Building with Cross Laminated Timber\

Work is fast approaching completion on Hilden Grange Preparatory School. It’s the practice’s first (and certainly not last) experience of working with prefabricated solid timber frame construction.

Cross Laminated Timber, as it’s called in the trade, is formed from lengths of pine glued together in perpendicular layers to make large building panels. These panels can then be factory pre-cut into almost any shape before being delivered to site.

What’s been most exciting for us as the authors of the design is just how quickly the panels can be positioned and fixed in place with all the windows and fixings pre-cut and immediately visible. The entire frame for the school was constructed in under 8 weeks, greatly reducing the onsite time and crucially allowing the school to be constructed from start to finish within a single academic year. Furthermore the timber can be left exposed internally offering the children a glimpse of this exciting material and giving every single classroom a unique homely feel.

The experience has certainly been an enlightening one for us, and we continue to propose and champion cross laminated timber on new projects where possible including the Wenlock Cross Building, which recently gained planning approval and the upcoming design for the UWE Student’s Union.

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