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Timber buildings reach new heights

Timber buildings reach new heights

A new block of council flats is about to be opened to residents in the North London borough of Hackney. Nothing especially noteworthy there, you might think, but the new apartments at Bridport House are constructed entirely from wood, making the building the largest timber-built apartment block in the world.

Next door to it is another timber-build apartment block, which despite being smaller overall, is even taller. In fact, Hackney Council is planning to use timber building extensively in redeveloping the housing estate on which Bridport House stands, stating that residents have a very positive view of the timber-framed properties.

The decision to build a timber building on the site came about originally through necessity. Bridport House is built directly above one of London’s largest storm sewers, which is big enough to drive through in a double-decker bus, so the building weight had to be kept to a minimum. By utilising timber as the main construction material, architects have been able to build an apartment block twice the size of the one previously on the site, but with no extra weight being exerted above the storm sewer.

The main components of the building are made from cross-laminated softwood panels, which can be fixed together quickly and more cheaply than when building in brick and concrete. The project leaders also told BBC News online that the building was just as resistant to fire as more traditional constructions, and had the added advantages of making overall construction cheaper and significantly greener.

As interest in Emerald Knight’s bamboo bond project increases, this kind of project only serves to highlight the potential market growth for anyone investing in bamboo. Bamboo is widely used in construction throughout Asia, and given that it grows faster than all major construction timbers, the possibilities for bamboo as a building material and sustainable source of construction-grade timber are brought into clear focus. For more information on Emerald Knight’s bamboo bond project, click here

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Comments (1)

Gillian Bond on 1st January 2012

Is it sustainable to ship timber in from abroad, and to construct a building that has no thermal mass to reduce temperature fluctuations, and at end of life will rot to produce CO2?