Ken Jones, one of our Directors at AF Jones gives an outline of the key project points for our recent natural stone piano room project at Marlands, near Winchester.
This project is for a client with an interest in principles of mathematics as well as music. AF Jones were commissioned as the specialist contractor and advisor for the overall vision which was imagined and produced by Porter Robson Architects.
Structural use of Natural Stone
The key challenges here were to ensure that the stone scheme was slender, supported properly, and was integrated carefully with the steelwork framing. We also developed carving and engraving schemes on the fascia entablature to give an ornate and beautifully bespoke design, using carving techniques that met the budgetary constraints set by the client. We also advised on the stone selection, using two distinct continental limestones to meet the particular environmental exposure by location.
Firstly we configured the stone jointing and arrangements for overall elegance and efficiency; this meant making use of the stone fins as structurally active in the support of the entablature, thereby avoiding the need for large or eccentric steel bracketry. We also reduced the number of joints by using longer fins and so improving the uncluttered appearance. Secondly, we designed and detailed the bracketry for suitable structural function, including twist-restraint of the stone fins. We needed 37 different bracket types due to the geometry and install sequence constraints. The junctions were also detailed to allow for the water-proofing membranes, DPC, thermal isolation and structural function. Understanding interfaces and junctions is part and parcel of providing elegant and well detailed stonemasonry.
Providing a creative response
The artistically creative aspect of the project was in developing the styling for the frieze panels to the entablature which required very close consultation with the client. Having taken an initial brief from the client, I was able to develop concept sketches and then to further develop those into workable carved and etched frieze panels. The panels included grapevines as well as a classical Greek Key patterns. By using a mixture of CNC and sand-blasting technology, we were able to meet the aesthetic intent of the client, whilst also meeting the budgetary constraint too. Overall, this was a very satisfying
achievement; the resulting building has an extra level of personal bespoke artistry which elevates it to more than just ‘special’.
Natural Stone Selection
The slenderness of the fins demanded a strong limestone (stronger than most indigenous British limestones), whilst the coping and plinth levels required a frost-resistant stone that would blend well with the primary stone of the fins and entablature. Therefore, we specified and selected two particular continental limestones for the different zones: Moleanos (Beige) was used for the fins and entablature, whilst Vratz was used for the plinth and copings. They blended exceptionally well and will provide fantastic longevity and performance for the client and future owners of this property.
During the delivery phase we assisted with logistics, scaffolding and lifting requirements for the installation. To get the exact fit up, the process involved effectively dry-laying every single stone before drilling for the pins and brackets. The fins and joints were all rubbed in and dressed to a fantastic smooth and consistent finish.
Through a combination of multiple skills – design & advice, stone sourcing, manufacturing skills, and installation care – we are proud of this fantastic domestic extension of particular elegance, working in positive close collaboration with the architect and builder.
Do you have a project you want to make a reality? Let’s have a conversation about it: email@example.com tel: 01491 835032