Friday, 19 July 2013

Residential Towers & Hotel in Woking, London, UK . 2013

Project done for Benoy Architects (London)

The Post-Rationalize Exercise


Location, Scope & Challenges . After I was transferred (on request) from Hong Kong to London this was the very first project I did for Benoy. It was a small exercise and, as requested by my Director, my task was to “audit”, help, post-rationalize and work on façade options for a scheme that was being done in the office, which had started almost a year before, a large scale an urban regeneration masterplan for the Woking town centre, a city located in the outskirts of London. This mixed-use masterplan was formed by landscaped areas, street retail, a shopping mall, low-rise and high-rise residential and a hotel. Specifically, I was supposed to work on these last 2 components.

Massing & Facade Concepts . When I came on board both massing and facade concepts were already (roughly) defined by my colleges, so what I did was simply to “fine tune” them and rationalize all structural and cladding elements in order to obtain a consistent and cohesive scheme, something that the project was somehow lacking. For the high-rise residential tower one of the options I proposed was a simple and restrained façade layout based on a square grid, formed by pre-cast concrete cladding elements and recessed glazed surfaces, in contrast with more sculptural and zigzagging balconies placed on the side elevations. For the hotel tower I proposed a more “striking” façade approach, based on a bar code layout, entirely cladded in solid and perforated aluminium golden panels… The project eventually evolved and in late 2014 it wan a prize for the Best Refurbishment / Extension (over £5 million) at BCSC Gold Awards 2014.

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