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Wenlock Cross \

Innovative new homes for Hackney

The UK's tallest hybrid cross laminated timber (CLT) structure, providing 50 homes over 10 storeys on a unique cruciform plan.

Something a Little Bit Different

Having achieved planning consent for the site with a previous client we were approached by Regal Homes. Our brief: to maximise value by creating something a little bit different. A unique building of 50 apartments with good daylight, great views and generous terraces.

Twisting Cruciform

Clever geometries have been used to give every apartment a unique identity. A cruciform plan creates four courtyards with direct visual connections to the city and dual or even triple aspect apartments. By twisting the form from floor to floor we have been able to create generous terraces with oblique views along Wenlock Basin, and morning and evening sun into all apartments. The unusual form also helps reduce residents’ awareness of their neighbours, and gives the building a more dynamic appearance from the street.

“By rotating the floors at different degrees, and ensuring that every apartment benefits from being dual aspect, this collection of apartments will be one of the most sought after destinations in the city.”

Regal Homes

Innovation and Construction

The building is a solid cross-laminated timber structure, manufactured off-site, it uses steel reinforcement where necessary, and is one of the tallest of its kind in Europe. The innovative CLT hybrid structural strategy, developed by timber and steel specialist B+K Structures, proved the most efficient and sustainable way to achieve the unique 10-storey building.

The cross laminated elevations are clad in slatted western red cedar, whilst along the Wenlock Road elevation, a dark brick screen completes the street elevation, also forming the edge of the conservation area.

20%

more homes
Innovative design creates more space than a conventional scheme

  • Project Details
  • Lessons Learnt
  • Drawings
  • Sustainability

Project Summary

  • Project name: The Cube Building
  • Location: London, United Kingdom
  • Sector: Residential
  • Service: Architecture
  • Value: £10.5m
  • Type: Regeneration, New build, Mixed use
  • Client: Regal Homes
  • Status: Completed
  • Completion date: 2015

Project Team

Planning Consultant: Signet Planning
Structural Engineer: Pringuer James Consulting Engineers
Services Engineer: Spencer Mayes
Main Contractor: Regal Homes
CLT/steel subcontractor: B+K Structures
CLT Engineer: Engenuiti
Sustainability Consultant: JS Lewis Ltd
Transport Consultant: i-Transport
CGI crediting: © Forbes Massie
Site shot crediting: © Tim Crocker

Awards

  • Housing Design Awards 2017 - Competed Schemes - Shortlisted
  • RIBA Awards 2017 - London Regional Award - Shortlisted
  • Hackney Design Awards 2016 - Winner
  • Structural Awards 2016 - Community or Residential Structures - Shortlisted
  • Off Site Awards 2015 - Winner of Winners - Winner
  • Off Site Awards 2015 - Best Hybrid Construction Project - Winner
  • Structural Timber Awards 2015 - Private Housing Project of the Year - Shortlisted
  • Celebrating Construction Awards 2015 - Innovation - Winner
  • London Evening Standard New Homes Awards 2015 - Home or Development of Outstanding Architectural Merit - Winner
  • International Property Awards 2014 - Mixed-use Architecture - Shortlisted
  • The SundayTimes British Homes Awards 2014 - Housing Project - Commendation

Lessons Learnt

This project allowed us to investigate the potentials of hybrid construction, which we believe represents a viable option for building tall or complex structures in a more sustainable way.

The building’s height and form presented considerable challenges to the team and were solved by utilising a series of new construction techniques. By using concrete, steel and timber we were able to use each material in the best way to suit their inherent structural properties. Firstly the concrete core stiffens and stabilises the overall structure, allowing for large spans to the office spaces at ground floor. Secondly steel enables the significant cantilevers to project elegantly and transfers loads down to allow the buildings height. Finally prefabricated cross laminated timber (CLT) panels, to form the party walls and slabs in the most sustainable way. By volume CLT forms the vast majority of the structure.

We have presented the innovations of this project in the UK and in Germany, Belgium and Sweden and it has been interesting to see how other countries have utilised timber structures and overcome some of the challenges that we face in the UK.

Drawings

Sustainability

The building form optimises the site and maximises the resident’s external spaces. The apartments have high levels of daylighting and natural cross ventilation. They can be reconfigured relatively easily due to the structural solution chosen and there is hope that the building will also foster a community given that it has a shared canalside garden.

The structural solution is a hybrid of timber and steel, which is an efficient use of materials and increases the renewable material in the project. The external cladding is also an FSC certified, natural, self-finishing, impregnated western red cedar, further increasing the use of renewable sources.

The timber used to manufacture 1m3 of CLT panel removes 0.8 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere, this means that The Cube building with its 1,300m3 of CLT panels removed approximately 1,040 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.

The scheme achieved Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4.  Rainwater harvesting in a tank in the basement.  Water restricting sanitaryware and water metering were included. 

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