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Mwiinga Muntanga 2932726 2nd year Architecture Je-UK Kim (Cultural Context 2)

 Building

:St. John Woods Apartments

 Location

:St Johns Woods, NW8 6DN, London






Environmental Strategy


Structural Strategies


External Envelope







INTRODUCTION Located within the City of Westminster in the North West London, the property is constructed right next to the St. Johns Woods Underground tube station on Jubilee Line. The property is conveniently easy to find and very close to within walking distances to public areas such as shops, restaurants and bars. The newly mixed built residential minimalist building is made up of exactly 10 single floor apartment units. They consist of eight rectangular studio apartments measuring 7.5 x 3.5m, of which five are on the first floor and three on the on the second floor. The other two apartments are one-bedroom units. One of the two one bedroom apartment is on the second floor while the other one bedroom apartment, sits on top of the on the third and final floor. Each of the eight equally sized studios apartments units all comprise of a uniform special arrangement, with one consisting of a bedroom/living room area, bathroom, kitchen and terrace. The other two single bedroom apartments each have a different special arrangement mainly due to the main access/entry into the apartments. Despite the difference, these two apartments both have the same space composition like the other eight studio apartments consisting of a bedroom/living room area, bathroom and kitchen. The only main difference is that they are bigger and have no terraces. These apartments are constructed on top of an existing concrete built storage structure on the site, which has been converted into a mix use public area and cabman shelter. The site measures 9 x 4 x 4.2m. The five studio units on the first floor sit directly on the top of the existing structure, while the other three studio units cantilever on the second floor on top of the five units at an angle. The single one bedroom apartment on the eastern side of the second also cantilevers and is supported by six concrete columns. Lastly, the tenth apartment on the third floor sits directly on top of the other one-bedroom apartment on the second floor. Meaning it is supported by the both its flat below and the six columns on the ground floor. The design of the entire structure is configured around the position of the windows of the existing Athena Court beginning on the second floor. Even with the new building, Athena court will continue to have access to the eastern light.

In order to achieve the less interference and obstruction, I purposely left a gap between on the second floor separating the three cantilever units from the one bedroom. A same uniform pattern arrangement continues to be applied all the way to the to the third floor apartment. For extra structural support, I have added steel reinforced beams that extend from the walls, hanging over the second floor in the gap. All of the beams form a pergola, which serves two purposes to my building. The first one being structural support and the second being aesthetic decoration.




The building itself is not constructed with a green building itself and does not technically qualify as one but it makes a strong argument for it. This is down to my decision in minimal material choice use in consideration to try to get as little in its carbon footprint as possible. Although the apartments are two different types of apartments forming the building, the overall formal structural composition of the house not only does it aesthetically looks uniform but it also aims to perform in the similar pattern. My main aim was to have my focus leaning towards energy use compared to other contemporary houses around the area.

All of the 10 apartments are naturally well ventilated as either through the fair amount of glazing windows and/or the open terraces. Eight out of the ten apartments have terraces but with only two windows in comparison to the two one-bedroom apartments, that each have no terraces but have more windows around. Therefore the entire building (apartments) could be considered to be a low level building due to its consumption amount of ventilation, heat and cooling. Each of the apartments gets natural eastern light mostly through terraces or large floor windows (for the two one-bedroom apartments). With the semi open floor pan of the eight studio apartments, the natural light easily permeates all the way throughout the apartment evenly. These energy elements are a result of to the simplicity of both the shape and structure of the building itself in context of its surrounding buildings.

a) Building Orientation

This is the building’s position, showing its orientation in context.


b) Sun Path N




d) Solar Gain


Behind (north elevation) the building the physical appearance takes change with openness overlooking a large residential courtyard. The lack of large buildings or structures like on the west elevation gives the backyard a very naturally free ventilation. This also gives the blind spot that is the main entrance to the studio apartments a fair chance at almost getting natural light at a certain time of the day, in addition to ventilation. During the limited times when the little sunlight is available, the many variously sized glazing ensure that the house has very strong thermal and acoustics performance elements due to the solid timber load bearing structure, which also plays a great deal in reducing the carbon footprint.

e) Ventilation

Canopy Cool air from west side of the building

Cool air from north side of the building entering through second floor building

Kitchen air extractor door Cool air from north side of the building entering through second floor building Ground floor plan showing ventilation circulation strategies

Cool air entering the building via the terrace on the first floor.

