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Architecture: How to design in the art deco style - Senior Architectural Systems
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Architecture: How to design in the art deco style
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Architecture: How to design in the art deco style

A hundred years on and Art Deco architecture is making a comeback. But building regulations, materials and technology have changed over the last century, so here are our top tips for designing buildings in the art deco style that are fit for modern day living.

The bold, streamlined, geometric designs of Art Deco originated in France in the 1920s-1930s and gave rise to some of the world’s most iconic architecture. From the Chrysler building in New York, to the Hoover Building in Ealing they certainly make an impact.

Left: The Chrysler Building New York, Photo by Alex Proimos, Creative Commons
Right: The Hoover Building, Ealing, Photo by Nick Garrod, Creative Commons

Now Art Deco is back. From fashion to home décor bold, elegant, colourful designs, which exude luxury, glamour and faith in the future are staging a revival. And architecture is getting in on the act too. But a lot has changed in the last 100 years. New building materials have been developed, design technology has advanced and building regulations have become stricter in the pursuit of a sustainable environment.

At Senior we have been involved in several recent Art Deco style building projects. Here are our 5 top tips for designing buildings in the Art Deco Style that are fit for the 21st Century.

  • 1. Think about the acoustics

    Many hotels around the world, like the Waldorf Astoria in New York, the Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai and Claridge’s in London, were built in the Art Deco style in the early 1900s. Back then cars were still a luxury, in fact, in 1910 there were only 100,000 cars on Britain’s roads. Today there are 32 million cars in Great Britain, not to mention almost 5 million lorries and trucks. So, noise pollution is a much bigger problem and acoustics need to be a higher consideration.

    Take the former Co-Op department store in the centre of Newcastle, which was recently refurbished to create a new Premier Inn hotel. When choosing the fenestration for this Grade II Art Deco hotel, NORR architects needed a system that would reduce outside traffic noise to fulfil Premier Inn’s marketing claim of “A Good Night’s Sleep Guaranteed”.

    They chose Senior’s patented PURe© aluminium windows. The innovative construction of the PURe© window features an enhanced thermal barrier manufactured from expanded polyurethane foam (PUR). Together with triple glazing this helps to keep the noise out and the heat in, providing a comfortable environment for guests.

  • 2. Think about energy efficiency

    With climate change high on the agenda, designing energy efficient buildings has never been more important. It’s reflected in the latest building regulations with even more stringent criteria expected soon.

    When Talbot Property Partners together with Beyond The Box set about turning the site of a run-down pub and fish & chip restaurant in Southend-on-sea into an art deco style apartment block, they had more than just creating a wow factor in mind.

    The £125 Million Clifftown Shore, landmark block of apartments, which is currently under construction, will boast a stunning restaurant and cocktail bar plus 51 high quality apartments with large terraces from which to enjoy the fantastic sea views. The sweeping curves of the façade are brought to life with large expanses of glazing to flood the interior with light and make the most of the views. So, it will certainly have the wow factor.

    But with so much glass, it was essential to choose a fenestration package that is extremely thermally efficient to keep heating bills down and provide a comfortable living environment.

    Senior’s high performance SF52 system was chosen to form the curved curtain walling, whilst triple glazed PURe© windows, and PURe© Slide doors have been installed in the apartments for maximum temperature and acoustic control. For the entrance, PURe© Commercial Doors (our largest and strongest doors to date) add to the thermal performance of the building whist ensuring durability and security.

    Image courtesy of Talbot Property Partners

  • 3. Think about weatherproofing

    Fenestration systems have come a long way since the 1920s. In particular weatherproofing has improved and is now something that we tend to take for granted. But not all fenestration systems are the same.

    Berry Court, is a £27 Million Art Deco style residential development in the heart of Bournemouth, with clean horizontal banding and sweeping curves. Designers at Bright Space Architects were determined to find a fenestration solution that could cope with the seaside weather.

    They chose Senior’s SPW600e thermally efficient windows and PURe© SLIDE patio doors for the 113 apartments. Fully tested to BS6375-1, BS6375-2 and BS6375-3 Annex A, and with a 25-year guarantee for the paintwork, they provide an extremely durable, sustainable, secure and weatherproof option.

  • 4. Think about security

    Despite the increase in national prosperity, peace and security that the 20th Century brought, the crime rate increased dramatically. In fact, burglaries increased from just 3,800 in 1900 to 1.1 Million in 2000, so security has to be addressed when designing in the 21st century.

    Lister Gardens is a 5-storey apartment building with an art deco feel. Located in Sefton, Merseyside, an area with a higher-than-average crime rate, security was an important issue for designers at John McCall Architects. And a vital factor in selling the apartments.

    Senior’s Ali VU aluminium windows were installed throughout the building to replicate the aesthetics of traditional steel windows found in original art deco buildings and provide excellent thermal efficiency.

    But more than that they are certified as “Secured by Design”. This means they adhere to rigorous test standards required by the police and have been awarded ‘Police Preferred Specification’ status. Giving peace of mind to potential home owners.

  • 5. Think about the WOW factor

    First impressions count. So, a wow factor is important. Whether it’s a sweeping curved curtain wall, uninterrupted views through sliding patio doors, or an impressive entrance with some of the largest commercial doors on the market, Senior can help.

Our team of architectural advisors are ready and waiting to assist you with your latest project. From windload calculations, to faceting, as well as budgetary and design guidance, they can advise you on the best fenestration solutions to help you achieve your vision. Just contact your local architectural advisor today


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