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Copper Awards: Commended

Weymouth Street, London by Make Architects

This project transforms a relatively undistinguished, six-storey 1960s block in the heart of a conservation area in London into a highly distinctive refurbishment scheme.

It increases the residential accommodation and gives the building a striking new identity defined by extensive use of brass. Respecting its historic context, the original Weymouth Street facade has been retained and refurbished so that it blends virtually seamlessly with the surrounding vernacular. However, brass cladding dramatically caps the building, containing two new levels of penthouses. This cladding then fully envelops the rear elevation, where the building has been extended horizontally and vertically to provide 12 new luxury apartments, exploding with punched balconies that cantilever out from internal living spaces.

AR_03_10_Weymouth_St_Make

Brass was chosen for its qualities of sustainability and complete recyclability, as well as its distinctive architectural appeal. A key aspect of this is natural oxidisation that will cause the brass to weather over time and add depth and character to the building.

Each panel will patinate slightly differently but this process has been enhanced by varying components in the copper alloy to achieve colours ranging from a soft, golden yellow at the rear of the building to a russet brown on the new upper levels facing Weymouth Street. The colours will gradually tone down to echo the shades of the neighbouring buildings.

The new enclosed balconies are a play on the verticality of the surrounding blocks and the pattern of this facade has been repeated within the balcony frames, which are transformed into perforated screens. The crisply gridded Mondrian-like geometry of the balconies animates the facades.

JURY COMMENTS

Wrapped in a skin of brass cladding, this project for a residential development in the heart of London attracted the jury’s attention with its imaginative approach to materials, especially how they age and weather. Differences in the proportions of copper and zinc used in the alloy mixtures create a range of different hues, from brown to gold, so the panels will patinate at different rates over time. The jury was also seduced by the perforated balcony frames which filter light and cast a pattern of rippling and flickering shadows around the interiors of the flats.

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