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working details A wall with sliding doors and windows

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Maggie's Centre, Edinburgh Richard Murphy Architects

The centre is housed in a twostorey stone stable block which was converted in 1997.

It has now been enlarged with an extension on the west gable and a new single-storey building to the north-west which is connected to the original block by a lobby.

The new building functions as a large space for meetings which can be subdivided by folding screens into two unequal smaller spaces. It is a steel-framed structure with cavity blockwork walls and a curved lead-clad roof, flanked with a large steeply pitched rooflight. A band of clerestory glazing runs below the roof.

Steel columns - 178 x 89mm channels and 203 x 133mm UB columns - lie outside the walls and are welded to an exposed 178 x 89mm channel at clerestory sill level and an exposed 203 x 133mm universal beam at the eaves. The walls are clad with render and horizontal Douglas fir boarding.

The west wall consists of glazed sliding doors and windows on parallel tracks which can slide back, for instance in warm weather, blurring the boundaries between interior and exterior.

The clerestory windows have deep sills; like a picture rail they act as a 'datum' below the roof and reduce its scale. They also conceal the top sliding mechanism of the glazed doors and windows.

At their bases the sliding windows are guided by a row of projecting dowels and flats bolted to the blockwork wall.

A Douglas fir sub-frame is fitted with brush seals to prevent air leakage when closed.

The lobby between the new building and the original has a wall of glass blocks; its ends are slotted into leadlined recesses within the walls and stabilised with a frame of steel channels.

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