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27th Jun 2018

Contemporary Curves meet 18C Stone - doing things differently in design and build

When architect, Brain Tracey designed a glass room, for his own home, he was not afraid to challenge the norms.

A partner at Leslie Jones Architecture, Brian is no stranger to designing with a difference. His award-winning commercial works, as well as postgraduate qualifications in project management and construction, must have made the design, planning and execution of this striking structure a walk in the park.

The glass room was intended to be almost invisible”, says Brian, “the whole design was about pure form and shape. The aim was to create a pavilion which could sit into the landscape and the inspiration came, in part, from Richard Roger’s Wood Street stair cores (pictured below). The exposed red post is a nod to Roger’s works – the Lloyds building and of course the Pompidou Centre, where structural elements are on show and highlighted in bold primary colours.


When asked why he chose the Barr Group for the build, Brian continues (tongue in cheek), “no one else was willing to take on the challenge!. I met Stuart early on in the planning process and it was clear that the organisation was best-placed to take on the job. As every single element of this project was self-designed - I needed someone who could buy into my vision.”

"The design was certainly unusual from a planning perspective" says Brian “but the final design went through without question. The guidelines ask for a pitched roof when attaching to this type of listed property and although the flat roof with curved glass design contradicted this - the structure did not undermine the significance of the cottage in either stature or location.  I was in touch with Cantifix (structural glazing specialists) from the very beginning – so I knew that the design concept would be structurally possible to implement.”


Getting the glass in place was always going to be a Herculean task,” says Chris Noonan, StuartBarr CDR Construction Director. “It had to be craned over the house and onto the curved steel frame, so the operation needed to be millimetre perfect.”

The most important consideration for this project was the detailing” says Charlie Sharman of Cantifix. “The junctions between the curved glass panels and steel supports for the roof, as well as between the glass link and the existing rendered brickwork needed particular consideration – thankfully our expert designers love a challenge!


The roof is suspended from and supported by steel rods, rather an unusual support mechanism, necessitated by the unusual configuration of the structure. A fritted pattern was applied to the roof to obscure the fixings. Thin structural silicone joints reduce the need for a visible framework, allowing almost zero sightlines.

The sleek modern curved glass panels, whilst taking almost nothing from the original building, form a structure which is somewhere between space station cool and almost completely invisible.

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