87-91 Redchurch Street, London

Schueco Excellence Awards 2014: Commended, Commercial. Entrant: pH+

South elevation, which combines flush glazing and spandrel panels with graphics on numerous openable shutters.
South elevation, which combines flush glazing and spandrel panels with graphics on numerous openable shutters.

Architects pH+ worked with Schueco to develop customised actuators to realise a façade animated by full-height openable shutters with colourful graphics. The façade, which uses Schueco’s FW 50+ SG system, is the main elevation of a £2m new-build of nine apartments above a commercial unit in Shoreditch, east London.

pH+ collaborated on the project with artist Bob and Roberta Smith who created a graphic piece on the south elevation inspired by the signs of now obsolete businesses that once operated in the fast-gentrifying area. 

These graphics are incorporated in vinyl on the inside of 3m x 1.2m powder-coated panels within the apartments. When the shutters are opened, they rotate 180 degrees to lock open facing the street, turning the previously internal graphics into external signs and revealing a glass balustrade in each aperture. As a result, the building appears closed and fortress-like at night but animated during the day, the artwork a reference to the art-world related businesses now moving into the area. An intermediate setting allows for the shutters to open 10cm for ventilation.

South elevation, which combines flush glazing and spandrel panels with graphics on numerous openable shutters.
South elevation, which combines flush glazing and spandrel panels with graphics on numerous openable shutters.

Considerable testing was undertaken with approved Schueco specialist contractor  Ridlands to ensure the shutters could withstand the windloads. Insulated aluminium panels – three per apartment – are combined with flush glazing and spandrel panels adjacent to the opening shutter doors.

‘The whole façade becomes a piece of public art and a massive sales feature,’ says pH+ director Andy Puncher.

Judges commended the design for its imaginative use of Schueco in combination with graphic panels in order to articulate the façade.

‘It brings colour to the street in a very different way,’ says judge Eleanor Young.

SchuecoAwards Redchurch Curtain wall section detail
SchuecoAwards Redchurch Curtain wall section detail

Credits

Architect: pH+

Structural engineer: Mason Navarro Pledge

Contractor: MJW (South East)

Specialist contractor: Ridlands

M+E engineer: ME7

Project management: Harben Project Services

Suppliers