with colourful oriels projecting from neutral facades, finding inspiration in traditional ceramic tiled stairwell finishes.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge by Slade Architecture, JFK

The ‘Clubhouse’ lounge was designed to provide the relaxed luxury that Virgin’s Upper Class passengers expect, with a warm and distinctly uptown Manhattan feel.

The 930m² lounge is bounded on two sides with full-height expansive views of the runways and Virgin aircraft immediately below. In the centre of the lounge, a cloud-shaped cocktail bar is enclosed by a diaphanous, curving wall of stainless steel rods and walnut fins, mediating views from and through the space and creating a series of distinct areas. This is the heart of the lounge, around and through which guests move in a rhythmic syncopated flow to the many unique amenities that passengers have come to expect from a Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.

James Slade, director, Slade Architecture

Rivergate Centre by van Heyningen and Haward Architects, Barking

The Rivergate Centre provides the civic facilities for the initial phase of Barking Riverside; a new Square and 3FE Primary School which includes embedded community facilities, a nursery, church, flexible office suites for the PCT and Community Development Trust, as well as a MUGA and sports pitches. As yet unbuilt, the second phase provides 90 flats, local shops and a neighbourhood police post.

The project is intended to create a distinctive place at the heart of a new community. Our concept provides generous ‘loose-fit’ spaces, good for learning and able to be easily adopted by the community out of school hours. The use of colour works with the basic materials, brickwork, concrete and render, to enliven the elevations and internal spaces, helping way-finding and orientation. This creates a distinctive character that runs throughout the building, with colours varied from space to space but within a unifying palette.

James McCosh, partner, van Heyningen and Haward Architects

Housing at Golspie Street and Shaw Street by Do-architecture, Govan, Glasgow

The new terrace on Golspie Street and infill at Shaw Street complete the perimeter of this dense urban block. This encloses a new courtyard, where safe, supervised play and informal meeting is encouraged on South orientated paths and greened spaces.

In a re-interpretation of the tenement typology the terrace places one flat to either side of a common landing, with generous glazing at the street and courtyard edges allowing visibility and sunlight to penetrate through the building. A neutral brick forms the background and plinth with alternating raised modules in black rainscreen cladding, while projecting pods create a play of shadow and colour on the facade, accommodating dining spaces and providing a unique identity to each home.

The palette is informed by the traditional ceramic tiles commonly found in tenement stairwells around Glasgow.

Adrian Stewart, director, DO-Architecture

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