Facing the Future

We start the year with a look to the future.  
USE Architects breathe new life into Hackney  with the help of rain-screen cladding made from DuPont™ Corian®  In one of the earliest major applications in the UK for DuPont™ Corian® high tech surface as a structural façade, architectural practice USE has created a distinctive new residential building in an area of London experiencing significant regeneration.
Standing proud and pristine, in contemporary juxtaposition to the Victorian railway arches of London Fields, Mentmore Terrace makes an impressive addition to the local landscape – and has delighted its neighbours, according to the architect, by gently reflecting the light with its smooth, pale and elegant finish. Formed entirely from DuPont™ Corian®, which is fast becoming a favoured façade material for discerning developers, this high-performance weather screen promises to maintain its subtle and sophisticated beauty for the long term. Architect Jo Hagan, who has been keenly involved for many years in the regeneration of local neighbourhoods such as his own community of Hackney, describes the concept behind the project: “There is certainly an element of homage to the Bauhaus in the overall design, and the façade and its relationship to the windows and balconies is the only element of decoration.  The concept is inspired by the book Fahrenheit 451 by Raymond Bradbury and so we have used a 4.5.1. ratio for the various panels.”  
Jo says that he has thought about using DuPont™ Corian® for exterior cladding for quite some time, as he has the material in his own kitchen and has long admired its performance and aesthetic qualities. However, it wasn’t until the opportunities presented by this project that the notion became a reality – partly because Jo co-owns the building (his practice has moved from an older building next door to new premises on the ground floor) and thus, by also being ‘the client’ he had considerably more freedom to innovate.    
“I’ve always wanted to cover a building in Corian®,” explains Jo, “But it needed a leap of imagination as it has not been used in this way, on a larger scale, in this country before. By working with the 4.5.1 ratio this allowed for a certain economy while visually breaking up the mass of what is otherwise a very simple structure. The design is both an abstract aesthetic and yet practical in that it offers more variety to the vertical elements and makes a stronger pattern with the shadow gaps, while also having the appearance of a solid mass from afar.” 

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