Normally, I wouldn’t want and building I frequently visit (or a house I live in) to be completely made of plywood. NORMALLY. As the title implies, plywood is typically a flimsy material — when NOT supported by other structural elements. Simon Astridge’s project in the Balham area of London has three extensions and involved the total internal refurbishment of a Victorian terraced house in London, and uses concrete, brickwork, natural stone, the aforementioned plywood, and the sky! Yeah, THE FREAKING SKY….through the use of expansive frameless glazing on the top floors. There’s a film called ‘Details One’ that explores these materials and how they relate to the home.
The house consists of 15 cm wide structural concrete walls cast into the foundations, with the ground floor roof made of exposed plywood structure. The plywood structure consists of three layers of 1.8 cm, 1.2 cm, and another 1.8 cm laminated plywood create the structure and act as a miniature timber glulam structure.
The brickwork was the material of choice for the floors and walls, showcased for its simplest form in the utility, WC and family bathroom areas for durability. But how about MORE PLYWOOD?!? All the walls, floors and ceilings in the upper sections of the building are finished with plywood sealed in a clear lacquer. The plywood staircase wraps BOTH AROUND AND ABOVE the existing Victorian staircase and hallway, which delineates the new modern parts from the home’s classical elements.