Title: Interiors

Pages: 72-73


Author: Editorial

Text: Interiors

Greenhouse studio

The Maximum Spree Studio by t recently for the Carter Design Group in Foxton, Leicestershire, is the latest exercise in greenhouse architecture by John Hix, a lecturer at Cambridge University School of Architecture. Hix used standard aluminium greenhouse sections, increasing the compression struts in the roof trusses to meet loading requirements. To improve insulation he inserted an internal skin of translucent, expanded polystyrene beneath the roof and replaced the glass on the south side of the structure with asbestos panels. This left a glazed roof (visible from the outside only) and three glazed walls (two gables and the north side) an opaque structure which bears little resemblance to a normal qrccnhouse, Not surprising, perhaps, since its purpose is to withstand rather than permit solar radiation.

MSS covers 3000sq ft in six bays. Laminated chipboard furniture, designed and built by the clients, splits up the floor area into comfortable working units for about 12 people. An upper storage level, reached by a rudimentary timber staircase, rests on silver-painted scaffolding poles.

Horticultural imagery seems to have pervaded the Carter Design Group, who clam that they have beanstalked into a 'grow ahead' company producing design and and promotional material for international accounts. They describe MSS as a "hothouse, though of ideas only: they claim that, even at the height of summer, it is cool and comfortable to work in. Heat gains in the structure are counteracted by louvres in one gable and a 760mm fan in the other, creating a through draught. Central heating is about to be put to the test It consists of an oil-fired system circulating hot air through transparent polythene ducts at the perimeter. The air is deflected by butterfly valves down pvc supports and blown out at ground level. The clients laid the precast concrete foundations and put up the structure themselves which partly accounts for its extremely low overall cost of 2.50 per sq ft. Greenhouse sections were supplied by the Cambridge Glasshouse Company.

Galleries down below

A geometrical, brick bunker with a "closed plan" aria mainly artificial lighting, the new Walker Art Centre. Minneapolis, is in line with current thinking on museum design. Edward Larrabee Barnes building could I hardly be described as a piece of minimal architecture, but at least it has been designed to display the works of art-not to overwhelm them. Finishes are respectfully neutral., exhibition spaces generous and uncomplicated. The $4.5 millions building replaces a neo Moorish structure of 1927 which had begun to settle dangerously on its swampy site, and was in any case proving inadequate for the needs of the burgeoning permanent collection and special exhibitions.

The core of the new building contains a lift and staircase, from which seven rectangular galleries radiate. These are interconnected by half-staircases and may be partitioned off into smaller display units where required. The topmost gallery leads onto three outdoor sculpture terraces, one of which adjoins a restaurant while another links up with the Guthrie Theatre building next door. Apart from the usual administrative offices needed to tackle a wide spread of activities only loosely connected with art the centre also contains a lecture room with seating on carpeted benches for about 50, and a 350 seat auditorium for films and events.



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