King’s Cross W3 in London, UK is a state-of-the-art building with extensive sustainability credentials using timber in both the structure and the cladding.

What are CLT and Glulam?

CLT and glulam are types of structural engineered wood products constituted by layers of dimensional lumber bonded together. Combining modern engineering and manufacturing techniques, it is now possible to achieve anything from interesting and complex building forms to factory produced modular pods.

About the client & architect

Argent, a leading UK developer, takes the opportunity to make a positive, even life-changing impact on people and communities, while responsibly managing the impact of new infrastructure on the environment.

Haptic Architects is a London-based practice. Haptic, referring to the sense of touch, is a guiding force for their design work; they strive to determine the haptic qualities for each project and how they benefit the users of our buildings.

About King’s Cross Development

  • 67 acres
  • 50 new buildings
  • 1,900 new homes
  • 20 new streets
  • 10 new public parks and squares
  • 26 acres of open space
  • 30,000 workers

King’s Cross W3 in London, UK is a state-of-the-art building with extensive sustainability credentials using timber in both the structure and the cladding. When comparing the timber structure to an equivalent steel/concrete version, it saves approximately 200 tonnes of CO2 in embodied carbon and halves the deliveries to the construction site. The timber option also delivers a low embodied carbon material and stores 270 tonnes of carbon within W3’s structure. W3 is one of the 15 plots that Ramboll has engineered for property developer, Argent, as part of the King’s Cross Central Development, a 67-acre masterplan to develop a new vibrant area of London. This plot provides added amenity space to support the social needs of the community including a nursery and gym. At approximately 1,500 sqm, the structure is a mixture of timber with a concrete core. Using 125m3 of glued laminated timber (glulam) and 250m3 Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), timber makes up 85 per cent of the total superstructure.

King’s Cross W3 was originally designed as a steel-framed solution but through the design process was developed to CLT and glulam for both its aesthetic and sustainability credentials.

”Ramboll’s expertise in timber has been of particular value on this project and we are looking forward to developing the scheme in the coming year, working in conjunction with Hybrid Design,” says Jamie Smith, senior development manager, Argent LLP.

Timber, a sustainable choice

Timber is the only truly renewable building material and also absorbs and stores carbon from the atmosphere (carbon sequestration). Using one cubic metre of wood in place of other materials results in 0.8 tonnes of C02 being locked within the building. Couple this with the inherent properties of wood, these being improved thermal efficiency and airtightness, makes timber the most sustainable choice for construction.

In addition to the immediate environmental benefits, construction sites building in timber are significantly less disruptive, creating a better working and surrounding environment, with quieter and cleaner sites, fewer trades are required and fewer deliveries, resulting in less noise/congestion, and improved air quality.

For over 70 years, Ramboll has been at the forefront of timber technology. Having designed and engineered some of the world’s largest and tallest timber buildings, we have a deep understanding of this material and strive to ensure timber as a construction material that is considered from the outset.

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