PLP Architecture and Cambridge University Researchers propose London timber skyscraper
Posted on: 11/04/2016

Researchers from Cambridge University’s Department of Architecture have presented Boris Johnson with their conceptual plans for London’s first timber skyscraper, which would be integrated within the Barbican.

The plans consist of an 80-storey, 300m high wooden building, which would create over 1,000 new residential units in a 1m sq ft mixed-use tower and mid-rise terraces in central London. The researchers are working with PLP Architecture and engineers Smith and Wallwork to develop research on the future development of tall timber buildings in central London.

Currently, the world’s tallest timber building is located in Bergen, Norway, where a 14-storey apartment block towers high. If the London proposals go ahead, the timber tower would become the second tallest building in London after The Shard.

By using timber as a structural material in tall buildings has a number of potential benefits. These include timber as a renewable resource, and provides reduced costs, improved construction timescales, increased fire resistance, and a significant reduction in the overall weight of the building.

Kevin Flanagan, Partner at PLP Architecture said:

“Our firm is currently designing many of London’s tall buildings, and the use of timber could transform the way we build in this city. We are excited to be working with the University and with Smith and Wallwork on this ground breaking design- and engineering-based research.”

Whilst fire risk is as a predominant concern, the project team said the building would eventually meet or exceed fire regulations which are currently in place for steel and concrete buildings. The designs for the Barbican are the first in a series of timber skyscrapers developed by Cambridge University, working with renowned architects and structural engineers. They have received funding from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

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