En­ter­ing the age of tim­ber

Australasian Timber - - NEWS -

TIM­BER TOW­ERS may be the se­cret to more sus­tain­able build­ings, safer con­struc­tion sites and live­able, breath­able cities, says UK ar­chi­tect An­drew Waugh.

Mr Waugh joined a panel of speak­ers, in­clud­ing Michael Rose AM, Chair­man of The Com­mit­tee for Syd­ney, Joe Snell, Di­rec­tor of Snell Ar­chi­tects, and Mark Stein­ert, CEO and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Stock­land, at Green Cities 2017 as they un­packed the suc­cess fac­tors in den­sity done well.

Mr Waugh said we were en­ter­ing the age of tim­ber.

His opin­ion draws heav­ily from his first ex­pe­ri­ence with tim­ber con­struc­tion, when his firm Waugh Thistle­ton built the nine-storey

Stadthaus in Hack­ney – a build­ing now con­sid­ered the world’s pi­o­neer tim­ber res­i­den­tial tower.

The 29-apart­ment com­plex was con­structed from cross-lam­i­nated tim­ber (CLT) pan­els. Load-bear­ing walls, floor slabs, star and lift cores were all made en­tirely from tim­ber.

Since Stadthaus, Waugh said builders, like his own team, are “be­gin­ning to un­der­stand the ar­chi­tec­ture of this new ma­te­rial” and to un­der­stand the op­por­tu­ni­ties that tim­ber presents.

“The ma­te­rial is very strong and very light – and we can utilise the walls as beams and carry loads across the build­ing, for ex­am­ple.

“It’s a far safer con­struc­tion method, as tim­ber is a non-toxic ma­te­rial. There are no fumes or dust, no heavy power tools work­ing. It of­fers a much bet­ter work­ing en­vi­ron­ment,” Mr Waugh said.

He said tim­ber build­ings also pro­vide great ther­mal per­for­mance and acous­tic sep­a­ra­tion, and are fast and quiet to con­struct. They may also be the se­cret to in­creas­ing the den­sity of our ur­ban fab­ric with­out de­tract­ing from live­abil­ity.

“Mid-rise tim­ber tow­ers are the per­fect build­ings to con­struct in the mid­dle of a city,” he said.

Mr Waugh’s cur­rent fo­cus is on us­ing CLT in mod­u­lar hous­ing. He said his team is tak­ing “more and more con­struc­tion off the build­ing site and into fac­tory con­di­tions, but not at the ex­pense of de­sign or qual­ity, which it has been pre­vi­ously. That’s re­ally ex­cit­ing.”

“Ul­ti­mately, the en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits should al­ways be the ‘head­line’.

“We are build­ing with a car­bon store, and with a ma­te­rial that doesn’t push more car­bon into the at­mos­phere. That’s the im­per­a­tive. Source: The Ur­ban De­vel­oper.

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