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    Woods stacks up for skyscraper

    Gemma Battenbough

    The architect of the world’s tallest residential building made entirely from wood will be speaking in Brisbane tonight as part of the Timber Design Awards.

    Andrew Waugh, director of London-based practice Waugh Thistleton Architects, was the principal architect behind the Murray Grove tower.

    Constructed entirely in timber, the nine-storey high-rise in Hackney combines both private and affordable housing in 29 apartments.

    The building, called Stadthaus, was also yesterday awarded the Judges’ Special Award at the British Construction Industry Awards 2009 for pushing design boundaries in the use of structural timber.

    The structure uses a system of panels formed using timber strips glued together into a solid mass with minimal movement.

    Structural engineers Techniker and joinery firm KLH worked with the architects to position the apartments in a honeycomb pattern around a central core.

    The cross-laminated, solid timber panels form a cellular structure of load-bearing walls, including all stair and lift cores.

    The panels are prefabricated to include cut-outs for the windows and doors, which meant that the entire nine storey structure could be assembled within nine weeks.

    The structure uses layering of stud walls with gaps in front of the party walls, floating floor build-ups and suspended ceilings to overcome the acoustic transfer issues associated with timber use.

    Waugh said that environmental sustainability was one of the key reasons the firm designed the structure from wood.

    The tower itself will store over 181 tonnes of carbon and, by not using a reinforced concrete frame, a further 125 tonnes of carbon are saved from entering the atmosphere, he said. This is equivalent to 21 years of carbon emissions from a building of this size, or 210 years at the current requirement of 10 per cent renewable.

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