14 November 2018
Kenwood Lee House Featured in the Daily Telegraph
Our Kenwood Lee House project has been recognised for its use of concrete in the Daily Telegraph.
Why concrete is now the ultimate material to use in luxury homes
Words by Emily Brooks
Architects Cousins & Cousins recently finished work on a home in Highgate that typifies this approach. It’s built around two shear walls in cast concrete – structurally, it’s a scaled-down version of the concrete cores that soar into the sky when a new tower block goes up.
The concrete has been left exposed, and the walls form a dramatic, top-lit, triple-height atrium, with a cantilevered timber staircase, and glazing all the way along the rear of the house.
“There’s a tremendous sense of light, openness and volume, which is an interesting contradiction, since concrete is usually associated with brutalism, heavy structures and closed-in spaces,” says architect Ben Cousins. “It shows that it can also be used elegantly and sympathetically within this super-prime world, where it’s all about the luxuriousness of materials.”
The walls were cast on site, with horizontal wooden boards forming the mould. Pouring the concrete took a matter of hours, but the preparation was a much longer process. There were experiments on everything from its colour – to make sure it had some warmth to it, making it feel homely – to the texture of the timber moulds’ grain.
Cousins says that the way concrete takes on the shape and detail of its mould is both its best and worst quality, because any errors are there for all to see. On a high-end project, mistakes aren’t acceptable: “There’s an honesty to it, but it can be a friend or a foe,” adds Cousins.
“You get one shot at the formwork, and if you get it wrong then it’s a very expensive mistake. You literally have to start again.”
Read the full article here.