It is always a challenge to increase the volume at the top of a building and to attempt to use any spare load-carrying capacity of the existing building to produce economies in the design for the benefit of the Client. It is always pleasing when this attempt is successful.
Significant removal of walls and virtually complete rearrangement of the interior plus the addition of new perimeter features including a side extension were proposed to radically metamorphose this property, all peaked with a unique penthouse master bedroom.
From the inception of our appointment, we advised the Clients of the need for THe Consultants to fully understand their property above ground as well as below. Our work would require knowledge of the existing soil conditions and of the foundation details. All but one of the nominated exploratory holes were formed for our benefit before the Clients decanted from the property to enable that remaining hole to be formed through and well below the floor of their living room!
To enable the Clients to assess, monitor and control their budget, any unknowns of a structural nature were allowed for on a provisional basis pending confirmation from exposure of the relevant conditions on site. Certain foundation conditions were favourable therefore requiring nominal adjustment to certain provisional details, altogether avoiding any overspend of the Client’s budget usually where overspend is likely to occur in respect of foundation-related works.
A light airy feeling from the perspectives of the Clients and the onlooker has been achieved in the substantially glazed elevations of the penthouse master bedroom. Within there is no vertical internal structure to interrupt the 5.9m x 4.3m clear floor area, as stipulated in the Clients’ brief. To balance this requirement with those of the ‘thin-as-possible’ roof requirement of the architect, and minimum weight of structure for our own purposes, we devised a complex of timber trusses and principal beams and timber posts to be assembled on site by the contractor before fitting of the secondary timbers and thereafter accomplishing weather-tightness with installation of the glazing before the application of specified internal finishes.
THe Consultants designed the penthouse floor and the penthouse roof to be suspended on a myriad of beams to ensure that no down-stand would result in the ceiling of the first floor accommodation and to more evenly distribute the new loadings onto the available lengths of walls that were retained in accordance with the Clients’ requirements.
The end result is a unique modern-looking property that provides a pleasing flow of space internally, and is complementary to its neighbourhood externally, with the structural complexity of its refurbishment being totally unobtrusive and concealed within its fabric.