SAM POTTER, MAKE ARCHITECTS
As well as being a highly modern façade material with very special properties bestowed by its natural origin, terracotta is also extremely versatile, expressive, adaptable and full of quality. Its malleability and variability present countless opportunities for architects to implement creative concepts and build something truly unmistakeable.
One of the projects featured in this yearbook is located in the heart of London. ‘Straddling the remains of the fortified enclosure of the Roman garrison within the ancient London settlement, London Wall Place revives and reconnects this important heritage site to the rest of the City.
Still gleaming from the face of the sites Roman wall are the irridescent smooth faces of the napped flint and Kentish ragstone which the early settlers shipped up the Thames to construct their defensive enclosure. It is from this material that the two new buildings, designed by Make Architects for London Wall Place Limited Partnership, takes its inspiration. London Wall Place Limited Partnership is a joint venture between Brookfield and Oxford Properties. Working with NBK, main Contractor Multiplex and Facade Contractor Permasteelisa, a curvaceous oily black-blue faience cladding was developed over the course of 4 years. Deliberately designed as a tactile counter-material to the more mute reinforced concrete cladding, the ceramic provides a tactile skin to this sizeable office and retail development. Consisting of just 6 separate curvaceous components configured in a range of permutations the ceramic covers elevation, parapets, soffits and even interiors. Capturing the changing natural and artificial light throughout the day, the curved deep glaze of the ceramic takes on a unique life of its own setting the development apart from its more brutalist neighbours. In combination with the concrete cladding and anodised bronze metalwork the opaque elements cover in excess of 40 % of the facade. This deep cladding provides self shading which passively reduces heat gain and glare without compromising desirable internal daylight requirements. This reduces demand on internal cooling and lighting. Behind the cladding is a void which has future-proofed the opportunity for concealed natural ventilation via grilles or trickle vents which could be inserted into the internal mullions.’