Stonebridge Hillside Hub
Structural Award Highly Commended 2009
Building Owner: Hyde Housing Association
Architect: Edward Cullinan Architects
Builder/Main Contractor: Rydon Construction
Structural Engineers: Fife Belcher Grimsey & Partners
Joinery: HKH Company LTD, Constructional Timber
Wood Species: Siberian Larch (Cladding), Douglas Fir (Ceiling), European Whitewood & Spruce (PEFC Certified)
The Hillside Hub is a key scheme in the continuing regeneration of the Stonebridge Estate in West London. It is a mixed use building incorporating a Primary Care Trust Centre, a Community Centre, a Tesco supermarket, a car park and mixed tenure residential apartments. The curved zinc roof of the Community Centre building is framed by two building wings: one housing the PCT with apartments above and one where the other apartments sit over the supermarket and car park. At the front of the scheme two white brick ‘prows’ frame a public plaza from which a visitor enters the centrally placed Community Centre.
External Timber Cladding
The larch timber cladding to the mixed tenure apartments was sourced from Sib eria. Siberian Larch, unlike English Larch, is sap free meaning it can be left untreated to weather to a silver grey colour. Other species of larch would have to be treated with a preservative to prevent the wood releasing tannins which would in turn stain the façade. We designed two sizes of horizontal cladding, both with thirty degree chamfered tops and bases to aid shedding of water and this prevent staining and warping. The boards are fixed with a gap between them small enough to prevent water ingress but large enough to allow air to circulate around the board. Aesthetically these “fat man/thin man” boards give a rough, textured look to the elevations, uniting the cantilevered balconies with the wall they spring from.
Between the bands of horizontal timbers are hit and miss vertical boards with inward opening triple glazed windows. The boards are carefully set out and detailed to overlap the chunky frames of the windows meaning that when you look at the building you see an elegant juxtaposition of glass against timber.
The timber envelope achieves a U value in excess of 20% above Building Regulations and all the timber is from FSC certified sources.
Internal Glulam Structure
Inside the building a series of prefabricated glulam arches form the Community Centre roof structure. These beams were made offsite and erected by the subcontractor within a week of delivery. The roof, or ‘armadillo’ as it is now known locally, curves across both its width and length and its design involved two engineers and a specialist subcontractor. Each of the semicircular beams has a slightly different radius resulting in a series of splayed beams with birch ply faced acoustic panels fixed in between. This structure runs from the Community Centre’s first floor hall, over the building’s double height foyer and out into the public plaza forming a generous entrance canopy. Connections are made with carefully detailed steel plates and fixings.
Douglas Fir Ceilings
This bespoke feature ceiling runs from the café over the triple height PCT entrance atrium and into a GP waiting area, uniting these three spaces spatially. It is made from Douglas Fir timber treated to Class 0 fire resistance and, similarly to the larch cladding, two different profiles of timber are employed to create texture and shadows across the ceiling’s surface. This also enables lights and ventilation grilles to sit neatly within band widths.