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AJ Specification 09.11 – Doors & Windows

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Case studies of the YMCA, Crewe, by Terence O’Rourke, House in Crouch End, London, by AAVA and CRMZ, Widnes, by Austin-Smith:Lord

Editorial - Felix Mara

Since the amendments to Part L of the Building Regulations were made in October, prismatic glass facades and ribbon glazing have begun to look like forbidden fruit for many projects and budgets

Unless you have a deep plan, twin walls or high performance glass, they can be a good way to burn money. Facades with a higher proportion of unglazed areas are a safer bet and, along with more durable and sustainable external construction are a convincing paradigm for the future.

If nothing else, this is good news for window manufacturers. But, as our case studies this month demonstrate, it’s also a huge creative opportunity.

At Crewe YMCA, Terence O’Rourke juxtaposes splayed projecting and flush windows with composite frames and aluminium replacement windows. AAVA’s house in Crouch End, London has finely crafted bespoke living room picture window frame and Austin-Smith: Lord’s CRMZ in Widnes punches curtain walling into large areas of cladding, also using steel windows, wind-catchers and structural glass.

YMCA, Crewe, by Terence O’Rourke

Click to see building in the AJ Buildings Library

Click on the photo above to view images, drawings and data of the Crewe YMCA in the AJ Buildings Library

This mixed-use supported housing scheme comprises new build and refurbished accommodation, providing 55 residents’ rooms, with office accommodation, multipurpose communal spaces, a training cafe, an IT suite training facility and a gymnasium.

The repetitive layouts lent themselves to modular construction. The use of precast concrete floors and walls and off-site fabricated bathroom and kitchen pods resulted in a faster, build time, better quality and more cost-effective form of construction.

The external materials utilise stacked terracotta rainscreen cladding and full-length closed cell polycarbonate rainscreen cladding.

The majority of timber and aluminium composite windows are set flush to the face of the rainscreen cladding, giving neat, slim sightlines to the window openings.

However, as a design feature, projecting, angled bays are incorporated into the courtyard elevation, providing views for the occupants while maintaining privacy for the rooms opposite.

Mike Harrison, director of architecture, Terence O’Rourke

House in Crouch End, London, by AAVA


Click on the photo above to view images, drawings and data of the Crouch End House in the AJ Buildings Library

The design involved building on the full extent of the site at ground level with a set-back first floor.

The dwelling is entered through a discreet bespoke gate clad in mirror polished black Rimex metal. The courtyard is a small private space, which leads to the entrance of the house.

Adjacent to the courtyard is the second bedroom. A large bi-folding window from this room, opening directly onto this space, allows for privacy when the window is fully opened, as the courtyard is not overlooked.

Bedrooms and bathroom are situated on the ground floor. The kink in plan between bathroom and main bedroom allows for a small terrace accessed via a full-height glazed door and a window to the bathroom.

Both the main bedroom and bathroom doors are clad in Danish oiled Thermowood timber. These doors sit discreetly within the walls of the bathroom, clad in the same timber.

On the first floor are the living room and kitchen. A pair of French doors forms a continuation to the external elevation of a large window from the bedroom below.

It is screened at this level by an arrangement of timber cladding, intended to slightly conceal views of a plain neighbouring gable end.

Above the dining area is a centrally located Sunsquare rooflight. The French door and rooflight create amazing plays of light and shadow during the day. The ‘Picture Frame’ window facing Denton Road has a large slider with great views, defining the room as a bright living space.

David Taylor, director, AAVA

CRMZ, Widnes, by Austin-Smith:Lord


Click on the photo above to view images, drawings and data of the CRMZ, WIdnes in the AJ Buildings Library

CRMZ, the youth mega-club in Widnes, has been well received in a community with high levels of deprivation. It was built as part of the central government’s ‘Myplace’ lottery-funded initiative to deliver youth facilities throughout England.

Promoted by Halton Borough Council, it not only realises the scheme’s aims but is a fine example of a refurbished Art Deco building.

The former health centre was re-ordered and extended around a courtyard to create a generous community centre. It offers wellequipped fitness and sports facilities, chill-out spaces, art and IT rooms, media suites (including recording studios), a performance hall, therapy rooms and a training kitchen.

The multifunction hall was designed and built to minimise energy use, and provides high thermal mass.

The south-facing orientation reduces energy consumption for heating and lighting. Solar glazing to the south facade minimises the need for air conditioning in the summer months.

The hall is naturally ventilated by two Monodraught towers and incorporates night-time cooling. It has an efficient underfloor heating system and the extension facilities have enhanced U-values.

Original column heat emitters have been overhauled, and the existing distribution pipework and inefficient boilers have been replaced.

Mike Yates, director, Austin-Smith: Lord

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