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Small Projects 2004

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This year's two-part AJ Small Projects feature, sponsored by Robin Ellis Design and Construction, kicks off with non-residential schemes under £250K. All published projects will be exhibited at the RIBA in March heostudio

Following an initial fit-out by heostudio in 1991, Thirst OX1 was in need of a fast-track, but durable, refit.The bar's popularity and high volume of customers had given rise to a constant schedule of repair and redecoration, but the end of the line had come.

heostudio had been looking for an application for fibre cement panels for some time.As well as being stable, strong and unstainable, the panels can be pre-cut very accurately and drilled, which means that once they have been carefully surveyed they can be installed quickly with no finishing work required.The steel, mirrors and timber panelling were also developed as claddings and fabricated off site.The fit-out was executed in just four days.

heostudio's Jane Opher was the main contractor, Mervyn Rodriques was the structural engineer and Fabrication Techniques was the stainless steel fabricator.

Cost: £40,000

Hugh Broughton Architects Photographs by Carlos Dominguez The Light Box, created for the Building Centre, shows various combinations of red, green, blue and yellow lamps diffused by an external membrane to create a series of primary, secondary and tertiary colours.When all the lamps are on, the colours combine to produce white.

This demonstrates the importance of 'additive'colour mixing through the traditional use of paint pigments.The interior of the box is open to reveal the combinations of lamps employed to produce a particular hue.Lamps are controlled to vary the colour of the external membrane through a repeated sequence.The changing colours and the speed of animation have a dramatic effect on the space around it.This is useful in multi-functional environments, which can be transformed from calm, white space in the day to bright, animated and dynamic space at night.

Spiers and Major was the lighting engineer.The project was constructed, free of charge, by the architect.

Cost: £10,000

Adams & Sutherland Photographs by HÚlÞne Binet These works to the infants link corridor and nursery playground at the Eleanor Palmer Primary School in London's Tufnell Park constitute Phase 1 of a continuing sequence of improvements to the whole school prioritised through an initial strategic study carried out by the architect.

A previously cold and inadequate corridor has been transformed into a support teaching resource and essential shared space for the infant school.New glazing opens up the space to the greenery of the playground behind pivoting exhibition panels.

New ramped access to the nursery allows entry from the main entrance hall and gate, reinforcing the 'heart'of the school.

This ramp becomes a timber-boarded play landscape, which adds to and integrates with, rather than disrupts, the existing playground.A steel framework and seat form the first part of a planned shading structure.

Mbok was the structural engineer and Walker Builders was the contractor.

Cost: £55,000

Adams & Sutherland Photographs by HÚlÞne Binet The Migrants Resource Centre in Pimlico provides support facilities for people new to Britain.As part of a new Online Centre for IT training, Adams & Sutherland transformed a Victorian basement to provide a crÞche, meeting space and, through use of a folding partition wall, a large events space.

The priority was to bring daylight and colour into the dark basement.New structural openings link the existing vaults to the main room and pavement lights introduce daylight - the shadows of passers-by and the passage of sunlight make an aural and visual connection to the life of the street above.Cone-shaped holes made at different heights into a thick masonry (previously external) wall draw light further into the main room.

Mbok was the structural engineer and Walker Builders was the contractor.

Cost: £75,000

Kay Hartmann Architects Photographs by John Sanders Photography The challenge of this project was to create a new face for the Archway Early Years Centre in north London and to maximise the spatial potential of the building to include a parents'meeting room, exhibition space and baby facility.

A wall reclaims the hard-to-maintain planter area along the street elevation of the building and the new facade consists of a number of brightly coloured wall panels that vary in width and are connected by narrow full-height windows.Circular openings of different diameters within the ceiling allow natural daylight to fill the space.

The quantity surveyor was Dobson White Boulcott and Mervyn Rodrigues was the structural engineer.

Cost: £187,000

Chris Stewart Architects The Art Nouveau en Projet touring exhibition for the Reseau Art Nouveau Network opened in Terrassa, Catalunya, in May 2003, and will travel through 20 European cities for four years, comprising local elements for each.Chris Stewart Architects coordinated the exhibition design, graphics, construction and installation.

The design had to exhibit the Art Nouveau movement in 13 partner cities, with equal exposure to each, in a way that would address both academic interests and those of the general public, young and old.

The design pays homage to the Art Nouveau movement, with graphics, texts and objects placed in high-quality, contemporary utilitarian packaging.

The exhibition can be installed and demounted in less than one day.There is no need for storage, repurchase or disposal of packaging, since every component is used in the installation.

Calidoscopi was the contractor.

