In Touch with Timber – making the case for outstanding design
The ÂŁ32 million Thomas Clarkson Community College (TCCC), designed by Make Architects, will be one of several case studies explored by leading speakers at the In Touch with Timber conference and, said TRADA Membership and Marketing Manager Rupert Scott, âThe College embodies many of the messages we wish delegates and visitors to Timber Expo to take away with them.â
Although the James Review of Capital Investment was still under way when the ÂŁ32 million new build project was started, TCCC has anticipated many of its recommendations, explained Simon Smith Director of Buildings & Design, Ramboll. He will focus on sustainable developments in education, in his In Touch with Timber presentation. âThe challenge faced by government and the education sector is how to maintain quality within a tight budget. Schools must be fit for purpose, yet we must achieve âmore for âlessâ. Some element of standardisation and modular construction will enable these objectives to be achieved.â
TCCC in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, is a PFI secondary school, procured under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) Framework. Ramboll joined the Equitix bid team in 2009 and phased construction of the 13,000m2 school commenced in July last year, with the first phase completed in September. The building comprises teaching clusters, âEdenâ space atrium, sports hall, energy centre and a refurbished existing 1950s building. The whole building is set out to the Fibonacci sequence, which has driven the arrangement of the buildings.
A significant proportion of the design adopted modern methods of construction (MMC) to accelerate construction times and enhance quality. The cross-laminated timber system adopted for the social hub of the building provided an efficient âall-in-oneâ structural and substrate system that had the added benefit of enhancing the completed buildingsâ air tightness â a key factor in low energy buildings.
Within the circulation and ancillary teaching areas the structural use of timber helped to reflect the architectural intent of a natural space enabling an organic feel to be achieved. Novel use of cross-laminated timber concrete composite construction (referred to as TimCrete) in the dance studios enabled long spans to be produced whilst achieving the demanding vibration criteria for dance activities. Mr Smith said, âThis use of TimCrete design is a first in the UK and demonstrates the clientâs and our passion to innovate.â The college will be completed this August.
As an integral part of Timber Expo, In Touch with Timber is this year is broken down into four different, three-hour modules. Simon Knox of Knox Bhavan completes the architectsâ programme, Session 1, joining Roddy Langmuir of Edward Cullinan Architects and Jim Greaves of Hopkins. These leading designers will draw on their own award-winning projects to make the case for âTimber â the first choice for excellent designâ.
Rupert Scott said, âA combination of materials is usually needed to achieve a great result, so we are not advocating timber only buildings. However, we firmly believe that using timber as a major material on almost any project provides the greatest scope for truly outstanding design.â In Touch with Timber will continue to inspire âthrough case study examples of everything that is new and ground-breaking in timberâ.
Session 2 will explore the commercial sector. Timber as a structural material is no longer restricted to the domestic market and many companies are introducing a new breed of high-tech, structural timber sub-contracting into the market. As a result, said Mr Scott, the commercial sector is âvery much ready for the takingâ. Speakers confirmed to date include Nick Milestone, Construction Director, B&K Structures and Martin Wood of Bryden Wood Architects.
Along with Simon Smith, Ramboll, in Session 3, Guy Nevill, Senior Partner, Max Fordham LLP, and member of the BCO Environmental Sustainability Group, will explore off-site construction techniques, which have come in and out of fashion since the 1950s. Mr Scott said, âThere is no doubt that there is much potential yet to be harnessed, particularly for timber, which has arguably the greatest range of possible solutions. Attention to improving performance of the processes and end product are key to achieving the gains in reality.â
Sustainable Timber Futures is the theme for Session 4. Given that only crop-based materials can be replenished, timber has to be a serious part of any sustainable building strategy in the future. âWhile timber does indeed grow on trees, it also has to perform in use and prove that it is fit for purpose alongside alternative materials. New and exciting developments are helping to improve timberâs offering in a number of ways,â Mr Scott stated.
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Information Updated on: 7 December 2011