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Wednesday23 August 2017

Interrobang wins planning for timber-framed house

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Infill dwelling clad in ‘mathematical’ tiles

Interrobang, the transdisciplinary arm of Webb Yates Engineers led by Studio Weave founder Maria Smith, has won planning approval for a timber-framed mews house in south-east London.

The project, on Stories Mews in Camberwell, involved a “long and tricky planning process”, said the practice.

The three-bed house replaces a dilapidated coach house.

Smith said: “As an infill development in the Camberwell conservation area, the site presented two significant challenges: the façade, which needed to make a positive contribution to a historic mews vernacular while resisting the temptations of pastiche; and a configuration of the plan, which needed to allow for both sunlight and privacy within the heavily overlooked garden landscape of Camberwell Grove.”

For the façade, Interrobang looked to historic examples of timber-framed English architecture. In towns like Lewes in East Sussex, a fashion for brickwork drove a local builder to invent the mathematical tile – a clay tile nailed and lapped like a plain tile but faced to form a brick bond.

Smith said: “These ingenious little tiles are now only made for restoration but have enormous potential as a lightweight mechanically-fixed alternative to the wet and heavy reality of modern brick construction.”

For the plan, a classic half-width rear extension was rotated 20 degrees to form two private triangular courtyards. These courtyards allow for large glass openings to run along the long elevation of the plan, providing cross ventilation and light throughout the day. The larger courtyard faces south and looks obliquely across the tree tops of neighbouring gardens. The smaller courtyard is an outdoor room that brings light and air into the bathroom, kitchen and ground-floor bedroom.

The timber structure is exposed on the interior to allow the rhythm and grain of studs and joists to express different territories of the plan. Joists are sized and spaced according to their specific span to achieve a uniform deflection across the first-floor deck.

Interrobang was founded in 2015. It is led by Maria Smith, formerly of Studio Weave which has since merged with Architecture 00, and Steve Webb and Andy Yates of Webb Yates Engineers. They are joined by associate Matthew Dalziel who comes from Haworth Tompkins and Reid Architecture.

 

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Readers' comments (12)

  • ??? - why not just use brick slips on an external insulation system - e.g. https://www.smetbuildingproducts.com/products/external-wall-insulation-systems/easylationwall/easylationwall/ - or of course REAL bricks?

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  • Southwark 17/AP/0276

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  • Southwark 17/AP/0276

    In fact having looked at that why not just keep the existing façade and inventively create a house incorporating it?

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  • Why is this in the 'news'? it is a poor plan, the so called courtyards/lightwells add nothing to the arrangement. elevation is poor.

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  • Maria Smith see http://www.eurobrick.co.uk/system

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  • Austin Clegg

    A nasty facade, not excused by the tiresome desire to stand out from the neighbours (or more piously "resisting the temptations of pastiche" ....yawn).
    And as David Jones points out,the unnecessary use of mathematical tiles (considerably more expensive than brick slips), which were invented to enable the owners of timber-framed buildings to 'Georgianise' them.

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  • SomeoneStoleMyNick

    Silly plan. Skewed for no reason. If I lived here it would drive me slowly round the bend. I'd be mentally trying to straighten things up all the time. What exactly is going to be stored in the pointy end bay of that cupboard?

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  • Licence to Crenelate

    Im struggling to think of a scheme which goes more out of its way to be out of context and thoroughly unneccessary than this one! The idea of central courtyards in mews houses is not new and doesnt need to be complicated and the facade treatment is an extraordinary exercise in self indulgence for no end other than to make this building stick out. Particularly regrettable as the existing facade could be reused and with some imagination freshened-up. Sad.

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  • I am Alex

    Just imagine how much nicer that courtyard would be if the plan was straightened out - instead of two compromised spaces you could have one pleasant usable space!

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  • Austin Clegg

    A sure winner of an RIBA regional award.

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