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16 THE MUSIC BOX, SOUTHWARK, LONDON


This core cuts across the college and residential elements, and is arranged over a basement area. Housing the vast majority of plant here, the architects freed up space on top of the building for roof terraces and green roofing. As well as the plant, a venue space and bar for the college has been integrated in the basement, which Morriss describes as a key part of the building’s “heart and soul.”


A visual definition On the building’s lower exterior, a frequent use of glass has been complemented predominantly by brick. Rather than directly emulating the brick materiality seen in many of the surrounding buildings, the architects chose a white, glazed brick. While the continued use of brick references the local vernacular, the way it’s employed also provides a major contribution to the building’s unique character. Because the base of the building is substantial, however, the architects were concerned that a solid brick wall besides the open glass studios could seem overpowering. Instead, long slot windows were integrated n this element of the facade, in order to break down the scale of the building, and to give it what the architects term a “horizontal hierarchy.” Morriss explains further: “We used a Flemish bond in the brickwork, which is a very traditional bond of masonry. We did it, however, with an over-inflated brick.” He continues: “The bond normally alternates between a full brick, and then a cut brick, and so on. Instead of cut bricks though, we used a full brick, and then a double-sized, larger one.”


Beyond using scaled-up Flemish bonds to reduce the visual scale, and provide a less imposing structure, the architects created a relief in the brick facade to display a subtle musical theme. “To reflect the internal music college, we’ve actually used the brick bond to create musical notes,” says Morris. This pattern, protruding from the white-faced brickwork on the lower portion of this building, is in fact the guitar notation for ‘White Room’ by late 60s power trio Cream.


Morriss explains the genesis of this idea: “We’ve got a very talented architect in the studio, who in a former life was a successful musician. He meticulously planned the brick- work to depict the key notes of the song’s riff. On the upper floors, the residential portion has been designed to have a different outward form, and is very much vertical in its appearance, where the base is horizontal.


WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK ADF FEBRUARY 2019


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