Timber special: Seven innovative uses of timber on construction projects

26 February 2020

CM looks at unusual, challenging or ground-breaking uses of timber, from private housing to giant commercial developments.

Forest Green gets green light for timber stadium

Image: Zaha Hadid Architects

Forest Green Rovers FC has been granted outline planning permission for its 5,000-capacity wooden stadium designed by Zaha Hadid. Revised plans for Eco Park were approved by Stroud District Council after the first application was rejected last June. The stadium will have an undulating bowl constructed from slats of timber and use sustainable energy sources.

Forest Green is committed to environmentalism, claiming to be the world’s first vegan football club and last year introducing bamboo shin pads for players to reduce its reliance on plastic.

New French public buildings must be 50% timber

Image: Jean-Paul Viguier Architecture

France has pledged that new public buildings must be constructed using a minimum 50% wood or other sustainable materials from 2022. Paris has already made a similar commitment and any buildings higher than eight storeys constructed for the 2024 Paris Olympics must be made entirely of timber.

The Hyperion towers in Bordeaux (pictured), 50m and 57m in height, will be France’s tallest timber towers when completed later this year.

Zero-carbon hemp house completed

Image: Practice Architecture

A zero-carbon house built from hemp and timber-framed cassettes has been constructed in Cambridgeshire. The prefabricated cassettes were filled with a mulch of hemp, lime, and water prior to installation. Once dried, the cassettes were lifted into place in just two days.

The ‘hempcrete’ mix provides high insulation, while the exterior is covered in corrugated panels made from the fibres of hemp stalks mixed with resin taken from agricultural waste. The ‘Flat House’ is owned by film director Steve Barron and was designed by Practice Architecture.

World’s largest timber facade on Google London HQ

Image: BIG Group/Heatherwick Studio

The £1bn Google HQ in King’s Cross, London, will feature the world’s largest wooden facade, with a total area of 23,300 sq m. Designed by BIG Group and Heatherwick Studio, the ‘groundscraper’ is being constructed by Lendlease.

Timber supplier Hess is working with facade specialist Josef Gartner, part of Permasteelisa, to test life-size mock-ups of  the facade, which will be built from glued-laminated and cross-laminated timber (CLT).

Ikea’s first UK housing schemes exchange contracts

Skanska and Ikea’s offsite homes joint venture, BoKlok UK, has exchanged contracts on its first three UK developments. Construction work on the Bristol, Peacehaven and Worthing schemes is due to start later this year, subject to planning permission, with completion due for 2021.

The BoKlok homes will be built primarily from wood and manufactured in Estonia. So far around 12,000 have been built in Sweden (pictured), Finland and Norway.

Six-storey Hackney office to be built using CLT

Image: F10 studios

Developer Southern Grove is to build a £33m, six-storey office block in Hackney, London using CLT. The 4,530 sq m scheme in Shoreditch will be designed by architect Waugh Thistleton, which was responsible for the nearby 6 Orsman Road block, also constructed with CLT.

Southern Grove says the new building at 16 Orsman Road will be four to five times lighter than a traditionally constructed building.

Welsh timber housing project beats Climate Challenge targets

A social housing project in Wales has beaten the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge targets – which includes reducing embodied carbon by at least 50-70% and operational energy by at least 75%, before offsetting – by 16%.

The 36-home ClwydAlyn development used Welsh-grown spruce for the structural frame and locally grown larch for the external cladding. All the joinery elements were made from wood and each home features wood fibre insulation.

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