Young firm showcase inventive rooftop structure as part of London Festival of Design
Skyroom, an imaginative new rooftop venue and the latest addition to London's skyline was revealed yesterday. Designed by David Kohn Architects, winner of the UK Young Architect of the Year Award 2009, it opens with a host of events to coincide with the London Design Festival.
Offering a mix of covered and open space, Skyroom sits on the rooftop of Magdalen House, a 5-storey office building within the London Borough of Southwark. It has been designed to provide an unexpected outdoor event venue for The Architecture Foundation who occupy the ground floor level, as well as a social space for other tenants of the building including the think tank Demos.
With a bespoke structure constructed of steel with copper mesh facades and larch flooring, Skyroom is topped with six Ethylene
Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) cushions. It features a central courtyard open to the sky, framing the rising form of The Shard being built high above London Bridge Station. A balcony cantilevered over Tooley Street offers breathtaking views through the More London development to the Thames and the Tower of London beyond.
The structure and materials used throughout the scheme have been chosen for their lightness and varieties of transparency: the white steel structure is like a drawing in space, marking out the territory of the rooftop and framing key views of the site and sky. The stainless steel and copper mesh panels create moiré patterns that lightly obscure their surroundings. ETFE, a material originally designed by NASA to create enclosures on the moon, is used here in sizes ranging from 2 sq m to 8m x 3m. Stippled with sun-blocking silver dots, this continues the fabric-like quality of the enclosure across the roof.
As the roof was not able to support any additional load of either materials or people, the creation of a new structure above it was crucial. In order to transfer load into the existing steel columns, a new steel deck was created, passing through the roof to
connect to the heads of the columns below. Newly built large steel sections enable the transfer of load through the steel deck into the existing structure.