VISION Issue 16 - Page 33

33 What about the new prospects for outlook? Good views rarely date. That’s true. We put the skylight on the north side of the windows, so the north sun enters but that is largely managed by the ComfortPlusTM. The big pivot windows capitalize on the views. The big fixed and sliding windows connect to the garden and are specific, yet done without fuss. There wasn’t even a door previously to connect to the garden. Is the resistance to extensive glazing in more built-up areas due to fears about privacy, or concerns about thermal issues? Privacy tends to just be a personal preference. Thermal issues though make a big difference and huge amounts of glazing can make it difficult to moderate internal temperatures. In this particular project we don’t have huge expanses of glass. We just made sure when we put in a window, it was big. Isn’t that one of the paradoxes of the green-star rating system? Many new houses might tick the boxes, but those boxes are very often gloomy Green. That’s absolutely true. I grew up in houses that weren’t hermetically sealed. Quite the opposite actually. Maybe that’s why I’m against new work that confuses thermal performance with quality of light, space and life. Were there many structural issues to link those, to knit those two to become one? We just cut a big hole in the floor that separated the two. That’s where the staircase went. The hole and void was bigger than the staircase, but it’s how most of the light arrives there. While the garden is downstairs, you live upstairs. It was important for that staircase to feel generous and to connect the garde n to the interior. Isn’t it about striving to make it uncomplicated – to simplify? There’s ingenuity but the approach is not to overtly express any cleverness. We used a cell-form, folded steel, plate structural system for the staircase and worked closely with an engineer to make sure it didn’t flex. It barely touches the wall or requires any supporting structure. The balustrade disguises a lot of the structural force. The ambition for that staircase wasn’t to express how complex a structural system that stair is; the aim is that it sit serenely in the void, with light washing down. That produces shadows around the sculptural white form. The same goes for the pivot and large windows. We have brought in a ton of light. WE WORKED CLOSELY WITH THE FABRICATOR SO WE UNDERSTOOD THE GLASS AND ENSURED THE FRAMES WERE AS FINE AS POSSIBLE AND INSTALLED FLUSH WITH THE BRICKWORK. Toby Breakspear, Architect