Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tony Fretton / Typology

Following up on a conversation with Daniel:

Some ideas on typology that have been of interest to me recently have been developed by an Amsterdam developer, Het Oosten, with the assistance of a few Architects including Tony Fretton. A bit of a warning, their ideas may look very conservative to you and/or your tutors, and much of the literature is in Dutch (Google translate may help).

A few links:

BDonline have published a nice article on Fretton's Constantijn Huygensstraat project

To summarize the potential application, one might think the following way:

Early twentieth century warehouse buildings provide a useful model for development based on typology rather than function. Whilst these buildings were designed to fulfil a specific brief of a warehouses (sometimes factories), they have proved very flexible. The high ceilings, efficient and regular structural grid, maximum depth plans, and loose fit construction have lent the buildings well to adaption. They have successfully been converted to Artist studios, apartments, offices, gallery spaces etc.

Using this type as an idea, is it possible to build this type of flexible building today. The high ceilings permit the easy insertion of plumbing, electrical and mechanical services. The structural grid establishes a pattern for subdivision of floors (related to the façade) and, designed correctly permits local slab penetrations for passenger and service lifts as required. The depth of plan allows an efficient layout with useful access to the façade for light, ventilation, and for engagement with the city. The loose fit construction provides the opportunity for tenants to freely adapt and tailor their tenancies. The building at the façade and street level respond to the city rather than to specific internal functions.

Local typological models for this type of development include the warehouses of Camperdown, Pyrmont and Surry Hills.

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