Kaolin Court, London
Brick Bulletin occassionally strays into clay tile territory, particularly if the project shows significant architectural merit. This project does! Designed by Stolon Studio in association with Baca Architects, Kaolin Court is a £2.8m residential development located on a former light industrial site in London. Planned around a generous shared courtyard, the scheme comprises three apartments, two live/work duplexes, and four houses. The street-facing block is bisected by a pedestrian route, which provides access to the dwellings at the rear and helps to floods the courtyard with morning light.
The sculptural tile-clad buildings are intended to reduce the overall massing of the development, while also ensuring high levels of sunlight in the courtyard. The latter is further articulated by planting and water pools, which soften the appearance of the dwellings and bathe the facades in dappled light.
Central to the scheme is a 15-degree geometry that is used in both plan and section to maximise daylight penetration and maintain the aspect for neighbouring houses. The angle also meets the minimum pitch for the clay tiles used to roof the dwellings. The tiles made by Wienerberger's Sandtoft division, incorporate an interlocking profile, similar to that found on concrete products, explains the architect. This enabled them to be used on vertical surfaces to create a homogenous aesthetic. The tiles’ earthy red colour has a slightly aged look with some tonal variation to add visual interest.
Large format, sculptural ceramic and porcelain tiles are used throughout the interior spaces. The importance placed on tiles, both inside and out, informed the project name: ‘Kaolin’, also known as China clay. Whilst not specifically used in the external tiles, it is a constituent of many of the other tiles, says the architect.