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RETHINKING THE BAY WINDOW

LONDON AFFORDABLE CLT HOUSING

 
 

London, England

Spring 2021

Partner Vicky Chen

Instructor Christopher Lee

Architecture Elective Studio

Bay window has been widely present in the British architecture landscape since the 17th century. In this project, particular emphasis was placed on developing a nuanced architectural language of bay windows. Through investigating the space-ness of the bay window, we have transformed the bay window as various mid-door spaces to create inter-relationships between rooms and provide adaptive comfort.

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Traditional bay window (one thermal zone)

 
 
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Invented bay window 

Invented bay window (changeable thermal zone shared between rooms)

 
 

Traditionally, a bay window is a window space projecting outward from the principal facade of a building and forming a bay in a room. They can be seen as an extent of indoor space into the exterior. This in-between quality brings us the opportunity to create various mid-door spaces.

 

Building from the basic grammar of bay windows, we then invented two types of bay windows with the essence of mid-door space.

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Middoor bay window

The definition of traditional bay windows is the extensions of interior rooms which are considered as a part of the interior space. In our redesign of the bay window, it can be shared between rooms and split in the middle to create different thermal zones. On one side, it is designed into a mid-door working or dining space and on the other side, it is an outdoor balcony.

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By using the sliding panels, the mid-door spaces can be flexibly connected to the exterior, or interior based on the residents’ demands.

Because the bay windows are extruded out of the principal façade, these spaces always have the best view of the surroundings. The residents who work in this interim space can enjoy the panorama of the landscape and the fresh air coming from the outdoor balcony.

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Typical block

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Between the units, the traditional fire escape is always enclosed and without light or natural ventilation. By using the split floor design, the fire stairs are shortened. The landing spaces become the hallway and connect to the shared programs between the units. The residents can access this space through the hallway or the bay windows.

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Perspective section

The perspective section is showing two different situations. On the lower level, the shared space between the units is functioning as a dining space. The two families can hold a party together. By using the sliding door to enclose the bay window areas, the shared space and the two units become a single thermal area. On the upper level, the shared space is temporarily occupied by one of the units. The residents of it can have a short conference during the pandemic period. The shared space becomes a temporary conference room.

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Facade / Wall section

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These bay windows extrude out and shape the facade into a serrated form which is the prominent character of the project. On this north side façade, the building comprises two levels of commercial and working spaces on the bottom levels which by using a cast-in-place concrete structure which gives the project a feeling of stability at the bottom. The upper residential structure is using Cross Laminated Timber covered by aluminum panels and outdoor timber panels. The hexagonal bay window of the upper residential part transformed into simplified triangular bay areas on the bottom for the entrances of the buildings.

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Typical floor plan

 
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Ground floor plan

 

Combined Ground

To create a vibrant mixed-use ‘midtown’ that re-provides existing employment floorspace, there are creative workshops, retail, and community facilities provided on the ground level. Bays with different programs are intertwined with each other like how the bay window is situated between rooms. 

 

The same idea of the bay window is carried on to the landscape and they become implied outdoor rooms. Various softscape continues the languages of the bay from upper floors, inscribed on to the ground.

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Light industry working space

Looking out from the light industry working space, the bay window extruded out becomes the entrance and sitting area for business talking. These two bay window spaces encapsulate an outdoor bay landscape in between. This interaction and relation between the indoor and outdoor, sitting space and landscape create the ground floor landscape more coherent to the overall building language.

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Bay window, as a particular element, is reminiscent of British architecture, but rather than a simple duplicate in the new building, it needs a contemporary redefinition that can fulfill the new demands of residents. The transformation from one single space attached to the rooms in the traditional way, into a shared and multi-functional space between the rooms and between the units. They create flexible areas for the residents to create different thermal zones between indoor and outdoor. Bay window will become the most prominent element in the Hackney Wick area that continues the history and tradition.

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