Structural Timber is a wonder material: Lightweight, renewable, recyclable and low carbon. It diffuses light and sound, producing a warm, natural ambiance with a calming effect that many consider beneficial to wellbeing. At Republic we used high-tech structural timber to help us deliver the refurbishment of the Import and Export Buildings.
Timber isn’t a material commonly used in large-scale office refurbishments but high-tech structural timber has been a key ingredient in our successful transformation of what were once tired 1990s office blocks into high quality, sustainable and affordable workspaces.
Trilogy Real Estate, the developer of Republic, was founded by Robert Wolstenholme, an expert in using creative design thinking to bring undervalued buildings back into use. Trilogy’s approach to phase one of Republic was to work with the existing office buildings, upgrading them so that they exceed the expectations of modern office occupiers.
A workplace of the future needs to be environmentally responsible, so our design team, including architect Studio RHE and structural engineer Heyne Tillett Steel chose timber to meet our brief to achieve a radical refurbishment with an ambitious target for reducing the carbon footprint of our construction.
The spruce for the glulam and CLT components was harvested from sustainably managed forests in accordance with the PEFC-accredited scheme. Individual parts were manufactured in Austrian and German factories that employ high-tech CNC production processes, then delivered to the site at the precise moment that it was needed, minimising disturbance to our neighbours.
The choice of timber meant that not only was the existing structure able to support the extension, but additional storeys could also be added to it in the future without further strengthening. This could not have been achieved if a steel and metal-deck slab construction had been used.
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