Innovative new build timber housing scheme using materials creatively to provide six flats.
Address: Spruce Apartments, 42 Barretts Grove, London N16
Architect: Amin Taha Architects
Contractor: Ecore Construction Ltd
About the project
The building is located in Stoke Newington and accommodates two 3 bedroom family maisonettes, three 2 bedroom flats and one studio. Set on the boundary of a conservation area, it stands between a tall Victorian buff coloured semi-detached townhouse and an Edwardian redbrick primary school. Its form echoes the slender gables of the school and standalone presence of the neighbouring 'villa' archetype. Retaining a simplistic profile generated through consultation with primary school pupils, their understanding of house and home, and knowledge of building technology pitfalls; namely straw, wood or brick.
Cross laminated timber (CLT) is used for all wall, floor and roof superstructure on a concrete and brick basement box. Internally the CLT is left exposed and finished with a clear fire retardant varnish. Insulation, a vapour barrier and self-supporting brick rain-screen make up the exterior thermal and protective envelope.
Acoustic resilient layers and boards, insulation and a floating timber floor are built-up above the floor superstructure and accommodate underfloor heating, power, data and hot/cold water services. The ability of material and structure to serve a number of purposes combine to remove the need for plaster boarded walls, suspended ceilings, cornices, skirtings and finishes such as tiling and paint. While simplifying the architectonic form and allowing the exposed structure's material qualities to drive a warmer and perhaps better connected tactile aesthetic, this strategy reduces the embodied carbon of the building, its construction cost and time on site.