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A break from the norm

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					                                                                                                                                  SOUTH WEST
A break
from the norm
A worthy finalist in the LABC National Built in Quality
Awards, 2 Victoria Place in Chippenham, Wiltshire, has
been described as a modernist masterpiece, designed by
former local authority architect Jack Konynenburg

          his project was           circular courtyard. One, for        “THIS MODERNIST        is reached via a glass block




T
          constructed last year     the architect and his family, is                           clad spiral staircase. Domed
                                                                        TOWN HOUSE HAS A
          on the site of a former   two storeys, the other is                                  rooflights are provided for the
          transport yard, to the    single storey. Although the         SCULPTURAL FORM        ground floor internal spaces.
          rear of a listed          smaller unit has been               WHICH PROVIDES         Each house has its own south
          building, in the          provided for the architect’s        NOVEL LIVING SPACES,   facing private courtyard. The
Chippenham conservation             mother, who is mobility                                    shared front courtyard is
                                                                        UNUSUAL VIEWS AND
area. The owner, Jack               impaired, the houses can be                                paved, with a central tree, and
Konynenburg, who designed           linked to form a single, larger     A WELCOMING            contains car parking spaces
and managed the scheme, is          dwelling. The two storey            COMMUNAL               for the new houses and
a former local authority            house is ‘upside down’, with        COURTYARD”             existing building.
architect, well-known for his       upstairs living room and                                      The single storey roofs are
more adventurous designs in         downstairs kitchen/dining,                                 planted with sedum, which is
the district.                       bedrooms and                                               prominently visible from the
   The project comprises two        garage/workshop.                                           first floor. Along with the
compact linked-houses,                 The projecting first floor has                          highly-insulated rear walls, the




                                                                                                                                  ▲
curved on plan around a             curved doors to the front and                              green roof helps the




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                                                                                                                                 SOUTH WEST
▲




    development achieve better        location is the very essence of     “THIS INGENIOUS      Plans for the future include
    standards of u-value.             the project, and we hope we                              solar panels and a ground-
                                                                          ROOF STRUCTURE IS
       Holistically speaking, the     have shown that remoteness                               source heat pump.
    architect self-builder is keen    and seclusion are not the only      A RADICAL               Building on an established
    to point out that the site is     way of providing living space       DEPARTURE FROM       working relationship, North
    sustainable in other ways –       in the modern world.”               THE NORM”            Wilts Building Control was
    the compact size of the              By pushing the houses                                 able to work closely with the
    houses, the town centre           back against the site                                    designer from the outset.
    location (alongside shops and     boundary, there was little                               Whilst being an architecturally
    workplaces) and the proximity     space for a conventional                                 fascinating project, it was the
    to bus/rail transport             garden.                                                  structural innovation of the
    interchanges.                        Instead, small segments                               main roof construction of the
       This modernist town house      have been carved out of the                              two storey house which drew
    has a sculptural form which       building’s footprint, providing                          particular accolade from North
    provides novel living spaces,     two small walled gardens, one                            Wilts Building Control: “This
    unusual views and a               for each property, and an                                ingenious roof structure is a
    welcoming communal                upstairs terrace leading out                             radical departure from the




                                                                                                                                 ▲
    courtyard. In many ways,          from the first floor living room.                        norm, its form befitting the
    Jack’s home is a Modernist’s      As well as its striking modern
    dream, packed full of quirky      aesthetic, Jack was keen to
    20th century memorabilia.         incorporate eco-features
       However, the town centre       where possible, on a limited
    location was a key criteria for   budget. Six domed rooflights
    the designer, who notes that      percolate light into the green-
    comments such as “it should       roofed, ground floor kitchen,
    have been in the countryside”     bathroom, bedroom and
    or “by the seaside” have          hallway areas, creating a
    entirely missed the point.        cheerfully bright interior and
       Jack said: “The town centre    saving energy on lighting.




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                                                                                                                               SOUTH WEST
    striking aesthetic of the          by stiff, moment-resisting       “THE OVERALL EFFECT   hardwood beam and
▲




    building.”                         connections, to prevent the                            upwardly-curved, tapered
                                                                        IS A GLORIOUS
       The common rafters are in       legs from spreading.                                   glulam ties are therefore not
    softwood, spanning from wall          Due to the extended lever-    CENTREPIECE OF        only an aesthetic feature, but
    plate to curved ridge beam.        arm of the tripod structure,     ARCHITECTURAL         act to reinforce the moment-
    The principal monopitch roof       the legs are also tied-back to   STRUCTURE”            connections between legs and
    structure comprises the steel      a secondary curved glulam                              ridge beam, accommodating
    ridge section, which is curved     beam, which sits some two                              both bending and axial
    to a relatively small radius, on   metres below the ridge beam,                           stresses.
    plan.                              at ceiling level. The                                     The overall effect is a
       This is ingeniously             connection between cranked                             glorious centrepiece of
    supported off the outside          steel legs and the exposed                             architectural structure; the
    walls, at intermediate             curved timber tension ring is                          composite form acting as a
    positions along its curved         made via elegant, curved                               three-dimensional curved roof
    span, by means of inclined         timber tie-members, which are                          truss, with the roof structure
    steel legs – forming a five-       further guyed by stainless                             not only honestly expressed,
    legged ‘tripod’. The legs are      steel cables.                                          but positively featured.
    connected at their upper end          The attractive curved




                                                                                         www.labc.uk.com | spring 2009 | 93

				
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