On paper, Chelsea is a ‘very simple, market standard’ office building, says architect Christian Grennan from 01-10 Architects. But just stacking square metres on top of each other at this high-profile location (next to a highway with thousands of cars passing by every hour) would be a wasted opportunity. Said Grennan: ‘We have chosen to implement subtle details to make the scale of the building friendlier and more appealing.’
A new way of bricklaying
Once Wienerberger clay bricks had been selected for the wall finishing, the possibility of using prefabricated elements was proposed. Scaffold-free construction at the site would be desirable and could also reduce the building time. ‘A period then began in which we investigated what was and was not possible with prefab brickwork. The result was surprising.’ recalls Grennan. ‘It was possible to create patterns that we could never have achieved with traditional brickwork.
The bricks have an interesting mix of colours. We wanted very dark bricks that were also lively and subtle. We opted for deep joints that create a shadow in the brickwork to accentuate the colour.
Christian Grennan, 01-10 Architects
Experimenting with bricks
An exciting period of experimentation, playing with different patterns and designs, then started for the architect and his team. ‘You are involved with a completely different layer of materialisation’, says Grennan. ‘From a distance you create a dark building with holes in it. Come closer and you see lines, and once you are up close you can see the materials. We were translating the craftsmanship that we see in old buildings into a relatively new method with a convincing result.’
Project nameChelsea office building, Rijswijk, The Netherlands
Architect01-10 Architecten, Nico Brouwer / Christian Grennan
Terca Buchwaldchen – Dresden, extruded