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Great Detail: Amin Taha on Haworth Tompkins' McGregor Rd extension

Aj great detail crop2
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The next in a series looking at the building details that have impressed and inspired our readers. Today: Amin Taha of Amin Taha Architects

Architect Haworth Tompkins
Building McGregor Road house extension, Notting Hill, London (1997)

Haworth Tompkins   detail

Haworth Tompkins detail

During the mid-90s Haworth Tompkins tackled that staple of emerging practices, the back extension – a double-height conservatory at McGregor Road with no visible primary structure behind the glazing system. The practice worked with specialist contractors on using of nylon bars as thermal breaks within the superstructure, before sandwiching the double glazed units.

This ‘articulated’, (see Edward R Ford) architectonic method is a key element in the underlying grammar structuring all vocabularies of architecture. More than the visual result, it is the ambition of that process I admire.

photo of rear elevation

photo of rear elevation

The practice has lead the broader collaborative team, deconstructed their contributions against operational requirements before reassembling with fewer materials, less effort and ultimately better defining the architecture.

How much of what is made today is genuinely influenced by the process of making instead of being dominated by that of drawing? Whether good or bad, by hand or parametric software if left to engineers and contractors to ‘resolve’ any vocabulary will lose its generated meaning. It will be reassembled to become incoherent or, if new and inimitable, in danger of having no depth. This reduces architecture to the study of façades or, at best, appliqué to beautifully preconceived space.

The detail at McGregor Road illustrates its architects’ newly independent minds applying their understanding of history, their experience and enthusiasm for making. That synthesis is rare, but applicable to all scales and for that reason remains an inspiration

Amin Taha is founder of London-based Amin Taha Architects 

Haworth tompkins macregor road

Haworth tompkins macregor road

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