CLT or ‘Cross Laminated Timber’, as it is known is not a new building material, its use in Europe throughout construction is widely recognized and implemented. However, recent innovations in its use has seen projects like Waugh Thistleton Architect’s’ Murray Grove scheme’ in the UK emerge. The Murray Grove building is a 9 story structure and is currently the world’s tallest modern timber residential building. It is the first of its kind to integrate load bearing walls, floor slabs, stairs and lift cores entirely constructed out of CLT timber.
In complete contrast to traditional forms of high rise construction where the use of steel and concrete have been produced though highly intensive means this building is totally carbon neutral managing to store a staggering 186 tonnes of carbon within its structure over its lifetime. Added advantage come through speed of construction, which saw this project delivered in just 49 weeks.
Because of mounting pressure for companies and business alike to understand and reduce their own carbon footprint we have seen Grocon, one of Australia’s largest construction companies announce its plans in March of this year to build ‘Delta’, an apartment building located on the Carlton United Brewery site in Melbourne. It is the first Australian proposal utilising CLT and demonstrates the growing interest in prefabrication and alternative sustainable options.
The use of CLT in single detached housing however is fairly rare as the material itself is a fairly expensive but like most prefabricated system, when its use is considered through strict symmetry build efficiencies push the product into ever expanding applications. So, with this in mind our office has spent time looking at a conceptual configuration that could be used as a modern singular housing option. This idea maximises the use of CLT as a structural floor, wall and roof arrangement. Each panel is triangular in shape and when erected in the demonstrated fashion (please see our website for images) achieves a structure that finds its strength through compression and tension. Every panel in this design is identical and is routed out through the use of C&C machinery; the constructed form can be built to lock-up within just 1 day.
As you can tell the resulting form is quite abstract. While it may not appeal to everyone aesthetically as an experiment it again offers a proposed direction for the future. It attempts to once again, maximise the application of just 1 core building material in an incredibly efficient manner thus continuing to support our ideas of alternative construction though prefabrication.