Realising a build to rent vision with Vandersanden

Latest News Thu, Aug 10, 2023 10:41 AM

Part of the Wembley Park masterplan, this mixed-use development designed by GRID Architects delivers 396 Build to Rent dwellings for Quintain Living, together with a large health centre and retail along two streets. The specification of Vandersanden’s Majestic and Luna Taranis bricks responds to the setting of the development and helps visually separate the buildings.

Repton Gardens is the next generation of Build to Rent developments at Wembley. The form is two long buildings on either side of a large amenity courtyard, with a smaller block between. The two main buildings are split into two, the southern half is 11 storeys high and the northern half steps up to 21 storeys. These brick-clad forms present a strong architectural statement within the huge regeneration of the area that is seen on arrival at Wembley Park station.

From the first drawing, the facade material for the development was conceived as being brickwork. The architecture is simple and elegant but there was the desire to visually separate the elements of the two stepped buildings. To achieve this it was decided to use contrasting bricks with a light, but warm brick for the taller elevations and a dark - but again warm - brick for the lower areas. With this in mind, Vandersanden’s Majestic brick, which is a light grey with a hint of buff, was selected for the upper part while the darker Luna Taranis brick was chosen for the lower. The colour and texture of these bricks also contrast with the greyer, smoother brick of the existing, neighbouring buildings.

“The brick choice was crucial,” explains Colin Veitch, director at GRID Architects. “We didn’t want the appearance of a normal mixed brick. The colour variation and texture that the Vandersanden product offers are an essential part of the richness of the overall design; they feel more natural and less engineered.”

GRID Architects had previously used Vandersanden products on Emerald Gardens, part of the same Wembley masterplan. “The bricks have a texture and almost handmade quality that you don’t get with many other brick types. When selecting the bricks for Repton Gardens we were looking at the colour first and foremost but, within that colour, the variation and the mix of slightly different colours within a batch. Another key consideration was the brick’s texture and the variation within that. We were very pleased with all these qualities and how they work together,” notes Veitch.

The bricks were laid with a stretcher bond using a mortar as close as possible to the brick colour. Although slightly recessed, the joints are as flush as practicable so it feels like a homogeneous material across the wall. On the courtyard facades of the buildings, panels of corbeling were introduced to provide patterning - where the building cores meet there were no windows. To achieve this, every other course stands out by 20mm, creating light and shade to the facade.

Appreciating the colour and texture of the buildings, both from afar and close up was an essential part of the vision. On arrival at Wembley Park station, the visitor looks towards Wembley stadium and sees the light coloured ends of these buildings at a distance and they appear to be smooth. Getting closer, the buildings reveal themselves differently as the texture, colour variations and tactility of the surfaces are perceived.

Another goal was to tie together the external and internal visions. ‘Botanical living’ was the concept for both the inside and outside of the development. There is greenery, planting and colour in the corridors; it is about bringing nature inside. With this in mind, it felt right to have a natural feeling material on the outside; rather than a smooth and engineered product.

Colin is enthusiastic about the resulting aesthetic. “The bricks have exceeded expectations and everybody is very pleased with the look of the project. Working with Vandersanden has been an incredibly positive experience!”

For more information on Majestic and the wide range of high-quality bricks available from Vandersanden visit their website.

In association with Vandersanden Brick

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Compass Point Business Park
St. Ives
PE27 5JL
United Kingdom
T: 01954 268075
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