Claire Pierce, architect and head of materials research at Walters & Cohen, gives us three of her specification favourites
HARDWOOD VENEERED ACOUSTIC PANELS
When writing specifications for school buildings we want materials that wear well, are compliant and cost effective and look beautiful. It can be difficult to find products that tick all of these boxes. For sound absorbent materials, we have confidence in Topakustik. At Lady Eleanor Holles School we specified slotted panels with a European oak veneer finish. These panels perform well acoustically and add a visual softness. UK supplier Acoustic Products has been brilliant helping us with particular requirements for different projects.
The American School in London is in a conservation area, so external material selection is particularly sensitive. We wanted a high quality, durable material that would respond to the changing quality and colour of daylight. We selected a white limestone from Portugal – a beautiful and economic alternative to Portland Stone. The façade has been designed to emulate the unwrapped geometric flutes of a Doric column, creating a ‘curtain’ that varies with constantly changing shadows. The photo shows the fading flutes being cut.
CLAY FACING BRICKWORK
The materials for the proposed Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat in the Suffolk countryside are modern and crisp, yet sympathetic to the farmstead vernacular. We wanted earthy materials that had a natural variation in colour and texture. For the shrine room, we specified a Danish waterstruck brick by Egernsund Tegl – a subdued, dark blue colour and a matching mortar. The trowelling of the wet clay as it slides out of the hardwood mould creates a unique textural patina after firing. The brick bond is stack bond with a soldier course between.