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Foster Lomas builds house inside a shop

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[First look] London’s Foster Lomas has designed this terrace of ‘mini-houses’ in a B&Q store in Bolton

The design, which could be rolled out to other shops, can be lengthened or shortened depending on the store and can be tailored for different parts of the country, showing off ‘different building styles and techniques’.

Working with engineers Lyons O’Neill, the project was designed and built in just five weeks during November and December 2010.

The architect’s view: Greg Lomas

Everyone understands the house profile. We took this iconic form and turned it into a terrace of mini houses, each containing a different family of products.When customers enter the store they are presented with what appears to be an entire house. The strong form of the building allows a large degree of flexibility for the client to display and demonstrate products without compromising the idea.
The brief required us to consider how the design might fit into other stores. The intention was that the extruded form could simply be lengthened or shortened as required. We were also keen to demonstrate how the design could be tailored for different parts of the country and show different building styles and techniques, stone facades in Edinburgh or red brick terraces in East London.
A series of room sets are accommodated in the structure illustrating all the rooms in a typical house. Parts of the building are left exposed to demonstrate typical construction methods using products from the B&Q range.
Several wall types have been used to demonstrate many of the typical construction methods commonly used in domestic structures today, including rendered timber stud walls, masonry cavity walls and timber stud walls clad with brickwork. In addition, there are several connections and ancillary structural items hidden by the finishes, some of which have been revealed in the cut-away sections. These include wall ties, restraint straps, lintels and angle plates, as well as hundreds of nuts, bolts and screws for connecting elements. The most difficult part of the design was designing the roof as there are no ceilings and no way of tying the roof to stop it from splaying outwards.
The primary structure of the show home is comprised of traditional timber rafters, spanning from the side walls to a timber ridge beam. The ridge beam spans between timber posts set within the separating walls across the shown home, which in turn bear onto the existing reinforced concrete floor slab.
The overall stability of the structure, akin to most domestic structures, is derived from the buildings cellular nature, except the glazed gable-end, which necessitated a steel portal frame, hidden within the finishes.


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