Richard Harpin

Richard Harpin

Richard Harpin

Interior Architecture and Structural Engineering working with existing buildings

Basic structural requirements

Mustn’t collapse. Strength, stability, robustness

Must be serviceable. Stiffness, durability

Must be buildable. Buildability

Load transfer mechanisms – Load paths

Each member in load path must have adequate capacity/capable of transferring

Loads – act externally to a structure, forces act within, equal to applied loads, opposite direction. Made up of members. Actions.

Tension: load/force that causes an element to shorten.

Compression: load/force causes element to shorten ??????

Shear: causes shear deformation.

Bending movement: causes element to bend.

Longitudinal tension/compression.

Vertical shear.

Potential loads acting on structure: tables, people, weight of floor, beams.

Gravity (vertical) loads.

Earth pressures.

Water pressures.

Wind load.

Seismic loads.

Blast loadings.

Thermal expansion/shrinkage

Detective work to establish/justify load paths:

Existing drawings/calculations

Non-intrusive surveys

Intrusive surveys

Material testing

Load tests

How did the original designer envisage loads would be transferred.

Can they be established vertically or laterally?

Do they have sufficient capacity?

If they don’t: remedial works

What changes are you planning? Where are new load paths needed. Will existing ones remain? Does it need temporary work so doesn’t fall when making new.

Remember foundations

Typical scenarios:

Openings in structural walls

Removal of load bearing walls/columns

Creating voids in floor slabs

Inserting new floor slabs

Façade retention


Reversibility and readability. Old castle and new built onto.

Openings in structural walls.

Beam/lintel required to support

Pressed steel lintels

Precast concrete lintels

Steel beams

Cast in situ reinforced concrete beams

Stiffness is often critical

Establish headroom requirements early on



Removal of load bearing walls/columns. Consider stability if removed.

Insertation of new floor slabs.

Façade retention: construct new building frame whilst maintaining the front only.

Existing foundations may need to be underpinned.


Caroline – Tangible of Interaction

Personal engagement with heritage

Branding e.g. MoMA design store

Experience e.g. Jubilee – a view

Wayfinding (paths around)

Spatial Narrative


Exhibition as a stage

Seenography. Form follows content

Atmosphere e.g. Artist Olafur Eliasson

Poetic of space. Sound, temperature, light of things, tension between interior and exterior