Reed Watts Architects brought Eurban on board as part of the design team as early as possible. Eurban were the obvious choice to deliver the mass timber superstructure not only due to their previous experience delivering Regents Park Open Air theatre buildings in 2012 but also due to their being regarded as leaders in the industry providing high levels of quality at each stage of the project – from design through to completion.
Eurban are an independent supplier and get their material from a range of difference sources. For this building the CLT was manufactured in Austria by Stora Enso using spruce grown in sustainably managed forests. The glulam was manufactured by Pabst in a factory located close to Stora Enso in Austria. All the material is PEFC certified which means that a tree is planted for every tree cut down. A total of 130m3 of mass timber was used in the walls, floors and roof of the building. It takes only 7 minutes for this volume of timber to be replenished by the sustainably managed Austrian forests. 95 tonnes of CO2 was removed from the atmosphere when the trees were growing and will be stored in the structure over its lifetime.
Eurban uses BIM processes to deliver every building, there was no BIM execution plan within the brief of this project, nevertheless Eurban always produces a 3D model to quantify and design the structure. This is an essential part of Eurban’s design process. After an intensive iterative drawing approvals process between Eurban and the architects, the GA plans, sections and elevations are ‘signed off’ for fabrication. After the lead designer signs off Eurban’s drawing package, the building is then prepared for fabrication. At this stage Eurban are in close communication with the factories and a CAD/CAM model compatible with the CNC machines is sent to them for interpretation and another series of cross checks of CAD files and information is embarked upon. This process is a prime example of Design for Manufacture and Assembly DfMA in action.
When the CLT and glulam is in production and the site teams are mobilising for the start on site date there are several other important tasks that require BIM and digital software. These are related to the assembly of the project on site. The temporary works and edge protections packages are an essential part of the Health and Safety documentation on all projects. These are produced by Eurban engineers and the site directors and supervisors need to closely follow the plans for each project. This is essential for the safety of all site operatives and visitors and passers-by during the assembly of the building.
Eurban are specialists in the design, supply and assembly of mass timber structures, so every project has an impact on our development as a company. Eurban operate a continual feedback loop with lessons learnt from one project feeding in to the next there is the ambition running through every level of the company to improve processes, services and ultimately the built environment.
The speed of assembly of cross laminated timber structures was critical and one of the key reasons for its specification. Only three articulated lorry loads of mass timber and one smaller lorry with the steel were delivered to site which is a very small number of deliveries compared to alternative building materials. With fewer deliveries coming to site there is improved safety at the site access as well as reduced pollution in the surrounding roads which is another key benefit of this Modern Method of Construction MMC.
Eurban designs the structure to be as efficient as possible in terms of material use and panel sizes. Nesting programmes are used to make the most efficient cuts out of the master panels which minimises waste. The production of CLT and glulam produces very low levels of waste. All the waste in the manufacture of the panels – i.e. off cuts and saw dust are used by neighbouring industies such as wood fibre insulation, paper or to power the factory itself.
Regents Park Open Air Theatre were a repeat end user client so the project held particular importance for Eurban due to its interesting context, design and end use. Care during the assembly stage of the project on site was especially important due to the sensitive nature of the site and this was something the team paid attention to. High profile projects located in central London such as this are a good experience for the company and the site teams in particular. As a company we are passionate about spreading the word about the benefits of mass timber structures. It is projects such as these that help to raise the profile of mass timber structures and to reach a wider audience.
Client: Regents Park Open Air Theatre
Architect: Reed Watts
Mass Timber Specialist: Eurban
Main Contractor: GPF Lewis
Project page: Regents Park Open Air Studio