Jack Williamson

The Shiprow Social Club is an exclusive space for members to gather, eat, drink, and enjoy each other’s company in. Because the club is subscription-based, the general public cannot just walk in and make use of the space. It is for this reason that it was not desirable for the building to be overly inviting externally as you approach. Rather, members can enter through a passageway, creating a sense of wonder, which opens up into a fresh and bright space for them to enjoy. This internal space contains unexpected elements and draws the eye upwards.

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The social club building retains the two existing structures on the Shiprow site – both the medieval stone wall, which the new structure is nestled behind, and the existing granite building. The new addition, built up of precast ashcrete panels, follows the form of the existing building by continuing the pitch and shape of the roof across the length of the site. The dormers of the existing building are mimicked across the new building with the introduction of light wells made from recycled copper which protrude out of the roof externally, and into the internal space below.

Although the club possesses an industrial style with the ashcrete envelope and exposed services, there are elements of warmth introduced throughout to offset the cold harshness that the materiality brings. This includes wooden elements, the copper light wells, and fresh greenery and a terracotta tile flooring in the courtyard area.

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Architectural visual