10 Hills Place
by Terri Peters
10 Hills Place was just another nondescript retail and office compound on the narrow offshoots of Oxford Street in Central London.
Wrapped in a sleek, sculptural, and amazing new skin, the complex new transformation by Amanda Levete Architects (ALA) has created a larger, more comfortable, and better-performing building, from the actual built fabric of that preexisting jumble.
The existing buildings on site presented a challenging mix of different uses, eras, and scales. The three-story brick building on Hills Place had been constructed in 1984, and an older brick building on the site, which has now been combined and also renovated, dates to 1951.
The adjoining 1920s neighbor on Oxford Street is six stories. The brief from the developer client, Clarendon Properties, was to create modern office spaces, adding three floors on top of the existing brick retail building, and to create a distinctive, high-performing new facade.
ALA built up the squat brick structure until it was level with the Oxford Street building, and covered it with a facade system borrowed from shipbuilding technology. The design uses 140-millimeter- (5.5-inch-) wide aluminum profiles, connected together onsite with a tongue-and-groove system to ensure watertightness efficiently. Increased insulation improves the thermal performance of the facade, and the use of self-cleaning glass reduces maintenance costs.
"It is not a rainscreen," says project architect Ho-Yin Ng of the radical facade. "It acts like the underside of a ship's hull."
Eyes on the Street
Inspired conceptually by the work of Argentinian painter and sculptor Lucio Fontana, the architects designed eye-shaped glazed openings — "rips" in the shiny facade — angled skyward to let in daylight despite the narrow street.
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Amanda Levete Architects (ALA) designed 10 Hills Place, a six-story mixed-use building in London, United Kingdom, that combines old and new construction within its high-performance aluminum facade.
Photo: Gidon Fuehrer
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The site of 10 Hills Place was originally occupied by two smaller buildings, which were largely preserved and incorporated into the new structure.
Photo: Courtesy Amanda Levete Architects (ALA)
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