August 25 2020
Behind the Project: Slane House
Recently we sat down with John Maguire, Senior Engineer, to discuss an interesting project he’s worked on.
Thank you so much for chatting with us, John. Tell us about this project.
This residential project involved the construction of two pavilion buildings – a gym and pool house – together with an outdoor swimming pool in the rear garden of a Georgian-style property in South West London. Both the gym and pool house are single-storey pavilions designed in reinforced concrete base, brick load-bearing walls, timber, and steel. The roof of the pool house projects out to form a canopy over an outdoor lounging area.
What a beautiful outdoor space. What was unique about this project?
Typical residential projects involve an element of cut and carve where the intent is to add to the existing building within a tight enclosed space, as is the norm in the London market.
But on this project the client wanted to make the most of their considerable rear garden space. Even though both pavilions are modest in stature above ground, from a structural viewpoint there was an ‘iceberg’ style to the design of these buildings.
To take account of the London Clay and the mature trees that were in close proximity to the new structure, the foundations had to be designed with reinforced concrete piles in the region of 9 metres long below the pavilion floor slabs and the pool.
What was your favourite part of the project?
The mix of materials was a challenge to work with. Designing the piles included analysis of their tension capacity to withstand the heave pressures on an empty pool. As well, the exposed timber that formed the roof of the gym required all the connections to be hidden, which was complicated by the timber flitch beams that were designed to keep all the roof members at the same height. Of course, we see these kinds of challenges as opportunities, and it’s one of the many things that makes engineering an interesting and creative process.
On this project, there was a lot of in-depth coordination with the architect, especially to achieve the profiles for the cantilevered canopies.
Any final thoughts?
As this was a challenging project, it was great to see the finished product, where architectural elegance was married with structural excellence. The project was even featured in Arch Daily.
Congratulations on the recognition for this beautiful project. Thanks so much for chatting with us, John.
If you’d like to learn more about this project reach out to John Maguire.