Benyon Wharf is a high-quality residential development adjacent to Kingsland Basin on the Regent’s Canal in Hackney. The £9 million project provides 1,858 square metres of B1 space and 53 live/work apartments, with the retail units shielding the development from the main road.
The site is a former timber yard and had been under-used for many years. The challenge was to maximise the value of the site with a high-density scheme, whilst avoiding compromise in terms of quality and privacy.
The majority of the apartments have a duplex layout, with an open mezzanine level overlooking a generous double-height living area.
All of the main living spaces have fully-glazed elevations, with access to private balconies or terraces. A variety of layering devices, including slatted timber screens and shutters, provide solar shading and privacy. Circulation is highly efficient with just two cores serving external access decks, which articulate the rear facades and form bridges across the openings between apartment buildings.
Key takeaway points of using galvanizing:
- Avoided key issue of crevice corrosion
- Provided complete coverage of all metalwork
- Avoided on-site remedial work
In the process of rejuvenating this inner city quarter, the architect and engineer (Techniker) carefully acknowledged its industrial past. The blocks of live/work accommodation are robustly detailed in brick, timber and metalwork. Glazed lift shafts, open stairwells, cantilevered walkways, bridges and balconies are all treated as secondary lightweight frames applied to the main structures.
This finish lends the design a crisp edge that will last far longer than a coated alternative. The soft grey of weathered zinc takes its part in the palette of materials used on the facades with open mesh decking and balustrades on the bridges emphasising their visual lightness.
The double-height glazed screens, access walkways, staircases and bridges are all constructed of galvanized steel.
Over-coating would have diminished the visual appeal of fine joints and paint finishes are susceptible to tool damage during installation with subsequent patching inevitably being imperfect. The use of galvanizing allowed all the metalwork elements to be fitted without any remedial work.
By galvanizing all the elements, problems of crevice corrosion, particularly at the joints between timber handrails and metal framing, are precluded.
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