Project Type
Project Overview

This home doesn’t prescribe to any preconceived ideas of what a home should be, in fact it turns all those preconceived ideas on their head, and does it beautifully!

The combined form, shape and materiality of this project are unique. The decision to use a steel portal frame, and then go one step further and expose the steel frame in a luxury home was an unusual approach but one which delivers a striking and successful result. The steel, combined with all the other elements but specifically the beautiful natural oak timber within the home, deliver a statement piece of architecture but also a wonderful, warm family home.

The steel portal frame ‘skeleton’ rotated at 77 degrees delivers a powerful form externally and very interesting volumes internally whilst delivering effective solar control screening on the north side and permitting soft high level natural light in on the south side. The result is a very unique and interesting architectural form, which also enables very effective sun shading on one side and permits beautiful, soft natural light from the other side. This demonstrates how the creative application of the structural system can also result in very successful passive solar radiation solution and striking architectural gesture.

Project Details
Given the cross section of building materials and the complex unconventional geometry of the structural steel frame, the tolerances had to be very small to enable the successful execution of all the junctions to deliver a high-quality product and realise the architectural vision. The decision by Drew Architects to expose the steel frame also meant there was no-where to hide when it came to the steel detailing and the overall quality, finish and accuracy of the bolted junctions had to be perfect. The primary steel portal frame is made from 254x146mm steel I-beams with bolted connections. The section size mostly used were: UB254 x 146 x 31, RHS30 x 30 x 3 & RHS 100 x 50 x 3.5. Fabrication was processed through Viva’s world-class fabrication facility, making use of the newly installed FICEP Vanguard automated cutting and drilling CNC machine. All of our manufacturing operations are controlled by STRUMiS tracking software that helps us to maintain stringent management of all of our steel fabrication processes. Our barcoding and scanning gives our clients complete visibility and full transparency of projects from start to finish, in real-time.
On site measurements of walls and slabs revealed differences from the structural drawings which required adjustments to be made to the steel during detailing, workshop fabrication and on site erection to accommodate these differences found on site . A steel sheeted roof was envisaged from the outset, but a steel frame was not. When Drew Architects embarked on their concept design process, their vision was for a steel portal frame structure to define the primary shape and form of the architectural response. This primary steel portal frame is then complimented by two secondary steel systems, one to carry the steel sheeting and one to carry the aluminium slats.
Benefits of Steel in this Application

Steel was primarily chosen for its low maintenance properties, but also for its ability to deliver a crisp, powerful & sculptural architectural statement.


“I was aware of Viva Engineering, I know the owner is both detail and quality orientated, so wanted to give them an opportunity. All Viva staff we met were friendly, quick to respond, positive and solution-orientated. After explaining the nature of our architectural project, the Viva team fabricated the entire steel frame in a matter of weeks. We were very impressed with how quickly they were able to deliver. The steel arrived on site on time and on inspection was fabricated to a very high standard. After a few initial teething issues on site, erection found its rhythm and came together beautifully – we are very happy. I would use Viva again and highly recommend Viva Engineering.” - Andrew Payne - Managing Director - Drew Architects