Inspired by the English Flag and a distinctly British sentence I overheard, “This is the gem of my collection!”, the Cling-Gem House initiated its existence. Since the project is to coincide with the 2012 London Olympics, I believe the design should consist of British Characteristics without being obvious in its aesthetic.
The British flag utilize a much triangulated geometry and to me it is a very structural looking design. With this and the idea that my design could hopefully be “The gem of the entire Olympics’ architecture collection” I created a triangulated cross bracing structure that is light weight and easy to construct and dismantle. The form is to maximize light reflection through its polygonal geometry. Since diamonds represent exclusivity and luxurious lifestyle I wanted my structure to exude this characteristic to the viewer but in contrast uses very economical and readily available materials. Lightweight is also a priority as the structure cannot exceed maximum live load capacity of the roof plate on Southbank center. After testing several “everyday” materials that had never been employed in architectural application I come to decide on the humble “Clingfilm” of everyday kitchen use.
The property of Clingfilm is incredible in that when the film is over wrapped on top of each other, they become very strong in tensile strength and resist extremely well to load bearing objects due to their elastic nature. During the process of wrapping Clingfilm, one can control the crises and adjust translucency through the introduction of more or less crising pattern. The film itself is completely waterproof, extremely light weight and easily replaceable should tear on its surface happens.
This started of what the Cling-Gem House will become physically. The structure itself is formed with aluminum alloy tubular trusses on its lower half, acting as a counterweight and compression stabilizer while the upper area uses plastic tubular truss to maintain its weight saving nature. Clingfilm are pre-wrapped onto prefabricated plastic framework panels and install onto cavities over the truss structure.
Synthetic turf will be laid onto the roof top of the Southbank center to create a more nature inspired theme while protecting the roof floor’s integrity before the structure is assembled. Polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) boxes (commonly found in storage units of seafood markets) of different heights are use as planters. Since the house will be on location for a year, different plants can be introduced as none of the planters are stationary and can easily be moved. Most of the furniture within the house is carved out of Styrofoam as they are very light weight, low in cost, waterproof and easy to maintain. The floor plate within the house as well as the septic tank/heating machinery compartment are made of composite wood to reduce cost and weight. Perforated panels on certain areas of the floor will dissipates heating.
The house itself is raised 2.8m above the roof plate of Southbank center to maximize further on its spectacular Thames river view and all the services of the house are hidden below. There are 4 main windows within the structure and apart for viewing surrounding scenery, their main function act as cooling channels for the whole dwelling. Since the structure is elongated in design, this will create the Venturi principle and increase air flow pressure. The roof window will allow hot air to rise faster and thus during the summer, no air conditioning is required for the house which effectively reduces its carbon footprint. The house itself is also quite high, reaching 4m in its tallest point which acts as further internal convection cooling. The Clingfilm wrapped panels are also “double glazed” as cavities between each film traps heat and maintains a warm temperature during the winter for its residence.
There is also an extruded outdoor balcony for the residence to maximize the Thames beauty. The access walkway ascending the structure are made of aluminum alloy tubular trusses, same as the lower level of the Cling-Gem House framework and these will be cladded with corrugated plastic translucent panels. These panels are again very light weight, structurally sturdy, easily available and low in cost while they provide great transparency. The house should, in my opinion, be entirely transparent in nature as to truly allow the visitor to understand the beauty of engineering and architecture. Low voltages LED (light emitting diode) lightings are use in the house and walkway and these can change color by the user to convey different moods for the residence. When view from afar the house itself will resemble a texture and color alternating precious stone (guided by the user and the time of day) which landed onto the roof of the Southbank building and becomes the Little Gem of the 2012 London Olympic Festival.