Hyde architects
Date
Title
09/12/2016
Heddfan House – Progress

Its been an incredibly productive few months on site in terms of construction progress at our Tŷ Heddfan House in West Wales.

We’ve been traveling to site regularly, observing progress and working with the main contractor and subcontractors, ensuring the home for our client is an absolute expression of craft and care.

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The structure is beginning to take on its own personality as it converses quietly with its incredible location, perched on an isolated granite outcrop above a private cove and wild sea.

The scenery on the way to West Wales is breathtaking. We always speak in ‘hushed tones’ when we finally glimpse the Irish Sea and descend into the small seaside village of Aberporth on the Celtic fringe.

Hopefully some of the images here portray a sense of that ‘Epic’!

We thought now would be a good time to share a few general site progress photos and include some shots of the evolution of a particularly simple idea: A floor to ceiling corner window that allows our clients to live with unparalleled views of a small bay that retains intense memories of childhood and summer days at the seaside.

The window is a portal, an expression of confidence, drawing in past experience of the world beyond, from a different time.

Like all simple ideas the execution and detail that is necessary to pull off the simplicity can seem immense.

The drawing, making and testing is almost always more complex and layered than the final component portrays. But that’s how success is measured, by the intense feeling of concentrated human effort the object exudes within itself.

This window that forms the opening to the bay is of course just one component among many that we hope will combine to create a cool, confident new dwelling.

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Critical appraisal of a 1:1 Oak window detail in the studio

Our studio culture revels in the detail. We see the concept of ‘home’ expressed as a series of interrelated and woven connections and human systems for life to play out.

So where does it all begin in terms of workflow:

Following the production of 1:5 scale detail drawings a 1:1 scale hardwood and steel window component is created to discuss and test the real world conditions and concerns of exposure and weathering.

Working with committed subcontractors we conduct research into species and coatings (if any), this process ensures that our buildings endure and age gracefully in time – no matter the location.

It pretty much comes down to research…

Due to the maritime climate and site specific exposure we developed a highly bespoke solution working closely with local craftsmen. Collaboration with these people help elevate our buildings beyond the mundane through transparent teamwork.

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Reviewing the bespoke window connection detail. The system allows the hardwood to be replaced over time due to the extreme exposure

The solution to the problem of brutal wind and UV exposure in the end was to provide an interchangeable hardwood cladding system to the primary window system substrate that could be replaced over time.

Oak timber elements invisibly connect to a bespoke welded stainless steel substrate frame, this provides the skeleton structure to the window. This creates a highly crafted hybrid window solution with an integrated operable vent system.

Wind driven rainwater is discharged over the timber surface into 10mm shadow gaps. The water then falls onto a hidden stainless steel tray, integrated within the frame and allows the water to flow out to atmosphere.

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Fabrication of the stainless steel element.

The timber petal cladding can be seen layered over the window substructure frame on the left hand side.

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The steel window carcass arrives on site.

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Mechanical lifting assisted with the positioning of the window.

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Installation, Looking out from the ‘snug’ onto the local beach below.

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