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Riverside residences

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steel focus

New housing rising by the river Thames in London may owe something in its feel to the 1930s, but the structural system is very much of the 1990s. Developer Thirlstone Homes is developing 'Six', a terrace of houses on a site between Richard Rogers' office and Fulham football ground. Part of a larger development, which includes 18 units of social housing, it is being built on the site of an old oil tanker station. Using the Corus Surebuild system of cold-formed steel frame, rather like a steel equivalent to a timber frame, makes the structure light enough to allow it to sit almost entirely on the existing piles.

The original concept architect for the project is hm2 . Given the superb situation, it wanted to take advantage of the river views, and has achieved this by designing four-storey houses with balconies at first-floor level and roof terraces overlooking the river. At the rear are private gardens overlooked by a double-height space. Stairs are also at the rear, in curved towers.

Thirlstone's own in-house architects have developed hm2's original design. The building is rendered white with insulation and a board finish behind it. This added to the lightness of the structure, relative to a conventional brick skin, but also meant that some hot-rolled steel was needed for wind- bracing.

Corus Building Systems designed the Surebuild steel frame and is erecting it. All below-ground engineering was by Gifford & Partners. With construction proceeding apace, six families with £750,000 to spend apiece will soon be enjoying some of the best river views in London.

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