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RIBA Portland Pl. 66 Konstantin Zlatarov Building Case Study

BUIL-1166-M01-2013-14 Introduction to Building Environments and Construction

Konstantin Zlatarov 1ST YEAR UNDERGRADUATE ARCHITECTURE AT GREENWICH UNIVERSITY


00 Introduction Wednesday 9th October I managed to visit the RIBA building, 66 Portland Place. The weather was perfect for some city exploration so I was really glad I had something to visit. The only thing which is kind of annoying is that I must travel 1 hour to get to the centre. A bus from Avery Hill Road to Eltham Station, a train from Eltham to Charring Cross, and then I get on the Bakerloo Line to Regents Park. Great…. I reached my destination at 12 05. The weather was still fine. It’s very easy to get from the Underground Station to the RIBA, it’s only a five minute walk away. Quite convenient if you compare it to the journey from Eltham to Charring X. The first impression I had when seeing the building is that it had something Egyptian in it. I don’t know why. I suppose it is for the clean stone facade and the tall columns at the entrance. RIBA. Look from Portland Place.


RIBA. Look from Weymouth St.


So here’s some general info about the structure. The building was completed in 1934 and it was opened by King George V and Queen Mary. The architect is George Grey Wornum (1888-1957). So here’s some general The artists who did info the about worksthe on the exterior and the interior were Edward Bainridge Copnall and James Woodford. While Edward did the Architectural Aspiration bas-relief on the facade, some other work on the exterior and interior, James Woodford is the person who designed the decorated bronze doors. They each weigh one-and-a-half tons. Also he did the deep relief designs showing different London building besides the Thames; he made the figures on the exterior columns, interior ceiling plaster reliefs depicting different times of English architecture and various building trades and crafts. The stone-window pieces are also his work.


I loved the variety of materials. Black marble columns, various kinds of wood used for the floor, etched glass. This gave the building a warm, yet royal and magnificent look. Still it looks slightly grey (at least in the pictures it was colourful). The thing I really liked were the ornamentations. They were everywhere (I’m in love with details so I fall for such things). Even the air vents in the Big Hall on the second floor were different design. On the third floor is the library. It is regarded as the largest and most comprehensive resource in the United Kingdom for research and information on all aspects of architecture. It is regarded as the national collection on architecture in the UK. The entrance is public and non-members have free access to the library. from the Foyer. Two of the View from the garden View just outside

marble Florence hall. Surrounded by columns can be observed. buildings under construction.

View from the 2nd floor toward the staircase to the Foyer.

01 Air The building is being ventilated mainly passively. However, the spaces lacking windows are ventilated mechanically ventilated. The windows have the pivot mechanism. Due to the design they are effective during all seasons.

View from Florence Hall. Normal configuration. View from the the Jarvis Hall, Ground Floor. A minute before the start of a presentation.


Highlighted spots of air movement. A staircase window and a window from Gallery One. The pivot windows are the main type that is met in the building.


Air circulation drawing of the Foyer

Air circulation drawing of the Library. The heaters are located in the metal panels at the end of the book racks.

Air circulation drawing of the Florence hall. Air vents between windows.

Air circulation drawing of the 2nd Floor. No apparent heaters. The hot air from the Foyer lifts up.


02 Light The position of the building towards the sun is technically good but being surrounded with other structures it’s being overshadowed until 12a.m. After that the sun lights the façade opened to Portland Pl. The lighting in the halls overwatching the street is being mainly natural. The big windows give enough light thus eliminating the need for artificial one (at least during the day). The halls used for presentations generally rely on artificial LED lighting. The Library located on the third floor has a generous position in aspect of sun light. Thanks to its position the use of artificial light is limited so reading and working in the Library is quite pleasant.


There are two types of floor lamps in the Foyer. These by the wall between the windows use LED thus they produce much more powerful strobe of light compared to the conventional energy saving light bulb. Although the big mirror used in the lamps with light bulbs the light is still not strong enough.


Roof plan and ground plan of Foyer


Ground plan and roof plan of Gallery One


Roof plan of 2nd Floor and ground lighting plan


Roof plan of Library


Roof plan of Florence Hall


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Time Lapse at Gallery One

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Time Lapse at Florence Hall

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Time Lapse at Foyer

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Time Lapse at 2nd Floor

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03 Ground The materiality of the RIBA is the most emphasized point of the building. In 1934 the British Empire was an empire indeed. Its premises stretched throughout the whole world and this was implied in the architecture of the Portland Pl.66.

Time Lapse at Library


03 Ground The materiality of the RIBA is the most emphasized point of the building. In 1934 the British Empire was an empire indeed. Its premises stretched throughout the whole world and this was implied in the architecture of the Portland Pl.66. The RIBA façade is made with Portland Stone which is a limestone from the Tithonian stage of the Jurassic period quarried on the Isle of Portland, Dorset. It has been used extensively as a building stone throughout the British Isles, notably in major public buildings in London such as St Paul's Cathedral and Buckingham Palace. It is also exported to many countries—Portland stone is used in the United Nations headquarters building in New York City, for example. The six-storey building is steel framed and faced in Portland stone. The sculpted figures on the Portland lace front depict the spirit of man and woman as creative forces of architecture. The centre figure is by Bainbridge Copnall, the figures on the columns by James Woodford. Along the Weymouth Street elevation, above the third story window line, are five relief figures, by Bainbridge Copnall, depicting a painter, sculptor, architect (Sir Christopher Wren), engineer and a working man.

