A Victorian villa with impressive 2-storey vaulted steel and glass office space with mezzanine for structural engineers Elliott Wood.
Richard Paxton Architects,
Elliott Wood’s own offices show what can be achieved from an imaginative architectural and structural approach to the redevelopment of a tight, urban plot.
Previously home to an old servicemen’s club, the site comprised a four-storey Victorian property with a single-storey function room to the rear. The upper levels of the main building were retained for residential use; while the building’s lower floors and the rear of the site were redeveloped to provide new offices for the practice.
Elliott Wood worked with Richard Paxton Architects to find a solution to enable two floors to be squeezed into the redesigned rear extension. A curved roof profile was developed for the extension with a height similar to the ridge of the former function room’s pitched roof. The curved profile enabled ceiling heights to be raised and a mezzanine floor to be installed along the length of the extension.
Site constraints did not allow windows at ground level so the extension is imaginatively lit from above; a row of glazing slopes along both sides of the roof and a central row of roof lights illuminate the mezzanine floor.
To minimise the practice’s environmental impact the offices are ventilated using an earth pipe system. This solution reduces the need for heating and cooling energy in the building. The system works by drawing the ventilation air through a series of clay pipes buried beneath the extension. These pipes enable the office to take advantage of the constant ground temperature to cool ventilation air in summer and to warm it in winter. The air is delivered to the offices at floor level, rises as it picks up heat before it is extracted at high level and returned to heat exchangers; here any remaining energy is captured before the air is discarded.