Mixed-use building, London
Flats and books in one
LONDON (UK) - Studio Egret West's Clapham One in south London strongly resembles some of the 20th century's most iconic 'Frank' architecture. Produced in collaboration with developers Cathedral Group and United House, this mixed-use building is part of a 100 million euro redevelopment programme by Lambeth Council spread over two sites. This component sits on Clapham High Street, in area which used to be distinctly for the average man but increasingly is home to London's highest earners and young professionals willing to splash out on rent to live in a lively part of town. It houses 136 private apartments which have paid for the public facilities. These facilities include a new health centre, library and café. The other site is a fully comprehensive leisure centre. There are 44 affordable homes split between developments.
From the exterior, it would be easy to confuse Clapham One with Frank Gehry's 1998 Neuer Zollhof trio in Düsseldorf. With its white surface that evokes a blend of the white plastered and brick towers, it, too, has multiple, sculptural rectellipse towers that cluster in a seemingly haphazard way and highly shiny aluminium windows that jut out at odd angles. Taking inspiration also from the sparkle of the stainless steel-clad building, Clapham One's split-clad brick is infused with mica aggregate quartz. The openness of the glazed podium at ground level containing the public facilities is conversely an improvement on Gehry for its building's interaction with the street.
On the inside, the showpiece is very much the new library housing 20,000 books along a spiral ramp. Reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's 1959 New York Guggenheim Museum, the ramp ascends to the café and descends to the children's section, which doubles as a performance area with 100 seats in the 'stalls' and further in the ramp 'circle' and 'upper circle'. Cleverly, for acoustic reasons, there is an outer ring of small rooms that follow the library ramp spiral for quiet study and reading.
Thursday | 30 August | 2012 | United Kingdom | Isabelle Priest