A barrel vault form was chosen for its appropriateness, its low profile from the adjacent courtyard and its classification as roof, allowing lightweight steelwork, while still providing the required 4,500 sq ft of mostly open-plan space. The roof – 12 metres in diameter – consists of a series of five bicycle trusses each set onto a fire protected steel stalk which is an extension of the steel frame below. An ingenious solution structural grillage allows for supported loads and a hidden service zone to provide clutter-free work space.
The challenge of limiting solar gain on the west façade, having rotated the cladding protect the southerly aspect, was met by a fan shaped assembly of sails, which enhances the barrel shape and hints to the activities on the river. When closed the yellow sails add a dramatic splash of colour and excitement to the interior.
Richard Rogers Partnership was both client and collaborator, as their offices served as a home for Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands between 1992 and 2006.