Pioneer­ing piece of per­ma­nent ar­chi­tec­ture opens in UK

Australasian Timber - - CLT -

MAG­GIE’S OLDHAM, the world’s first build­ing made from hard­wood cross-lam­i­nated tim­ber (CLT), has opened in the UK. De­signed by dRMM Ar­chi­tects and sup­ported by the Amer­i­can Hard­wood Ex­port Coun­cil, this is a piv­otal mo­ment for mod­ern ar­chi­tec­ture and con­struc­tion.

Mag­gie’s is a char­ity that pro­vides prac­ti­cal and emo­tional sup­port to peo­ple liv­ing with cancer. Built on the grounds of spe­cial­ist NHS cancer hos­pi­tals, Mag­gie’s Cen­tres are warm and wel­com­ing places with qual­i­fied pro­fes­sion­als on hand to of­fer a program of sup­port shown to im­prove phys­i­cal and emo­tional well­be­ing.

dRMM chose tulip­wood for the de­sign of Mag­gie’s Oldham for the pos­i­tive in­flu­ence wood has on peo­ple and for the beauty, strength and warmth in­her­ent to Amer­i­can tulip­wood. Wood is known to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce blood pres­sure, heart rates and re­cov­ery times; it has more health and well­be­ing ben­e­fits than any other build­ing ma­te­rial, ac­cord­ing to Wood Hous­ing Hu­man­ity Re­port 2015.

This pioneer­ing piece of per­ma­nent ar­chi­tec­ture is con­structed from more than 20 pan­els of five layer cross­lam­i­nated Amer­i­can tulip­wood, rang­ing in size from 0.5m – 12m long.

Amer­i­can tulip­wood CLT was pi­o­neered in 2013 by dRMM, AHEC and Arup for its un­par­al­leled strength and light­ness, speed of con­struc­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity. Amer­i­can tulip­wood is ap­prox­i­mately 70% stronger in bend­ing than a typ­i­cal CLT grade soft­wood.

The struc­tural CLT pan­els for Mag­gie’s Oldham were de­vel­oped by CLT spe­cial­ists, Züblin Tim­ber.

The first pub­lic ex­per­i­ment with this build­ing ma­te­rial was The End­less Stair, cre­ated dur­ing the Lon­don De­sign Fes­ti­val 2013. Arup’s en­gi­neer­ing cal­cu­la­tions show the struc­ture could have sup­ported 100 peo­ple at any one time.

Tulip­wood CLT is one of the most sus­tain­able tim­ber species be­cause of how fast it re­plen­ishes, through natural growth alone.

Mag­gie’s Oldham con­tains 27.6m3 of Amer­i­can tulip­wood and 1.1m3 of Amer­i­can ash, equiv­a­lent to around 55.22m3 and 2.1m3 re­spec­tively of sawn wood be­fore pro­cess­ing, which in terms comes from around 115.7m3 of logs – and all these logs will be re­placed in just 120 sec­onds (108 sec­onds for the tulip­wood and 12 sec­onds for the ash).

De­sign el­e­ments

dRMM co-founder Prof. Alex de Ri­jke’s ex­per­i­ments with en­gi­neered tim­ber have pro­gressed dur­ing 30 years in prac­tice and academe. The stu­dios build­ing and fur­ni­ture projects have pushed the struc­tural, en­vi­ron­men­tal, and aes­thetic prop­er­ties of en­gi­neered tim­ber, from ply­wood to en­gi­neered soft­wood, and now to the col­lab­o­ra­tive in­ven­tion of hard­wood CLT.

“From the Oldham project in­cep­tion we knew it was the right ma­te­rial for Mag­gie’s, not only struc­turally and vis­ually, but con­cep­tu­ally. An el­e­vated, open plan, all-tim­ber and glass build­ing with trees grow­ing through it, and ev­ery de­tail con­sid­ered from the per­spec­tive of use, health, and de­light - was al­ways going to be spe­cial,” says Alex de Ri­jke.

“Mag­gie’s Oldham has a built-in, very vis­i­ble holis­tic de­sign mes­sage that sup­ports the cen­tral aims of the de­sign – to up­lift and of­fer hope to peo­ple liv­ing with cancer. The ap­pli­ca­tions for sus­tain­ably grown hard­wood, par­tic­u­larly fast grow­ing tulip­wood CLT is end­less. The en­vi­ron­men­tal, struc­tural and vis­ual qual­i­ties are demon­strated ex­plic­itly at dRMM’s Mag­gie’s; a man­i­festo for wood as the natural choice for con­tem­po­rary ar­chi­tec­ture of phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal well-be­ing’.”

The main kitchen ta­ble around which Cen­tre vis­i­tors are en­cour­aged to sit, is a de­sign by Barnby Day that was com­mis­sioned by Alex de Ri­jke and AHEC for the Wish List project for Lon­don De­sign Fes­ti­val 2014. It is built by Bench­mark Fur­ni­ture from re­cy­cled tulip­wood CLT. The top was left over from the Wish List and the base is made from off-cuts of CLT that came from the win­dows and doors of Mag­gie’s Oldham.

For AHEC, Mag­gie’s Oldham is one of the most im­por­tant de­vel­op­ments in a decade of re­search and de­vel­op­ment into struc­tural tim­ber in­no­va­tion and one that could broaden the use of

CLT in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try. The cre­ation of this prod­uct and sig­nif­i­cant use of hard­wood will trans­form the way ar­chi­tects and en­gi­neers ap­proach tim­ber con­struc­tion.

“This struc­ture proves that hard­woods have a role to play in the tim­ber con­struc­tion rev­o­lu­tion,” says David Ven­ables, Euro­pean Di­rec­tor of AHEC. “All our pre­vi­ous projects – Tim­ber Wave, Out of the Woods, End­less Stair and The Wish List – have been sig­nif­i­cant projects but this cen­tre proves that a build­ing made of Tulip­wood CLT is pos­si­ble, and it can be done on a strict bud­get and in record time. dRMM also be­lieves in the po­ten­tial of tulip­wood CLT as bring­ing a rev­o­lu­tion­ary new el­e­ment to wood con­struc­tion.”

Ther­mally mod­i­fied Amer­i­can tulip­wood clads the ex­te­rior of the build­ing. Pho­tog­ra­phy: Alex de Ri­jke

The curved glass fea­ture in the cen­tre aims to bring na­ture in­side the build­ing. Pho­tog­ra­phy: Alex de Ri­jke

De­tail of the CLT Amer­i­can tulip­wood that forms the build­ings wall pan­els. Pho­tog­ra­phy: Jon Card­well

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