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Europe 40 Under 40 Awards ARCHIVE 2016 40under40
The Tetris Project - Adam Tarr - United Kingdom
  • The Tetris Project - Adam Tarr - United Kingdom
  • The Tetris Project - Adam Tarr - United Kingdom
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The Tetris Project - Adam Tarr - United Kingdom

Adam Tarr - United Kingdom

Adam Tarr
Adam Tarr, Founder and Principal of Mzo Tarr Architects, London UK has developed a reputation for designing buildings based upon the principles of Game Theory. Adam studied at the Architectural Association, London, where he received the Eileen Gray Scholarship Award & Alexander Memorial Award. Adam is an award-winning RIBA Architect (Royal Institute of British Architects) and continues to practice, teach, lecture and write internationally on the potential of Game Theory within architecture.

Project Description

For this project, we focused upon the GAME THEORY goal of ‘putting yourself in the shoes of others’. This seems obvious but by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and looking at their payoffs you can begin to see what their likely course of action will be, and you can then decide your own best action in response.

Our clients, a husband and wife, having outgrown their bungalow in Chiswick, approached us to design a new house to replace it. We were the fourth architects the owners had employed, with the previous three having failed to come up with a workable scheme, which neither the council, clients nor neighbours saw as being appropriate. As the bungalow sat in the Chiswick conservation area at the intersection of four different architectural styles, we had to carefully navigate the criteria and priorities of each party. We achieved this by asking all the parties to list priorities for the project, such as cost, wow factor, sunlight, impact, environmental, time, and then to rank each item’s importance out of a score of 10 (payoffs), with the same number never to be used twice. These formed our unique quantitative brief and ‘Utility’ graphs, uncovering opportunities, surprises and relationships between the 3 principle parties. This was followed by extensive site analysis and discussion with our client to consider issues such as pedestrian circulation, surrounding buildings and views.

The final design evolved into an environmentally conscious four storey, five-bedroom timber clad family home. This was conceived as a series of stacked programmatic rooms, enabling sunlight to follow the family’s occupation of the house’s rooms throughout the day. The design adopted proportional elements from the surrounding housing stock in order to blend in. We also used modern environmental materials coupled with active and passive technologies.   The volumetric arrangement provides privacy, whilst a series of cantilevers create a dialogue with the roads, drawing your attention round the corner for an impressive reveal.  The clients were delighted with this and it also satisfied both planners and neighbours.

Active environmental systems such as geothermal boreholes provide the heating for the property whilst a 4,800 litre storage tank recycles rainwater for use in the garden and for the flushing of toilets. The principle structure is composed of pre-fabricated timber Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) clad with sustainably sourced Western Red Cedar timber and silicone render. A white ash timber staircase and handrail rises above the reflection pool. The varying western red cedar cladding colours and widths provide points of interest along the heavy, but thermally efficient north wall. The argon filled glazing retains heat whilst removing visual massing by introducing an animated screen of glass.

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