Concrete Elegance: Exploring Spatial Quality and Natural Light


'Concrete finishes on the grand scale and on the intimate and personal level'

Central St Martin's, University of the Arts at King’s Cross
Paul Williams, Stanton Williams Architects

Completed in 2011, the new University of the Arts campus, home of Central St Martin's College of Arts and Design, combines robust historic architecture with bold modern additions and interventions. It will fuel the regeneration of King’s Cross, giving the area critical mass and a vibrant energy. The six-storey Granary Building, which is the public face of the new University campus, is transformed into the main entrance and library. To the north, between the two former railway ‘transit sheds’ running the full length of the site; a substantial new concrete building accommodates the studios, the drama centre and the formal teaching spaces. An internal central street draws daylight in and acts as the central circulation spine with suspended walkways, cafes, film, graphic and light projections. The spaces are designed to be flexible and ‘raw', to allow the different departments within the college to develop their own identities, whilst maintaining the integrity of the building as a whole.

Shingle House, Dungeness
Mark Bell, Nord Architects
In undertaking the design of the ‘Shingle House’ our reference points were both the local vernacular style and the traditional building method of wrapping a structure in one continuous material. The proposal is for the external skin of the new dwelling be entirely ‘cloaked’ with a combination of tarred timber cut shingles and timber boards, of which belies the prefabricated system beneath. The building implements a simple and rugged basic idea consisting of a solid internal ‘core’ made of cast and smooth polished concrete; including hearth, chimney, stove, kitchen and bathing rooms. The chimney being the only concrete element to be seen from outside, reflects and assume the colour of the surrounding landscape, whilst contrasting with the tarred external walls, and gives an indication of the materiality within.

Free to attend. Booking essential.