The site demanded a building with public faces on all sides, and had significant contextual constraints. The curved form of The Fold has helped to lessen the impact of the tall building and provides a softer play of light and shadows than its square neighbour. The curved façade has been broken down into bands that step and split the building horizontally while keeping a single and continuous identity when viewed from any direction.
The lowerband relates in height to the adjacent buildings, taking the three storey datum of this 1930s suburb, and stepping this up with a further two bands as the site turns towards the station. Although the building is split into separate bands, a single material is used to provide a continuity of language. Each band takes the same metal cladding material panel and applies it in a different colours and fixing patterns to provide a varied texture to each.
The building takes advantage of its height by providing communal rooftop amenity for all its residents. This moves away from the traditional balcony approach, which was not felt to be desirable due to the closeness of the railway and High Street..
The scheme was designed to tender stage by Studio Egret West with KDS Associates employed as completion architects by the contractor.
The building involved a complex curved structure that continually shifts and rotates as it rises, clad in various Brass systems. The facade was finished in two distinct brass weathered finishes. A Golden copper alloy was specified to maintain the un-weathered appearance and used in the distinctive banding which separates the three main volumes. Specifying a brown alloy, which will naturally oxidise over time to a darker brown and a more natural patinated finish, highlighted the cladding between the bands.
In order to achieve the curved appearance two layers of WBP plywood were used in a staggered arrangement to form the curves fixed back to a rain screen cladding. This allowed a zone for the rigid insulation and a drained cavity to continuously be maintained. The plywood was dressed in a vapour barrier (Tyvek) to which the various brass metal cladding elements were mechanically fixed.
The windows and doors were specified in a grey PPC aluminium finish and were designed in 600mm modular sections which allowed for a faceted arrangement to the tightly curved areas of the facade.