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Window Design – Juergen Teller Photographic Studio

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Window Design for Award Winning Photographic Studio

Gowercroft were privileged to work with 6a Design on Jeurgen Teller's new Photography Studio in West London. The iconic project called for innovative window design and functionality, and the project went on to win prestigious RIBA Building of the Year Awards, with Gowercroft's woodwork being shortlisted for the BWF's prestigious Technical Award.

Innovative window design and industry awards

This iconic project, which spans a 60m x 8m plot serves as a new studio, office and archive for the celebrated photographer, comprising a series of three individual concrete buildings and courtyard gardens. Our works included the collaborative design, manufacture, and installation of lift and slide doors, casement windows, French doors, single doors, internal doors, cupboard doors, multiple storey internal screens, linings and a bespoke letter box. These were designed with ultra-slim sections, high energy efficiency and a semi-transparent finish to reflect the intricate, concrete style of the building.

The Minutiae of Window Design

Architects 6a had a very strong vision of what they wanted to achieve with the design of Juergen Teller’s new studio and archive repository. Many challenges were over come in achieving a design that

  • satisfied the aesthetic preferences of the client
  • guaranteed the maximum amount of light admitted to the building
  • Ensured functionality and ease of use for many years
  • conformed to joinery best practice
  • could be installed in a building with very narrow access

More Glass, less wood

In order to make the most of the light entering the studio the windows and doors needed as smaller frames as possible. We undertook a lengthy period of design and prototyping to develop a product that satisfied the varied and sometimes contradictory criteria. There were many passionate discussions along the way but eventually a window design was agreed upon that made all parties happy.

Key aspects of the design
  1. Large external products designed to maximise the amount of light. This included redesigning our standard lift and slide doors and reducing section sizes wherever possible on other products. We used very high specification Guardian triple glazed units to deliver energy efficiency, security and perhaps most importantly, the specific light hues required for photography. With the thin sections, large sashes and energy efficiency requirements, we suggested the use of Accoya throughout the external products. All products had to achieve a very stringent air tightness requirement.
  2. Casement windows and doors which were flush with their frames both internally and externally. The frames were then enhanced with intricate, plant-on sections of timber featuring bead moulds to give the products the required depth and lines. There were multiple areas on the project with combination frames, which further complicated the design.
  3. Product finish. Semi-transparent finishes were selected to exhibit the simplicity of the Accoya grain pattern and mirror the overall building finish; with a grey colouration externally and a white colouration internally. This meant that timber selection and preparation was particularly critical. Despite the reduction in UV-blockers compared to an opaque finish, we worked with our paint supplier, ISF Coatings Ltd., to issue a full coating guarantee.
  4. Internal and external shutter and external soffit detailing. This was designed to conceal a number of integrated product features including security blinds, smoke and ventilation automation, and internal blinds. All of these items were finished to match the internal or external finish as appropriate. This design simplified the overall appearance of the product without reducing the functionality.

One of the more unusual aspects of the design criteria was the narrow access afforded the building. We had to design the larger pieces in sections that would be assembled in situ as they simply wouldn’t fit in the narrow front door or up the staircases!

Industry Accolades for building and window design

The project has won the RIBA Building of the Year (National) Award for 2017 and the RIBA Building of the Year (London) Award for 2017, as well as our work on the project being shortlisted for the Technical Award at the British Woodworking Federation‘s 2016 BWF Awards. The project was also feature on the front cover of the Architects’ Journal and in articles in the Telegraph and the Guardian.

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