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CASE STUDY 3 Catford

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For this project we designed a row of housing with artists' studios. Each house opens into a private interior courtyard, the void covered by a retractable EFTE pillow. We call this a 'green lung': when open, it passively ventilates the home; when closed, it provides a temperate buffer space, enabling the simplification of the courtyard cladding.

The units sit tight to the boundary of a strip of land, at the end of a row of suburban gardens. We studied the opportunities of using the bi-axial system in structuring an array of similar components that operate both individually and as a unified whole.

The partly preassembled components can be craned directly from the back of a lorry, requiring just a 6m 2 footprint, including outriggers. This technique has unlocked the potential of the Catford site, which has little available layout space and neighbours on the site boundary, up to which we are proposing construction.

Finer architectural elements using the same material, such as stairs and kitchen work surfaces, can also improve the performance of the primary structure. For No 1 Fountain Drive, the kitchen work surface and vertical storage provide lateral stability to the main volumes. In Catford we are embedding services routes, heating elements, water storage and structural connections for the furniture within prefabricated panels.

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