TRADA is in touch with timber as a material

Published:  28 May, 2010

LONDON: TRADA held its In Touch with Timber event at the Queen Elizabeth II Convention Centre last week. It was attended by architects and specifiers.

TRADA chair Roddy Langmuir opened the seminars with the specifiers dilemma: timber can be seen as the moral choice, and steel can be seen as the functional choice. It is usually aesthetics that is the decider.

And yet, some people have looked at complimenting, composite and hybrid methods to great effect.

Guest speaker Andrew Waugh of Waugh Thistleton Architects described the building of a timber framed eight story block in Hackney. With the lower floors designed for public housing and the upper floors for private housing, it was timber from top down to below first floor. Keeping timber off the ground was key, he said, and using a concrete and steel base upon which to build the structure utilised the best of both materials.

Structural engineer Paul Fast was also a guest speaker, and was involved in the roofing design of the Richmond Olympic Oval speed-skating track in Vancouver. By creating a bespoke hybrid of glulam and steel, the facility has soaring arches with most of the utility cables and pipes hidden within.

In short, it was clear that timber is a sustainable, versatile and flexible material that does not have to be used in isolation.

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