img(height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2939831959404383&ev=PageView&noscript=1")

Natural materials head John Walker’s ideal procurement list

Words:
John Bold

John Walker, director at Walker Simpson Architects, chooses three of his specification favourites

Upcycled Quarry Tiles
Staffordshire Blue quarry tiles have a varied finish and texture, from flat matt to almost vitreous. These have been salvaged from a building basement, dated around 1890, and used as a design feature across the floor of a residential project. With skylighting overhead, the tiles are highly light sensitive with grey, blue and silver tones reflecting across the surface as occupants move through the space. The quarries are laid on an underfloor heating system powered via a small photovoltaic array. As an upcycled product, the new embedded carbon comes mainly from the jointing grout and transportation of the tiles from a 50 mile distance. 

 

Sandstone
Walker Simpson specified stone as a principal facing material in a project for Holy Cross College in Bury. Stanton Moor sandstone was sourced via Marshalls with careful consideration of the provenance and proven weathering, described in McKay’s Building Construction Series, Volume Two (1961) as ‘Honey to very light drab: very hard and durable; uniform texture, close-grained: good working Millstone Grit of Carboniferous age’ from Stoke Hall Quarry, Grindleford. The design creates a new entrance to the college, with a canted pilaster form derived from the mansard roofs of the adjacent college buildings. 

Treated timber
Shifting from clay and stone, we recently completed a building for Girlguiding using timber slats fixed to a Ruukki Insulation panel. The concept evolved from research into the notion of a woven fabric, to produce a heavily textured appearance. Layering produces a subtle interplay of light and shade with different planes accented using primary colour stains. Visual continuity across the fabric is maintained by a single slat size. The building’s forest setting gives views of the contrasting precision engineering and irregular organic forms of the trees. The project was Building of the Year 2019 at the Manchester Society of Architects Awards.

Latest

Designer, teacher and critic whose curious and challenging approach and belief in close client consultation led to NHA’s specialisation in buildings for education

Champion of passive design, light and spatial clarity

Sustainable scheme by Brighton University undergraduate Jesse Mugambi features repurposed shipping containers and renewable materials

Jessie Mugambi’s scheme usesrepurposed shipping containers and renewable materials

Rather than build anew, sustainable practice Lake|Flato has repurposed and retrofitted its 100-year-old building as a new, contemporary headquarters

Rather than build anew, sustainable practice Lake|Flato retrofits what's already there

Access control system with a small footprint is discreet and compact enough to harmonise with the white and gold chic of this Birmingham office refurb

Discreet, compact access control doesn't distract from the white and gold chic of Birmingham office refurb

Muyiwa Oki has published his Biennial Plan, looking at ways to give the next generation a reason to care about architecture

Giving the next generation a reason to care about architecture