wanted to bring light through into the gardens. So in some areas there are punched rectangular holes, creating a lighter visual feel as well as interest internally. The goal was that this feature would also prevent graffiti, however local artists have focused on the solid section around the bin and bike store to the front, leading the architects to replant the green roof with hanging plants, in an attempt to screen it as much as possible.

The shingles (in part chosen as they would work on both walls and roof, and provide a ventilated rainscreen) represent a very common sense cladding approach, while providing a “natural warmth” that ties in with neighbouring properties. “From a construction point of view it’s very low tech, no specialist trades required,” says Tikari. The C-shaped clay forms are hung in traditional fashion off cross battens, and fixed by two screws. As contractor, the architects brought specialist tradespeople on to the job for certain roles, however carpenters and brickies worked throughout the project: “there’s more incentive for them to do a good job,” says Tikari, as they are not handing over to someone else. This is thought to be the largest volume of Petersen shingles yet featured on a UK project: Tikari says that the effect of the reddish brown expanse helps the building “sit quite softly within the context.” However the extensive use of the material, wrapping the forms, also “creates a bit of tension.” He adds, “it’s familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, which is something we really liked about it.”

CLT & interiors

Explaining the overall thought process behind the construction, which fed into the use of factory-assembled CLT, Tikari says: “Right from the beginning we were working quite volumetrically. A lot of the key decisions and the spaces that resulted came from working in that kind of sectional approach, rather than just an extruded floor plan approach typical in housing.” The architects wanted to “avoid generic

spaces” and see “what other opportunities we could offer” - and CLT was part of the solution. Achieving it became a negotiation between commercial pressure to maximise the amount of floor space, and environmental and contextual pressures eg getting light in, and avoiding the creation of shadows over neighbours.

The duplex-style three bed flats are designed as “terraced houses on the top of each building” They have vindicated the


architects’ approach, being the quickest to sell, despite the project having the misfortune of completing just as Covid took off in March 2020. They have terraces facing into the courtyard, one side offering “sweeping views of London.” They are cut into the roof, which as a result ‘hugs’ the terraces, increasing the sense of privacy, and making them highly usable spaces. The concrete cavity walls have PIR insulation cast into them, and in both ground floor flats of the larger block they have been left exposed internally, enabling residents to “read how the building is constructed,” says Tikari. He said this was an important goal throughout, exemplified by the CLT frame being exposed internally. The only coating is white-tinted Envirograf fire protection, bringing the structure to Class 0/spread of flame. The walls are insulated with mineral wool, on sustainability grounds.

The internal layout in each block is simple: a “very efficient” plan based around a CLT stair and lift core, with apartment entrances off it. All the timber panels arrived on site in eight deliveries – (including floors, roofs, staircases, and lift cores, as well as “75 per cent of internal finishes,” says Tikari. This highly controlled, low-waste approach also produced a structure that sequesters around 237 tonnes of carbon.

A further benefit of CLT was that due to its predictable dimensional accuracy, Tikari Works were able to order windows and kitchens before the frame arrived, “because we knew that the tolerances for openings would be very small.” He adds: “We knew that what we drew would be what got built. In addition, Tikari says that with the architect taking the lead role, there’s a “huge benefit” to having all of the components provided by one package and one subcontractor (Eurban). Lastly, all of the plugs and sockets openings are prerouted in the factory, so that the electrician turns up onsite and “just needs to connect A to B.” The only caveat is that “you need to draw more, and deeper into the programme; you are coordinating the light sockets at the same time as coordinating the groundworks, due to the lead time. Once you build that into the thinking, it’s manageable.”


The architects from the office were onsite almost every day, part of the reason this project achieved a level of quality that has

“We were able to operate efficiently with the CLT because we knew that what we drew would be what got built”



Client, architect and main contractor: Tikari Works Project team: Ty Tikari, Nicola Tikari, Nick O’Reilly, Ewelina Krol Structural engineer: Webb Yates M&E and acoustics: Syntegra Specialist craftsman: VT Construct CLT subcontractor: Eurban CLT manufacturer: Stora Enso Shingles: Petersen Tegl Gross internal floor area: 880 m2


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