With Christmas on the horizon, what are you going to wrap your buildings in?
We are all open to new things here. That’s a given. But how about being open to old things? Jeremy Corbyn hopes you are, as must the owners of Shenfield Mill, who thanks to IQ Glass have added this glitzy extension to their home. If this frameless corner opening onto a slice of traditional Berkshire countryside, convinces you to open your dusty wallet, then blow off those cobwebs and splash out on the automated sliding door, frameless rooflight and aluminium bi-fold doors as well – and let light from the ancient sun and moon flood the rest of your house.
I guess these panels are like the Paleo Diet (if you remember that – so 2013!) as they also are made from naturally occurring ingredients that the more adventurous of our ancestors might have happened upon when, perhaps, taking a break from the hunting and gathering. Did they get breaks? Clays, feldspar, silica and natural mineral oxides. If Fresh and Wild sold cladding, this is what they would sell, people. It’s stain-resistant, impervious to chemicals, and the ones on this Dutch hospital are dichroic. Very new New Stone Age.
The rainbow is, of course, a sign of forgiveness. So will residents of Collyhurst estate, northeast of Manchester, some ‘of the most deprived communities in the country,’ feel more favoured by the Powers That Be following the addition of Rockpanel Chameleon facade cladding – ‘a beacon of regeneration’ – as part of a renovation to their sixties tower block home? The prism effect comes from a crystal layer, and the surface changes colour depending which angle you look at it from. Those residents might of course be wondering where the crock of gold is hidden.
See? Coloured clay is a thing. Here at the Highfields Humanities College project in Blackpool, Bracknell Roofing hung 30,000 Laumans glazed interlocking tiles on a building. With two elevations of 80m by 10m and another 60m by 10m that’s miles of tiles, and fewer smiles (I’d imagine) until it was done. Especially given the fact that the team had to do an actual tile jigsaw and create the aqua-to-green fade from architect’s drawings. Something like a butterfly’s wings, the tiles’ colourful bluebottle tones help carry the body of the beast.
Am I ascending or is this house sinking? It’s like when you’re in a train and the one next door leaves but it feels like you’re off instead. Anyway, I’m sure they used a decent groundworks contractor, because the curiously named Plain House in Surrey just sold for £2.5m. The eco-efficient house, which creates a certain percentage of its own energy, is roofed with Redland’s Rosemary Clay Craftsman tiles – yet I don’t think they are heavy enough to drive it into the sod. Can’t be so sure about the six bedrooms, five bathrooms or home cinema though.
Optiwhite glass panels
If I’ve learned anything from 20 years of the Antiques Roadshow, it’s that a Clarice Cliff tea set is the easiest objet d’art to spot (give or take the odd Moorcroft vase). These glass panels on Stoke-on-Trent’s City Council building, where Cliff was born and worked, reference her deco colour palette – green, blue, red, yellow and white – but a country cottage with blue trees would have had more semiotic oomph. Ceramic might also have been more appropriate, but, they say, the glass – including Pilkington’s Optiwhite low-iron glass on the outer pane – let the colour shine more brightly.
The Technal team must have been guided by angles as it created this sloped glazing for Pegasus Academy at Whitehorse Manor, Surrey. They glazed a new nursery, six new classrooms, an enlarged hall, and a new entrance and administrative areas that link the two existing buildings where angles had previously feared to go. The corner edges were particularly hard to detail and success hinged on the angle eyes looking just right. The Academy has won several awards, including a RIBA London gong, but I’m sure there was nothing oblique in the judging process.
Perfect day for a murder, what? Surely I can’t be the only one imagining breaking glass, spine-chilling screams, and the sound of patent leather evening shoes echoing through this Agatha Christie-style development on the English Riviera. Whodunnit? Not Berthold Lubetkin, or any domesticated international modernist, but living architect, Kay Elliott. The art deco balconies owe their long, sweeping curves to the StoTherm Classic external wall insulation, which should also cope with exposure to the sea just 6m away. Easily close enough to chuck a bloodied candlestick in.