First floor plan showing ventilation circulation strategies


These windows are a source of light as the day progresses, therefore providing light to the staircase on the second floor

Second floor plan showing ventilation circulation strategies

Third floor plan showing ventilation circulation strategies



In order to build the St. John Woods apartments, no site excavation was necessary, as there was an already existing structure. This meant that all of the dwellings are going to be placed right on top of the existing structure or building and would be later incorporated into the programme of the new building. The durability of the existing building on the ground is supported by a substructure system that is strong enough to support both the entire dead and live loads of the new St. John Woods buildings. To achieve, the foundation was excavated to a depth of approximately about two metre. Given the fact that the new building is on top of an existing structure, most of the weight and load of the apartments superstructure is firmly and strongly supported from the reliably on its strength. The existing building is made of concrete and steel.


b) First Floor

Access to the newly built dwellings on the first floor begins from the street level on the lower ground floor via a staircase. The staircase then leads you to the first floor where the new buildings comprising of only the five out of the ten apartments and five out of the eight of the studio apartments. The five rectangular cubes (studio apartments) all uniformly sit on top of the existing structure on the ground floor directly. On this floor is also, where the uniform physical appearance of the new build starts to take shape, covering the facades and the rest of the building including all of the vertical and horizontal areas.

c) Second Floor

The second floor is made up of four apartments, three studio apartments on the west elevation and one sing bedroom apartment on the Far East elevation. Three studio apartments are separated from the single by a gap that features a staircase and gardens. It is critical to have this gap in place, as it maintains the current ray of light for the first floor windows of the current existing Athena court on the west elevation of the new studio apartments. Unlike the roof of the first floor, the roof is independent and does not act as the floor of another floor above. The overall singular structure that is made up of the three studio apartments sits at an angle and cantiviler in order to keep the formation of the air gap. In other words, the three studio apartments sit parallel to the one bedroom apartment across the floor.


d) Third Floor

The third floor is entirely consists of a single one bedroom apartment that is a physical structured replica of the one bedroom flat that’s on the second floor. Meaning that it directly sits on top of the second floor and its roof takes the same form as that of the three second floor studio apartments.

Primary Structures

Secondary Structures Vertical Steel beams columns Roof

Connecting Steel and concrete beams

Second floor timber balcony/terrace

First floor timber balcony/terrace


250mm 2 floor Concrete slab


Reinforced Columns

Walls 250mm 2nd floor Concrete slab


Glass door


Ground floor stairs

Horizontal Steel beams columns First floor stairs Columns

Secondary beams

Primary beams Slab span between Secondary beams

Concrete slab

Steel beam


7 The structural forming a pergola


Concrete slab



ENVELOP The building envelop is mostly made up concrete insulated walls, separating both interior areas that are artificially temperature controlled (conditioned) space from exterior naturally controlled. The building envelope of the St. John Woods apartments has been designed with to deal with the various to climate, ventilation, and energy consumption or conditions within the building. The building envelope provides three uses and functions. Support (Provide, resist and transfer mechanical loads equally throughout the building) Control (Maintain current movement of relevant and necessary energy) Finish (Make liveable human conditions)

They occupy more Roof than one part of the building, including the wall and the roof in uniform setting though providing differentGap left for services uses. Majority of the building is made up of timber frames and concrete that may appear simple by looks but the building achieves 100% functionality. Apart from being a visual Spector, i believe that Sir David Adjaye and team chose vertical black cedar cladding for more reasons than the aesthetics Insulation elements. The cladding also protects the building from major heat loss and offers a robust support for the cubed structure. Slab floor Steel beam frame

Timber studs

Timber studs

The cedar roof which also becomes another added floor of the house, is made of long lined thin timber structures in uniform with the rest of the buildings. The roof cedar cladding as a material also off ers more insulation to the building and is also an energy saver in addition to durability. This type of cladding is the best cost eff ective way to cost save as it lasts longer than other tradition roofing ng

Vertical boards Mineral board


Recessed lights


Recessed balcony

Breather membrane (Wind and waterproof)



As the St. John Woods apartments are a multi-storey building structure, I purposely arranged that the rooms that require services to be in a grid. The rooms mainly consist of the kitchen, and the bathroom (toilet and shower). This I believe makes it easier to fit service pipes throughout the building, resulting in a better performance. This strategy would also make it very easier should any need for maintenance.

