Sustainable building could help solve UK housing shortage

Sustainable building could help solve UK housing shortage

As the country strives to build more homes to meet the growing demands of the property market, could affordable, carbon-neutral building be the answer?

The first UK-built sustainable structure manufactured from British cross-laminated timber (CLT) – a manufactured timber that can offer a cost-effective alternative to other materials – has just gone on show in Sackler Courtyard at the V & A Museum in South Kensington, London until October 2018.

The nine-metre high wooden pavilion made from American tulipwood has been created by the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre. It is being showcased to underline how innovative design and construction can offer an affordable, zero emission building solution to the UK’s housing shortage.

Architects Waugh Thistleton collaborated with the American Hardwood Export Council and ARUP to come up with the new MultiPly concept; a structure demonstrating the suitability of modular cross-laminated construction as a carbon-neutral answer to the UK’s need to build more new, cost-effective houses at a faster rate.

On-site assembly can speed up building process

The timber pavilion comprises 17 individual modules which are linked by digitally fabricated joints. The entire structure can be transported as a flat pack and then assembled by slotting components together on-site. This technique is being celebrated by the creators as a viable building option that can be scaled up to assist and speed up building some of the 250,000 new homes needed each year across the UK to meet growing demand.

Constructed from a complex stack of stairs, spaces and corridors that are interconnected and overlap, the pavilion offers visitors a labyrinthine experience to explore state of the art construction techniques and materials.

Addressing environmental challenges

Andrew Waugh, co-founder of Waugh Thistleton Architects, said: “The main ambition of this project is to publicly debate how environmental challenges can be addressed through innovative, affordable construction.

“We are at a crisis point in terms of housing and CO2 emissions and believe that building in a versatile, sustainable material such as tulipwood is an important way of addressing these issues.”

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