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Monday, January 12, 2015

Dynamic & Sustainable Architectural Vocab!

By Sarita Rupan
Photography: Courtesy the architects
  
India Art n Design features Saw Swee Hock Student centre for London School of Economics designed by architects O’Donnell +Toumey
Development Model                                                                                                                                                              ©ODT

The new Saw Swee Hock Student centre for London School of Economics is a building that embodies dynamism in the utmost form.

Designed by Ireland-based renowned architects O’Donnell +Toumey, this landmark building is characterized by the resilience and contrast in the architectural language followed in the existing campus as it is amid the network of medieval streets of London, where it stands.
India Art n Design features Saw Swee Hock Student centre for London School of Economics designed by architects O’Donnell +Toumey
Planning Model_View from Sheffield Street                                                                                      © Millennium Models

India Art n Design features Saw Swee Hock Student centre for London School of Economics designed by architects O’Donnell +Toumey
  Planning Model_View from Claremarket                                                                                       ©Milleneum Models
India Art n Design features Saw Swee Hock Student centre for London School of Economics designed by architects O’Donnell +Toumey
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Coming across as an architectural puzzle, the folded, chamfered, canted and faceted façade is put together with precise detailing using standard and custom-shaped bricks offset from each other in a sculpturesque wrap around the irregular arrangement of trapezoidal floor plates; and after careful study of site constraints, conforming to the tenets of the Rights of Light Envelope.

India Art n Design features Saw Swee Hock Student centre for London School of Economics designed by architects O’Donnell +Toumey
Watercolour sketch                                                                                                                        ©ODT
India Art n Design features Saw Swee Hock Student centre for London School of Economics designed by architects O’Donnell +Toumey
Vertical Circulation_ Visual Connections                                                                                           ©ODT

Even though the spaces are carved with complex geometries, the movement inside the building is designed with accessibility and inclusive design as key features. With approaches being step-free and floor plate being flat, the circulation routes create vertical and horizontal meeting spaces and lively interludes, rather than just being modes of circulation.

India Art n Design features Saw Swee Hock Student centre for London School of Economics designed by architects O’Donnell +Toumey
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Open-work steel trusses, ribbed concrete slabs and solid wooden floor give a rustic feel to the interior, with light weight partition and sliding screens adding flexibility to the design. The spaces are allowed to flow into one another with the absence of closed corridors making the street and the building act as one social and sculptural entity.

India Art n Design features Saw Swee Hock Student centre for London School of Economics designed by architects O’Donnell +Toumey
Massing Model                                                                                                                                                ©ODT
India Art n Design features Saw Swee Hock Student centre for London School of Economics designed by architects O’Donnell +Toumey
Site plan - Concept sketch                                                                                                                                                ©ODT
India Art n Design features Saw Swee Hock Student centre for London School of Economics designed by architects O’Donnell +Toumey
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Sustainability performance being the key criteria, the design incorporates intricately woven solid and perforated surfaces, with large areas of transparent glazing for daylight consideration – a pivotal feature in the generation of the tapering building form (carefully tailored to reduce the impact of its volume on the lighting levels in the surrounding buildings - becoming narrower as it rises). The niches that push in provide shading to the wall planes and permit cross ventilation, while increasing walkway space on the ground. Natural untreated materials like timber joinery, hand-made bricks and zinc roofs referred from the Green Guide, are used to embody the dynamic architectural character. Added to this the building conforms to state-of-the art Low-Zero-Carbon-Technologies (LZC) – a bouquet of ingrained sustainability features that have won the design a BREEAM Outstanding rating.

After bagging a host of prestigious awards (RIBA; RIAI best international award; Bricks –Supreme Award etc., etc., the project has recently been shortlisted for the coveted Mies Van der Rohe Award for European Architecture.

1 comment :

  1. Miki Kazmarek, Designer at Miki G DesignJanuary 13, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    I had to look at this for a long time to form the words to express what I see. Basically, there are sections I respond to, and other part of the structure I recoil at. With utmost respect, it seems disjointed and too far-fetching for shapes and surfaces. Makes me dizzy. Like someone tried to be tooooo different. I appreciate you bringing this to share.

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