I was lucky enough to be invited to the preview night of a new exhibition “Timber Rising’ at the amazing Roca gallery in London which was designed by Zaha Hadid architects. The exhibition looks at the use of wood in building construction, focusing on it’s use in high rise buildings and a project that is about to start building in Holland using cross laminated beams instead of concrete. It’s the start of what could be a growing trend with the proposed Oakwood Timber Tower for the Barbican, London, an 80-story building in timber and glass constructed using cross laminated timber beams (CLT).
It’s good news for the environment with wood absorbing carbon during its life as opposed to concrete which produces huge amounts during its manufacture. There lots of major benefits in using CLT, panels are made off site and delivered ready to assemble, in a similar fashion to the Huff houses on Grand Designs. As a consequence the build is quicker and less disruptive to the local neighbourhood, has a higher aesthetic appeal for humans than concrete and a softer visual impact on the landscape, encouraging a sense of well-being among residents.
I have always been interested in architecture and love some of the more modern timber houses, hence my interest in the exhibition. I also have a new sculpture on the drawing board ‘The Prayer Wheel’ and I’m hoping to use laminated timber beams in it’s construction. It’s still early days but I have already found a source for the timber beams, have a feeling that will be the easy bit.
The exhibition was well worth the trip to learn more about timber building and to see the incredible gallery, one of Zaha Hadid’s trademark curvaceous, spaceship like designs. Not to everyone’s taste, but you have to admire the thinking behind it.