Cool and natural light (sunshine during summer) access via third floor windows Cool and natural light (sunshine during summer) access via First floor terrace and window shower Bathroom window toilet

Living room window


Floor drain kitchen window Doors Main entrance/door Side Sewer leading to main sewer


Underfloor Heating design


MATERIALS When it came to building materials, I used a very selective wide range of choice due to both their visual and physical characteristics such as strength and look (appearance). The choice materials had to have more advantages than disadvantages in its reliability and durability as the new building itself sits on top of an existing building. The main or the most material used throughout the building Reinforced concrete, this is because of its many advantages of such high compressive strength and visibly dominant.

Reinforced Concrete a) Durability, Its one of the strongest materials with a high robustness to handle any future loads. b) Uniform maintenance and performance across floor slabs, which comes in handy given the lengthy of the apartment and floor space the building covers. c) Thermal Mass, it has great thermal and heat mass, meaning it can easily absorb heat temperatures, suitable in cold seasons as less money will be spent on continuous heating d) Fire, concrete is fire resistant and does not burn e) Carbon footprint, it is a more sustainable material than most.

Reinforced concrete

Double glazed windows

Timber balcony

f) Maintenance cost of reinforced concrete is very low. Reinforced concrete Column

g) Rigid, its tendency to be rigid is beneficial to considering the design elements of the building h) Tensile Stress, it contains steel, it has an extra advantage over normal concrete i) Deflection, Has little deflection j) Reinforced concrete tends to cost less

Glass (Windows and doors) a) It easily absorb, refracts or transmits light and heat. Which given the climate in the location, this is useful advantage to save energy loss and money. b) Its dust proof with its surface, meaning low maintenance as the floors are up high. c) Has a good aesthetic look that gives it a great visual look. d) Can be easily shaped and sized to best fit my various shapes around the building e) 100% recycle, helping the buildings become more green energy orientated f) It can save space when used internally. g) Does not rust, which is good for the building as its constantly raining daily.


Brazilian Ebony (Balcony/Terrace) a) Has a great visual aspect, which is partly why I chose it specifically for that stand out appearance. b) High resistant to rotting compared to other woods, making it a good choice for the balcony use. c) Durability and longevity. d) Easy to maintain e) Strong enough to withstand or carry any loads or forces like wind, rain f) Better value for money. g) Since its partly enclosed, the timber also has great acoustic advantages

Steel Beams (Beams) a) Strength in tension, which is useful to give structural support, holding all the apartments together. b) Low safety risks when used appropriately c) Easily available d) Stronger resistant to fire e) Durability, which is required when f) Lighter than wood but stronger to hold together the apartments together tightly. g) Cheaper than timber/wood h) It can be easily shaped and reshaped to fit the structural use

Reinforced Concrete cement (Columns) a) b) c) d) e)

It is affordable Great fire resistance Enhances further rigidness to the new building, which vastly need stability Lightweight but strong enough to hold nearly two thirds of a cantilever building. Very easily shaped to work as structural support for the new building.

Doors Columns

Steel beam

` Oak (Doors)

a) b) c) d) e)

It comes in many forms, making it easy have them custom made It looks good, giving value to the place. High resistant to rot and fade. Which will helps with unpredictable weather Little to no maintenance, making them easier Lightweight.

Balustrade Staircase


Stairs (concrete and steel) a) b) c) d) e) f) g)


Very strong, meaning it will last longer and tolerate any frequent use Uniform with the rest of the building, making it look and function like a unit Maybe either in-situ or pre-cast. Less equipment to install, therefore saving money Easy to make them custom width, height, Very little maintenance, therefore making it an easy choice Can be easily finished to any desired outlook



Ching, Francis D. K, Mark Mulville, and Francis D. K Ching. European Building Construction Illustrated. First ed. Print. Schulitz, Helmut C, Werner Sobek, and Karl J Habermann. Steel Construction Manual. First ed. Basel: BirkhaĚˆuser, 2012. Print. Griffiths, Alyn. "Balconies and Courtyards Puncture Japanese Apartment Building by Eureka and Maru Architecture". Dezeen. N.P., 2017. Web. 1 May 2017. "Retrofit Measure Viewer - Building Envelope". N.P., 2017. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.


St John Woods  
St John Woods