5 Nov 2011

Innovative Timber Structures

As part of an external lecture series run by the Architecture department at NTU, Thursday evening saw John Chilton give an interesting talk of innovative timber structures. The use of timber in structures is happening more and more largely due to its sustainability values but also due to vast recent advances in timber technologies.

Chilton showed examples of structures he felt were really pushing the boundaries..

 First.. The Canopy, Doncaster Earth Centre. The framed structure was supporting a flat plane of photovoltaic panels.

Second.. The Multi-award winning Savill Building, Windsor Great Park.

Truly a fantastic structure, and something to be admired, however if I'm being critical... I felt that when Chilton was talking to us about this building, I couldn't help but think that it wouldn't be standing up with out the support of steel. And in no way am I criticising the building but in a lecture on innovative 'timber' structures I expected to see more ... innovative 'timber' structure!

Structures like this for example..

Advances in products such as Glulam in parallel with computer aided design allow concepts like this to actually be built...

The Downland Gridshell found at the Weal and Downland Museum, West Sussex also shows how timber can be used to great effect with out the need for huge reinforcements from other materials..

Something I particularly liked about this example, from a technical background, was the way it used 'spaceblanket' layered foil insulation to insulate the building, something we hadn't seen taken in to consideration with the other structures.

All in all however, a very interesting lecture.. definitely fed my imagination with new concepts and boundaries to push with my future designs!

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