Eurban - Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Project Details

Project - Regent's Park Open Air Theatre 

Sector - Commercial

Technology - CLT

Company - Eurban

Project Overview

A solid timber extension for Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, used cross laminated timber (CLT) to provide a new building providing rehearsal, catering and administration space.

In 2018, Reed Watts Architects, brought Eurban on board to deliver a new two-storey building located on a sensitive site in a Royal Park and Conservation area. To secure planning permission for a building in this context it was necessary for the architects to steer the project through an extensive consultation process with Westminster Council, the Royal Parks and other stakeholders.

The specification of solid timber as the superstructure was a key part of the success of the design. CLT was specified not only for its environmental credentials, its aesthetic potential and its light weight, but also for its speed of assembly. Reed Watts Architects designed this project with the intention to use CLT for the superstructure from the outset. Price and Myers engineers provided the initial engineering advice for the solid timber superstructure up to RIBA stage 3 and Eurban were brought on board to be part of the design team taking on the design, supply and installation of the project from RIBA stages 3/4 to 5. For the main contractor, GPF Lewis ,this was the first project in CLT so Eurban were able to provide the assurances they required for this significant element of the build.

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 and a total of 130m3 of solid timber was used in the walls, floors and roof of the building. It takes only seven 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 used advanced BIM processes to deliver the building, even though there was no BIM execution plan within the brief of this project, but Eurban produced 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.  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.

For the duration of the assembly of the solid timber structure a crane was used to offload and distribute the materials around the site. CLT and glulam were offloaded directly from the articulated lorries into position and just-in-time delivery is one of the selling points of this type of construction.

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 ‘offsite’ method of construction.  High profile projects located in central London such as this prove how successful the use of CLT and offsite manufacture can be and are landmark examples of the benefits of designing and building solid timber structures.

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