Curves in all the right places
An architect couple’s daring Sun Rain Room in north London scooped this year’s top Don’t Move, Improve! award. By Philippa Stockley
TO CALCULATE the curvature for a super-slim plywood roof on their two- storey extension, Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu stood on ladders and suspended a roll of paper between them. Their experiment back in 2005 demonstrated the natural line, showed where the roof should start and how low it would drop. It was one of many tests the architect couple carried out to ensure the performance and beauty of their curling, swirling, water- and sun-filled extra space, with its curved glass walls.
No wonder the project, called Sun Rain Room, was declared this year’s overall winner of New London Architecture’s prestigious Don’t Move, Improve! awards. The Royal Institute of British Architects has already crowned it the UK’s best listed building extension. Set on the back of a five-storey Georgian townhouse in Finsbury, the whole amazing thing sits atop a new extension to the existing basement, creating a two-bedroom self-contained flat. Performance and beauty do indeed go hand in hand here.
“We worked with three of the world’s best engineers,” says Tonkin. “And to test that the roof would support three tons, we hung water- filled plastic bags from hooks, set a laser to see if anyt moved, and left it a few days.” explains: “A litre of water weighs exa one kilo.” They designed the dou glazed walls around an ovoid court that fills with rainwater at the touch button, making a shimmering, inch-d pool reflecting house and sky. The cou
Winners: Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu in their curvaceous creation with their dog, Be