Photographer Rankin’s Annroy building by Trevor Horne Architects
A series of doors and windows products have been used in Trevor Horne Architects’ refurbishment of a 1960s office block in Kentish Town, which includes a photographer’s studio, private apartments and a penthouse with nearly frameless views over London
Architect Trevor Horne Architects
Location 110-114 Grafton Road, Kentish Town, London
Completed November 2009
Among the mismatch of architectural styles and periods in a gritty part of Kentish Town sits the restrained and recently remodelled Annroy building.
It’s not just the clean and simple lines of the glazed ground-floor studio with its blown up photos of models that catches the eye, but the elegantly flush appearance of the different shaped windows which appear almost frameless.
Photographer John Rankin Waddell, known as Rankin, bought the original three-storey 1960s warehouse and office building in 2006 with the intention of converting it into his home and working studio as well as 11 private apartments, and appointed Trevor Horne Architects later that year to implement his vision.
The project involved stripping back the brick and tiled facade of the T-shaped building to reveal its concrete structural frame while retaining the brick side and rear elevations, and adding two extra floors. Each of the new floors steps back at the front to provide room for terraces. The new fourth floor sits back more than the third — approximately 3.5m — to allow for a more expansive terrace to Rankin’s own penthouse and to also make the top floor as discreet as possible.
Annroy (the name is the pairing of Rankin’s parents first names) has been rendered externally with dark grey Sto render while the top floor is clad in Eternit Natura Pro, anthracite-coloured fibre cement panels by Marley.
The project uses five different window and sliding door products in addition to rooflights by Glazing Vision for the 200sq m penthouse, while the original metal- framed Crittall windows on the first floor side elevations have been retained. The apartments (priced between £255,000 to £275,000) were all sold within weeks.
Curtain wall system
Glass Tech Facades designed and installed the German-made curtain wall system at first and second floor front elevations and to the rear of the penthouse.
The system comprises 50mm-wide laminated spruce mullions and transoms with a toggle fixing system (see diagram below) for securing the glass. The curtain wall achieves U-values from 1.8W/m sq K down to 0.7 W/m sq K. The glass units are manufactured with a metal U-profile bonded into the outside edges.
A series of toggles are then inserted between the panes and then screwed in so they clamp the glass against the internal gasket. Glass carriers spaced along the bottom edge support the weight of the units.
Once all the toggles are secured then the vertical and horizontal external joints are filled with a black silicone to give a flush facade.
Sky-Frame Sliding Doors
Rankin saved the best sliding door system for himself and who can blame him.
The Swiss-made highly engineered Sky-Frame appears almost frameless and provides unimpeded views from the fourth floor penthouse. However it’s for the privileged few, costing approximately £2,250 per sq m which covers design, delivery and installation.
The Sky-Frame system was installed by Glass Tech Facades in an inner courtyard on the south side of Rankin’s penthouse and to the front elevation leading to the terrace. Six panels 2m wide x 2.5m tall were installed to the front creating a 12m-wide expanse of glass. The doors open from the centre creating a huge 66% opening of 8m. The internal Sky-Frame corner to corner detail was 3.23m wide on one elevation and 2.25m wide on the other, with a height of 2.5m.
The attractiveness of the system is that the frame can be installed flush with the walls, ceiling and floor.
The only visible aspect of the frame is the 20mm-thick mullion where two sections overlap. Sky-Frame consists of 30mm-thick insulated glass panels with a surrounding fibre-glass-reinforced epoxy resin (GRP) profile glued to the edges.
Aluminium frames are built into the floor, wall and ceiling and the panels rest on low-resistance ball-bearing rollers. The vertical aluminium frame components are clipped onto the GRP profiles and water drains via a channel installed flush with the floor. The frame has very good insulation values (the rated U-value is 2.1W/sq m K) owing to the complete separation of its inner and outer shells.
The system is very versatile and any number of fixed and sliding panels can be combined, either alternating or with adjoining sliding elements opening in opposite directions. The release mechanism sits flat against the frame and unlocks the multipoint locking system by pushing it upwards. The sliding panel can be locked into the ventilation position, creating a gap that is both rainproof and burglar-proof. Sky-Frame has been available in the UK for the last three years.
Other products used
Aero Aktiv These inward opening tilt-and-turn windows were specified at second floor level on the front elevation and to the side elevations of the penthouse. The 2.2m tall x 930mm wide units are thermally efficient and a near flush finish between the surrounding render and the outside face of the glass was achieved. The lower pane is fixed while the upper pane is tilt and turn. The outer frame is installed behind the external render, while internally, the frame is exposed. The opening vent is covered by glass externally while internally, it is visible. The windows are manufactured in Germany and available in the UK through Glass Tech Facades.
Sunflex sliding door system On the third floor, Sunflex aluminium sliding doors were installed by P&P Glass in the building’s front elevation to serve the terrace and in the rear balcony, as well as the second floor rear terrace and the ground floor side elevations. The SVG99/155 system is a heavy-duty sliding door system that enables extra large glass areas to slide easily.
Sapa windows A British-made 55mm tilt-and-turn window by Sapa was installed by P&P Glass on the second and third floor levels to the side elevations (pictured above). The double glazed windows also replaced some of the single glazed metal Crittall windows to increase the U-value of the refurbished building.