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17 Kings Hill Avenue, Kent Richard Partington Architects

A two-storey office building with selfsupporting brick walls

The structure of the building comprises a cast in situ concrete frame of columns and floor slabs supporting a steel and timber pitched roof.

The brickwork walls are selfsupporting and independent of the frame; tied to it for lateral restraint.

From ground to first-floor level a series of 440mm-wide brick piers runs at 3m centres in front of the concrete columns; windows and glazed lower panels backed with blockwork are set between them.The piers support an exposed 150 x 90mm parallel flange channel and a continuous spandrel of brickwork,1,750mm high, which in turn supports a horizontal band of opening windows on a 1,500mm grid.

The blockwork inner leaf rests on the first-floor slab.

To avoid monotony, the brick spandrels are interrupted by two-storey high brick panels which are set 112.5mm back from the plane of the spandrel; they incorporate glazed double doors.The set-back of the panels is achieved by reducing the width of the cavity from 138mm to 105mm. The large cavity achieves wall insulation values 30 per cent higher than current requirements.

The ground-floor window head detail has been designed to avoid a common problem; the need for a lintel which supports only 500mm of blockwork, yet restricts the fixing of insulation into the void behind the cavity tray.

The window and glazed lower panel system has been extended from the window head to the slab soffit in the form of framed insulated steel panels; they are fixed from the inside with glazing beads and concealed by the suspended ceiling. The continuity of the vapour control layer is the responsibility of a single trade.

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