BTZ laboratory at TU Graz was the early dwelling of mass-timber analysis

Subsequent in our Timber Revolution sequence, we profile a college laboratory by Austrian studio Nussmüller Architekten that was conceived as each an advert and a testing centre for the capabilities of mass timber.

Constructed on the flip of the millennium, the Bau Technik Zentrum (BTZ), which interprets because the Building Know-how Centre, was commissioned to deal with the timber-engineering division at Graz College of Know-how (TU Graz) in Austria.

The BTZ constructing at TU Graz, designed by Nussmüller Architekten, opened in 2001

“The rector of the Technical College got here to our workplace and gave us instantly the order for this challenge,” recalled Nussmüller Architekten founder Werner Nussmüller.

“In response to my query of why he selected our workplace, he answered: you’re the just one who has the expertise in cross-laminated timber building and you’ll handle to convey a ready-made design in two months,” he instructed Dezeen.

Web site of early CLT analysis

The BTZ was a big early mass-timber constructing. It was one of many first examples of panel-system mass-timber building, and the primary timber constructing with a curved roof, in keeping with Nussmüller.

Moreover, it turned the place the place a lot of the early technical analysis that led to cross-laminated timber (CLT) turning into a sensible constructing materials happened.

BTZ TU Graz interior
A metal trestle helps to assist the laboratory’s massive timber roof

The constructing itself and the groundbreaking work performed right here had been partly based mostly on the imaginative and prescient of Gerhard Schickhofer.

Schickhofer’s PhD thesis on the large potential of laminated timber panels layered in alternating instructions, accomplished at TU Graz in 1994, was instrumental within the improvement of CLT as a product.

In 2004, three years after the BTZ was accomplished, Schickhofer launched the Institute for Timber Engineering and Wooden Know-how on the constructing the place it stays right this moment.

Reminiscent of a big shed, the 4,800-square-metre constructing comprises a laboratory corridor used for timber-construction experiments, along with places of work and workshops.

It was designed to showcase new methods of connecting CLT panels, in addition to their load-bearing capability.

BTZ Graz by Nussmüller Architekten
The constructing was designed to showcase the capabilities of timber

A key characteristic is the big cover roof over the laboratory corridor. Curved plates of CLT act together with a metal trestle-and-tension-rod construction to allow a span of round 20 metres.

Every roof aspect is made up of two CLT plates that meet within the center, with metal rods working via them.


Drawing of BTZ at TU Graz
The construction contains metal, wooden, glazed and concrete components

As defined in a 2005 doctoral thesis on mass-timber buildings by Andreas Falk at Luleå Technical College in Sweden, this unconventional strategy reduces the quantity of uncooked materials required and helps the constructing’s CLT partitions take the burden.

Timber studs on the high of the partitions assist the roof, making a lantern impact to maximise the quantity of sunshine contained in the lab.

“We altogether had been very fortunate”

Earlier than the launch of the institute in 2004, the BTZ additionally housed the college’s concrete and metal analysis departments, which was mirrored in its design.

In addition to the metal within the roof construction, BTZ additionally has intensive glazing in its shorter partitions and a sturdy concrete base.

“The aim of the challenge was to point out the particular duties of all analysis departments within the constructing,” defined Nussmüller. “So we determined in a short time to make use of all three supplies for the development of the constructing.”

“The supplies of the development and surfaces ought to present the concepts of various departments and will promote the pleasure of all he contributors of the challenge.”

Twenty-two years on from its completion and regardless of mass-timber expertise having moved on considerably, Nussmüller stays happy with the challenge.

“We altogether had been very fortunate that we managed a constructing with so many unknown particulars,” he mentioned.

“We’re proud that the investor and us took a lot danger – and managed it. It is nonetheless standing and in good situation, though some issues needed to be repaired within the meantime.”

The pictures is by Paul Ott. The drawings are courtesy of Nussmüller Architekten.

Timber Revolution logo
Illustration by Yo Hosoyamada

Timber Revolution
This text is a part of Dezeen’s Timber Revolution sequence, which explores the potential of mass timber and asks whether or not going again to wooden as our major building materials can lead the world to a extra sustainable future.