Timber Tour with Waugh Thistleton Architects

Monday 12 November 2018

© Agnese Sanvito

“Every year that we work with timber it becomes more culturally and politically relevant”.

As a leader in engineered timber and a pioneer in the field of tall timber buildings, who better than Andrew Waugh - Director of Waugh Thistleton Architects - to lead NLA Members on an NLA Study Tour through Hackney earlier this month. 

As a borough with a commitment to reducing carbon emissions, Hackney is home to several of the practice’s timber buildings, all of which are constructed using cross laminated timber (CLT).

Before leading the team on foot through Shoreditch and along the Regents Canal, Andrew explained why CLT is so advantageous: 

  • CLT is carbon neutral/negative
  • Benefits in construction
  • Resilient in fire
  • Innovative possibilities 

NLA Members visited these four of Waugh Thistleton Architects’ timber buildings during the tour:  

55 PITFIELD STREET
The design consists of two distinct elements, a solid concrete ground level to accommodate the three-screen cinema, and an acoustically insulated CLT upper residential element, with a stepped western elevation providing gardens and balconies. A lightweight zinc-clad pavilion makes a modern extension to the heritage façade whilst minimising the visual impact on neighbouring buildings.

MURRAY GROVE
Completed within 49 weeks, and delivering 29 fully insulated and soundproof apartments, the project demonstrated for the first time that CLT has the potential to be a financially viable, environmentally sustainable and beautiful replacement for concrete and steel in high-density housing.

WHITMORE ROAD
The CLT structure, which sits on a lower concrete ground floor, is arranged to minimise lateral spans and maximise the multilateral strength of the material. For the photography studio, the party walls above the space act as deep beams and the north and south facades as giant trusses, making a vast, 9m x 23m column-free space achievable in the centre of the building.

SIX ORSMAN ROAD
In a site-specific structural system, the building’s core, internal walls and floor slabs will be made of pre-cut CLT panels, whilst the internal superstructure is formed from standard steel sections. As well as exploiting the structural properties of each, this system will ensure fast and precise construction, maximise floor to ceiling heights and accommodate future adaptations.

Since their first venture into building with CLT, Waugh Thistleton Architects have built 21 CLT buildings and have six on site. It’s easy to see why they have an international reputation in environmentally sustainable architecture and design. 

Part of NLA's recent Research Paper, Exhibiton and Events Programme on Factory-made Housing. 

View images from the tour here

By Merry Arnold, NLA

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