This striking mixed use development, by Knox Bhavan Architects, shows off the potential of aluminium in almost as many ways as one could imagine, both internally and externally. The spectacular four-storey staircase comprises a single cast aluminium structure, forming a visual focus for the office space. Cast blocks are bolted to the wall with ball-and-socket joints to allow for adjustments 'buried' in plaster. Cast wishbone forks are bolted to the blocks, and a variety of finger castings fixed to the end of the wishbones. These are locked via the baluster to the tread below and above.
Maple treads and landings are fixed to the top of the aluminium chassis.
Externally key features are the Reynaers curtain wall, a self-supporting grid of thermally broken mullions and transoms, and the brise-soleil, a combination of aluminium extrusion masts and stainless steel 'sails'. A series of fish-shaped spreaders, made from solid aluminium, collect tensioning cables and act as a joint between mast extrusions.
Other features include the decorative frieze of aluminium 'wings' between the granite columns, which have holes to reduce weight, and which cast shadows onto the curtain wall skin. From acute angles, the wings appear animated, giving an impression of sculptural tracery. Around the top terrace level of apartments there is a balustrade of aluminium extrusion uprights.
This entry was commended in the Award for the most innovative use of aluminium in a structure or building element.