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Charisma, craftsmanship and character: specification tips

Nick Baker Architects’ Nick Baker gives three of his specification favourites

Solar Thermal Panels

Solar thermal panels’ circular form makes them harder to include in an inclined roof pane and they need connecting to fluid heat exchangers. The Kingspan Varisol panel, developed with Kingspan for our Solstice Point project in Camden, uses only one end of the evacuated heat tube for the transition of temperature to the fluid distributor, giving it great flexibility. We integrated the panel into the facade; placed vertically and orientated south/south west they use ambient and direct sunlight. Integrated into the building’s M&E from design conception they can contribute up to 25% of space heating as well as conventional hot water provision.

Credit: Hamish Park

Western Red Cedar

When specified correctly western red cedar is a wonderfully charismatic material. When sheltered externally, the warm and vibrant red tones can be retained and transition comfortably internally to enable a powerful inside/outside experience – as at our Skywood House design. Its slow growth marine environment characteristic ensures western red cedar has good compatibility as an external cladding to the UK’s relatively wet climate. Care is needed with detailing window sills and fascias to avoid staining but when understood the results can be visually as well as sustainably rewarding.

 

Credit: Lanserring

Interior ID/Lanserring

Interior fit-out is key to a complete architectural work, Gesamtkunstwerke. We ran into Bernd Radaschitz and his team when they arrived in London from Austria in 2007. Their attention to detail and understanding of craftsmanship comes from their almost 100 year history and is a delight to work with and to show clients. Interior ID concentrates on cabinetry while the recently launched Lanserring operation focuses on kitchen furniture. They combine finishes that compliment each other and have a keen eye for a contemporary design twist. It always feels like a genuinely joint design and craft solution when they are on board.

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