Doors to Gallery One. Of heavily moulded English walnut and figured Indian laurel wood, surrounded by an architrave of Australian walnut, ebonised mahogany and silver bronze strip

The central stairwell is the most striking aspect of the layout of Grey Wornum’s design. The main staircase is figured Demara marble and black Birdseye marble.

Rising above the stairwell are four massive columns, concrete clad steel stanchions, each cased with 16 sections of polished Ashburton marble with delicate red figuring.


04 Water The water is provided from two roof-located water tanks. This way of water provision is quite often met in buildings. Due to the efficient and simple technology the water tanks are still used nowadays. The lack of plumbing plans for the building can be explained by the fact that they are kept in the V&A Archives. Also these plans are quite old so they do not match with the pipework today because of the numerous of work done on the system.

Clean Water tank. Two of these are water pipe for the bathrooms located on theAnGround located on the tubes rooftoplocated of the in the Plumbing Service Room. Other smaller Floor. electrical switch for pump. building Room Service


A map showing the location of the Plumbing service room. The water tanks are located above that space but on the roof.


05 Energy RIBA is particularly good example of an up-todate building. Never mind the fact that the building is almost 80 years old the user has been taking care after it. This is a text from the official site. “Energy In 2000 the RIBA replaced our aging and inefficient boilers, saving 425 tonnes of CO2 annually. Following this, the Energy Audit carried out in 2006/7 found the RIBA’s CO2 production from energy use to be approximately 600 tonnes annually. The RIBA has subsequently helped our staff to reduce energy use, through simple actions such as switching off electronic equipment at the end HDMI and VGA outputs in the of the day and when not in use, and by Gallery Hall. These are located installing low energy technologies and lighting wherever possible, including motion sensors.

A map showing all the zones with fire alarms on Ground Floor

The control panel of the fire alarm system. Ground Floor.

Control panel of the CCTV system. Entrance-Reception.


In 2008 we have changed our electricity supplier for 66 Portland Place to a ‘greener’ provider, Green Energy plc. The even better news is that we have successfully negotiated a deal whereby 100% of our supply will come from renewable sources:

'via independent smaller scale commercial generators, and generated using small scale hydro, biomass in several forms, gasification of wood chip, used vegetable waste through anaerobic digestion, or animal waste through anaerobic digestion, some wind power and a tiny amount of solar.' “ HDMI and VGA outputs in the Gallery http://www.architecture.com/FindOutAbout/S Hall. These are located just by the windowustainabilityandclimatechange/ClimateChang looking to Portland Place.

e/LowCarbonRiba.aspx#.Uo85BcTkeMl

A lighting fixture in the Gallery Hall. Green

and red diodes.


06 Recycle The same responsible attitude can be seen towards recycling. Being one of the strongest architecture organizations in the world, RIBA cannot afford to be a step back from the newest trends in conservation of the environment. Another material about the recycling policy of Portland Pl. 66. “Low Carbon RIBA The RIBA is seeking to address our own environmental impact and reduce our carbon footprint. This work is ongoing; however we have made substantial steps in the right direction. We will continue to add information online and make case study material publicly available as we work towards creating a low carbon RIBA. Environmental audit of the RIBA The initial environmental audit of the institute focused on energy, procurement, transport and waste, and assessed our current environmental impact. The audit enabled us to identify the main activities that contribute towards our carbon footprint, and areas where we can make small changes that may have a big impact on our carbon dioxide emissions and our environmental impact. The purpose of this audit was: •

To review the use of resources within the RIBA headquarters and satellite offices, providing recommendations on how this usage can be reduced or eliminated.

To provide a document that can be used as a base point for action and for measurement and evaluation of progress through key performance indicators.

To set an example of ‘best practice’ and highlight opportunities for other organizations, architectural firms and RIBA staff to contribute to reducing the impact of climate change on the environment.

Following the final results of the audit, we are putting in place a strategy to reduce our emissions. This includes short and long term programme of activity, engaging with our staff and visitors, and reviewing our energy use and procurement.”


About the waste: "Waste The RIBA operates a procurement and use policy of Reduce Re-use Recycle. The waste per employee at our offices at 77 Portland Place was deemed by the Environmental Audit to be above good practice, and the waste production at our Headquarters at 66 Portland Place was well within the good practice benchmark. The RIBA has recycling bins within each office area and substantial quantities of recyclable materials are collected each year. However we believe we can do much better and we are exploring strategies to achieve this. To this end we have recently purchased a ‘cardboard bailer’ for our headquarters, and now recycle 100% of the considerable amount of cardboard produced by our business. This has enabled us to reduce our waste to landfill by 5 full paladins a week and relinquish a rented and inefficient compactor, saving us in the region of £4000 a year.” http://www.architecture.com/FindOutAbout/Sustainabilityandclimatechange/ClimateChange/LowCarbonRiba.aspx#.Uo85BcTkeMl

07 Synthesis and Conclusion The RIBA represents an example of implementation of new technologies and excellent recycle politics. Although being an old building, it is in top shape and up-to-date. Its fate as an HQ for the Royal Institute of British Architects is coming to an end soon. The building will no longer be a HQ for the RIBA but an architecture gallery, learning and debating space. The new HQ will be located at Portland Pl. 76. My view of the building is that it is still a magnificent and very important building. It represents prewar Britain and world which has changed dramatically. It is part of architectural history but also a living example of how age is not an excuse for being not up-to-date with the latest technologies. I personally would not change anything about the façade but would definitely would continue the policy of good energy management.


RIBA HQ, Portland Pl. 66