Apologies again if you've been hauled over the coals with it all, I know what that feels like and certainly didn't mean you to be the focus of attention. Poorly expressed frustration that what are logical, inexpensive, ultimately better structural solutions aren't shared enough. We're often in the same situation, something appears unusual or a new mix of structural typology has to be proven. Sometimes we're asked to undertake desk top studies of others too. Wholly contrite and will word such comments more carefully in future.
Wouldn't it be good to share what we learn on load-bearing CLT and other timber, stone and brick structures, self-supporting so on? Helpful to clients, architects and consultant groups if we had access to proven structural typologies that meet regs, are cheaper, CO2 negative or reduce embodied CO2 by 90% today, not in ten or twenty years time. They are only the structural starting points to the architecture and not a style dogma. We're forever grateful to other architects and consultants who have often been sitting on ideas for years with little opportunity to share. The AJ could bring back their details publication as a free online resource, perhaps as a sort of "robust structural/sustainable/cost proven" set. Demonstrating how less material can achieve the same outcome, whether it is later further elaborated or not. I better step off the hobby horse now, sincere apologies again for the insensitivity and good luck with it.
Hopefully my words weren't accusatory more "if criteria change are there alternatives the AJ could help present to us all", not leave a question mark hanging there? These situations are never really binary, I think we all know you, as with so many other architects are doing the best possible. Perhaps an independent website where everyone can upload ideas to share but the AJ does have the immediate and wider audience. Good luck with the project in any case.
On the DRMM building having to, perhaps undergo a speedy if not expedient rethink against new client personnel and criteria. Many years ago the AJ used to publish typical/latest construction details which I think was a collation of the preceding year's featured projects?
You could rethink these as a series of "typical" CLT details (other materials too) for small and tall buildings, office and residential spaces? Building a database for sustainable and cost effective/attractive construction methods. The AJ has the qualified staff, readers, building industry consultants and suppliers to volunteer information which could exceed the CO2 reduction targets. With such a wide audience, you could/should be key in that process. Let us know if we can all help?
You wrote previously on the position of stone columns setting an unwanted precedent for landowners, architecture and its setting. The precedent set by Soane in "Ugliness and Judgement" by Timothy Hyde (Princeton University Press) may, therefore, be of interest. On completing the remodelling of his home at Lincoln's Inn Fields a letter was sent to the press and magistrates demanding the "new-fangled eyesore of a stone projection" be pulled down as it destroyed the uniformity and building line of its neighbours. The objector, a self-described "ambulator" campaigned until the matter ended in the courts in Soane's favour. Anything up to the property boundary line (pavement side of the lightwell) is a property owner's right to build up to. On the matter of design, it is correct he does not conform to the uniformity with neighbours but should he? Are they of such merit or is it desirous to do so, who is to decide? Judges sensibly decided it should be the choice of the private property owner, not an ambulator nor a group of them especially as his neighbours had no objection.
Fitting in, conforming to perceived norms is a perennial topic. Do walk Clerkenwell Close and its adjacent streets. You'll find our basement (property boundary) projects beyond the columns and adjacent building lines dating from the medieval to C20th step in and out creating a norm of misalignment in plan and roofline that gives and maintains Clerkenwell's character of incremental growth and change. A celebration of diversity not a fixed master-planned set of streets with well-intentioned but perhaps questionable Byelaws demanding maintained conformity (such restrictions do exist).
On a more technical level, the columns being peristyle not engaged will inevitably be proud of the building/enclosure line. This is an architectural standard with practical purposes to create clear environmental separation. Here, the party-wall part is the edge of thermal and weathering enclosure line, stone columns are disengaged, projected and tied back to support the floor slabs with thermal isolators at the envelope line; eliminating window reveals, sills and the need for cavity walls. Reducing material and construction cost and in turn lowering the carbon footprint of the superstructure, envelope and lowering the risk of detail junction failures for weathering and heat loss. Using contemporary technologies (structural nylon bar, glue and steel composite fixings across this line) with stone columns that are essentially a millennia-old construction and architectural compositional method. As old as the continuing arguments on how to integrate and fit in.
In answer to the points you raise. There is no new under pavement encroachment line setting a new precedent for development as the basement is located where it was within the previous building. A ceramic tiled slab built over the light-well and modern railings having marked the boundary and replaced with 65mm thick glazing, pebble mosaic and the fallen column. The internal stair is as MLM, the approved building regulation inspector would advise for all office use only conditions, general public or residential use would require the expected balustrade subdivision.