Cost: Ç120,000 (£83,450)

John McCall Architects The BizzKidz day nursery is at Silkhouse Court in the centre of Liverpool and is the first in a series of citycentre nurseries for the BizzKidz company.

The brief required the refurbishment of an existing vacant office suite and extension into an existing courtyard.An external play area was required, with a suitable visual barrier between the private and public space.By employing a tiled wall system by Argeton, supplied by Ibstock, and Forticrete polished plinth blocks on the external wall, the architect was able to reflect the austere 1960s office block in a modern way.

Internally, the aesthetic was softened by extensive use of colour in the laminated doors and flooring.Within the external courtyard there is cedar board cladding and a green rubberised floor.Simple half-glazed partitions with integral blinds and graphic paint finishes complete the effect.Denco was the project manager.

Cost: £230,000

DSW Architects Photographs by DSW Architects This 268m 2crÞche is located close to surrounding offices on a heavily developed business park in Zaventem, Belgium.

It is designed for 38 children.The concrete structure is softened by external timber cladding and soft or vinyl floor coverings.

Rockfon ceilings provide good sound absorption and walls are simply painted to allow children's decorations.

The developer was CIP NV.

Cost: Ç240,000 (£166,900)

Penseiri Russell Hughes Architects This block in Newborough, Anglesey, was commissioned by Forest Enterprises Wales to replace an existing fire-damaged WC block.The brief was for a high-quality, low-impact, secure and sustainable toilet block integrated with the environment.

The design was based on a timber clinker rowing boat lying on a harbour wall.The curved lines of the building rise from the ground at the rear and the timber cladding connects with a solid dry local stone wall at the front.

Emphasis was placed on the integration of the building and the landscape, people and their environments and the provision of an ecological sustainable solution. It included: sustainable, non-toxic materials, which are low in embodied energy and as local as possible, moisture-permeable construction, natural/passive ventilation, airtight construction, low-energy and resource-saving services and appliances, water-saving systems, integrated landscape design and reedbed water treatment.A pine post-and-beam structural frame from home-grown timber is combined with an oak clinker roof.

GDS Construction was the main contractor.

Cost: £105,000

acq architects Photographs by Hufton + Crow The third store designed by acq architects for lingerie retailer Bodas occupies a unit in the recently completed Duke of York retail development off London's Sloane Square.

The design was developed using key components from two earlier stores in Notting Hill and Leadenhall Market.The original concept included the use of catalogue images within the stores (Bodas started as a mail-order company) and items of joinery that could be reused in another location on expiry of a short lease.The limited budget resulted in a focus on key elements such as the 'Bodas Wall', running the length of the shop and used for display and storage.The dimensions of the storage drawers are based on Bodas packaging.

An elongated cash desk runs between the two glass facades and a Barrisol light box is used to display images to the rear of the desk.The images can be changed every six months to respond to new lines.Two changing rooms are provided on the ground floor, with a further dressing and private display area on the first floor.

HRW Engineers was the structural engineer, John Noad was the services engineer and Bayswater was the contractor.

Cost: £65,000

Pastina Matthews Architects The new frontage for this dental surgery in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, has been stretched over a wall which did not form part of the original shopfront.

Layers of opaque colour and semi-transparent vinyls were used to suggest degrees of privacy.The reception space is organised by a series of free-standing pieces of furniture, which allows for circulation of staff and patients and the purchase of dental products.The reception counter has a light box containing colourful images of dental instruments suspended in amorphous organic forms.The dental shop stand has a glass sliding door.A long storage wall contains patients' records.

A free-standing display box subdivides the waiting room and reception, containing a television and a children's play tooth table.

KRI Joinery was the main contractor.

Cost: £45,000

van Heyningen and Haward Photographs by David Stewart This extension to the Jacqueline du Pre Music Building was designed to the highest possible acoustic standards and is now one of Oxford's principal venues.

The building's calm and dignified appearance is deceptively simple. Its all-embracing form disguises two structurally independent parts: the first containing the recital room seating 200 people, plus a stage for up to 22 players; the second containing practice rooms and a small foyer.This separation is a vital element of the building's acoustic performance.Externally, only the bays that echo the acoustic ordering of the building expose the interior dynamics of its structure.A modest bequest has financed an extension - a new and enlarged foyer space incorporating a direct and separate means of access on to the stage for performers. It was conceived as a lean-to glass structure along the front elevation to the existing music building, which did not compromise its strong brickwork elevation.

Basil Wyatt and Son was the main contractor.

