Back Story: Unlocking the potential of an unprepossessing site in the heart of the West EndPosted by ala | September 26 2014
Many narrow streets and alleyways off Oxford Street, London are currently misused and underdeveloped. These under regarded areas are ideal not only for improvement, but also for relatively unconventional design opportunities.
AL_A’s proposal acknowledged this by providing an architectural intervention that subtly draws attention to the building through the intrigue of a sculptural façade. Inspired by the art work of Lucio Fontana large glazed areas orientated towards the sky are slashed into the façade, maximising the natural light available in this narrow street.
This sculptural form is achieved using a system of aluminium profiles used in the production of high quality, ship hulls. The facade is fabricated using curved 140mm wide aluminium profiles that are connected together on-site, using a tongue-and-groove system ensuring water-tightness and construction efficiency. The metallic silver finish is a high performance durable paint typically used on super yachts. The use of self-cleaning glass and an ingenious detail of hidden gutters within the eyelids ensures the facade remains low maintenance.
The ground floor is fronted by a bespoke laminated glass in which is sandwiched a stainless steel mesh and semi opaque interlayer over a dichromatic film. This is lit from behind, using fibre optics to generate a coloured moiré pattern providing dynamic visual interest and a feeling of depth to what would otherwise be a blank wall.
Conceived as Future Systems and completed as AL_A 2009
NAS Design Partnership Award 2010
European Aluminium Award, Special Jury Prize for Innovation & Design 2009
CAB Aluminium in Renovation Award UK, Overall Winner & Special Prize 2009