Murray Grove housing by Waugh Thistleton kickstarted "tall-timber motion"

The second case examine in our Timber Revolution collection is Murray Grove, a London housing tower by Waugh Thistleton that has a superstructure constructed virtually solely from cross-laminated timber.

Slotted right into a residential space in Hackney, the groundbreaking Murray Grove garnered worldwide recognition when it was accomplished in 2009.

With a nine-storey superstructure constructed virtually solely out of cross-laminated timber (CLT), it had simply grow to be the world’s tallest timber residential constructing.

Murray Grove by Waugh Thistleton kickstarted a “tall-timber motion”

“Murray Grove is the primary tall city housing venture to be constructed solely from pre-fabricated stable timber,” stated its architect, London studio Waugh Thistleton.

“The exemplar venture has spearheaded the introduction of CLT within the UK, and pioneered a wider worldwide motion in its use,” it continued.

Although the venture, in any other case often called Stadthaus, has since been overtaken in peak by different mass-timber housing tasks together with Ascent in Milwaukee, the bold design left its stamp on the structure business.

Stadthaus housing under construction in Hackney
The housing in Hackney makes use of mass timber

Commissioned by home builder Telford Properties, Murray Grove contains a mixture of non-public and reasonably priced housing, with separate entrances for every on the base of the constructing.

From its first flooring slab upwards, its superstructure is constructed solely from CLT, together with its load-bearing partitions, flooring slabs, balcony balustrades and stair and carry cores. Under this, the bottom flooring and foundations are constituted of strengthened concrete.

The design, developed with structural engineer Techniker, was born out of Waugh Thistleton’s ambition to display timber’s potential as a viable different to concrete and metal – notably in high-rise buildings.

Exposed CLT structure
Its superstructure is constructed virtually solely from cross-laminated timber (CLT)

Murray Grove’s CLT elements are organized to type a mobile matrix, with joints secured by screws and angle plates. This offers rise to a steady construction that Waugh Thistleton likens to a “tight honeycomb”.

“All of the exterior partitions, inside partitions, carry shaft, staircase and flooring slabs are working collectively to supply the construction – every thing is working,” the studio’s co-founder Andrew Waugh informed Dezeen.

The construction can also be designed with built-in redundancy, which means CLT panels could be simply eliminated with out the danger of progressive collapse, permitting it to be simply demounted on the finish of the constructing’s life.

Every of the CLT panels used to assemble the constructing was manufactured by Austrian timber provider KLH and is constituted of three layers of Spruce planks and glued along with a non-toxic adhesive. These panels had not been used within the UK previous to their set up at Murray Grove.

The CLT panels have been prefabricated, with the cut-outs for home windows and doorways delivered to the location ready-made, permitting them to be instantly craned into place.

This dramatically decreased development time and labour prices, permitting the nine-storey superstructure to be constructed by 4 KLH staff over simply 27 days, and the entire constructing to finish in 49 weeks.

Based on a report by the Timber Analysis and Improvement Affiliation (TRADA), a concrete constructing of the identical measurement would have taken 72 weeks to construct.

The identical report additionally means that the CLT panels helped to attain each an acoustic and thermal efficiency that exceeded UK necessities on the time.

Interior of Murray Grove during construction
The CLT components embody its load-bearing partitions

From its exterior, it’s not instantly apparent that Murray Grove is constructed from timber. Nonetheless, its distinctive pixelated facade, which relies on a portray by Gerhard Richter, can also be partly composed of wooden.

The two,500 particular person panels used throughout its exterior, completed in three completely different hues, are every made from 70 per cent wooden pulp, blended with fibre cement.

Based on Waugh Thistleton, the cladding is meant to emulate the shadow patterns solid from the encompassing buildings and timber on the location previous to the tower’s development.

Exposed cross-laminated timber inside Stadthaus by Waugh Thistleton
Ground slabs are additionally made from CLT

Waugh Thistleton’s penchant for timber continues to be prevalent in its work immediately.

Wooden’s skill to sequester carbon from the ambiance and proceed to retailer that carbon when minimize means wood buildings retailer carbon too, serving to to offset their lifetime carbon emissions.

Based on Waugh Thistleton, the structural material of the Murray Grove tower shops over 181 tonnes of carbon, and by utilizing timber in its development rather than strengthened concrete, an additional 125 tonnes of carbon have been prevented from getting into the ambiance.

Waugh stated that the usage of timber within the venture was initially met with scepticism from the developer, which “was eager to not overstate the timber construction”.

“They have been involved that individuals could be delay by the timber,” Waugh defined. “However it seems everybody that we have met may be very happy with the modern nature of the constructing.”

Upon its completion, there was worldwide curiosity within the venture – primarily for the best way that it proved timber may very well be workable in high-rise structure.

“It appears to have actually kickstarted an entire tall-timber motion – within the US, Asia and Europe it is rather more broadly identified about,” Waugh informed Dezeen.

“It is had a Dutch documentary made, CBS Information have been there final yr, and visits from a Canadian authorities minister, the mayor of Seoul and quite a few college students,” he continued.

Kitchen inside Murray Grove by Waugh Thistleton
The constructing contains a mixture of reasonably priced and personal housing

The CLT design was additionally praised regionally on the time, with locals “fascinated” by the venture and councillor Vincent Stops “proud that Hackney has performed an element within the story of tall timber buildings”.

“Once I noticed Murray Grove, the world’s first nine-storey residential timber constructing in Hackney, it was clear that there was actual potential for a step-change in sustainable development,” stated Stops.

“I hope this may encourage others to embrace engineered timber in development.”

Living space inside Murray Grove by Waugh Thistleton
Openings have been minimize within the panels earlier than being dropped at web site

Nonetheless, Waugh believes the curiosity that the venture stirred up in low-carbon development was short-lived within the UK when in comparison with different international locations.

He believes the drive for utilizing the fabric have to be picked up once more, as a part of a worldwide “paradigm shift in the best way by which the entire world builds”.

“We have to change concrete and metal within the development of each constructing however particularly high-density housing – the planet can not afford the cement manufacturing attributable to mass migration to cities,” he defined.

“Timber is at the moment the one viable alternative for concrete and metal; we’re not going to resolve this drawback with mushrooms and straw,” he continued. “This should not be a trend merchandise.”

The images is by Will Pryce.

Timber Revolution logo
Illustration by Yo Hosoyamada

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