Cost: £220,000

Hetreed Ross Architects Having suffered from a series of utilitarian extensions, St Margaret's Hall in Bradford on Avon, a miniature council chamber, has been restored with a sequence of new gables from the picturesque riverside to the dominant form of the hall itself.

A wedge-shaped bar/kitchen between the hall and meeting room makes use of the tapered site.Glazed doors and 'Juliet'balconies help to reclaim the riverside and a multi-vaulted ceiling enhances reflections from the water.New and existing fabric is insulated and glazed to high environmental standards.Bath stone, natural slate, oak joinery and stainlesssteel fascias and rainwater goods minimise environmental impact and maintenance.

Rexon Day Consulting was the structural engineer and J L Frayling & Sons was the contractor.

Cost: £244,000

Volume 3 Photographs by Dominic Harris Zound is a four-room studio in central London configured for DVD remastering and TV mixing.The studio was created within an existing basement and all the original walls had to be maintained.

The character of the space for this new enterprise was created by the internal finishes and the bespoke carpet designed by the architect.

Careful attention was given to the acoustic treatment of the four interactive themed rooms and the attached common chill-out area.

The client also worked as the contractor.

Cost: £100,000

John Pardey Architects Text by Susan Dawson Confronted by a commission to design a series of public WCs for New Forest District Council, John Pardey's first thought was of Louis Kahn.

'Tragically, after an exhausting trip to Dacca, Louis Kahn died in a public lavatory in Penn station, 'explains Pardey.'Twenty-five years earlier, with the design of a bath house at Trenton, New Jersey, he had altered the shape of modern architecture in a return to the idea of firoomsflafter half a century in pursuit of the free plan.The design also laid out the concept of fiservedfland fiservantflspaces.This seemed an apt starting point for the design of the new WCs.'

The local council's public WCs had previously been designed in the ubiquitous decorated brick and 'Tudorbethan'style.

They had been the source of complaints, not on aesthetic grounds but on a purely functional level: badly ventilated, poorly lit and smelly.Pardey has designed a small-scale, but elegant, solution.His new WCs, with their distinctive paired pitched roofs and lanterns, have a clear and recognisable identity, yet the basic design can be adapted to suit specific requirements.They are easy to clean and maintain and are ventilated naturally.

The construction is based on a 'kit of parts'approach (see Working Details, p44-45).The basic structure - a steel frame infilled with blockwork - can be clad in a variety of materials, depending on the specific site conditions.The frame allows the walls to be raised off the floor by 120mm on stub columns, forming a ventilation gap and eliminating the junction between floor and wall, the key problem area for cleaning and maintenance.The walls support two pitched roofs, one each for the male and female WCs; they are designed to 'float'above the walls, creating an opportunity for permanent ventilation but also creating a sense of space and light as they terminate in glazed lanterns that give views of the sky.

The basic plan - which can be adapted to suit specific sites - essentially comprises a male and a female WC with a walk-in central service duct set between them.

Both male and female WCs are capped with a pitched roof clad of prepatinated zinc and fitted with a glazed lantern at the ridge; the service duct is covered with a lower, flat roof.Baby change and disabled WC cubicles sit within the two main volumes, with separate entrance doors next to the male and female entrance doors along the front of the building. Inside the building, individual WC cubicles in both the male and female WCs are raised 120mm above the floor for easy cleaning. Internal walls are clad with mosaic tiles and the floor is laid with simple grey precast concrete pavers.

The service duct contains all plumbing outlets and automatic flush mechanisms; these are collected into a Marley Manifold soil system which runs above the concrete floor slab and discharges with one connection into the manhole.

Two new sets of WCs have been built as prototypes.The new ones at the market town of Lymington, Hampshire (above and right), sit a stone's throw from the High Street between a small museum of local heritage and a laundrette.A loggia screen, supported on delicate steel columns, runs along the eaves of the building to create a small public space, which indicates the location of the WCs from the high street.The blockwork walls are rendered and painted a terracotta colour to correspond with the colour of the adjoining brick-built museum.'The roof and its glazed lantern stands as a homage to Kahn's Trenton Bath house, 'says Pardey.

The new WCs building at Brockenhurst (opposite) is a variation on the theme. It has been sited to act as a threshold to the car park behind the village high street.Here the walls are clad with stained Douglas fir boarding to reflect the more rural context.'We used slightly steeper pitches for the Brockenhurst building, 'says Pardey.'They rise up like hands in prayer squeezing in daylight, as Kahn proposed in his (unbuilt) Hurva synagogue.'

The structural engineer was Ian Price & Partners and the contractor was Amos Danby & Sons.

Cost: £161,100 (Lymington), £161,600 (Brockenhurst)

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