This month marks the opening of the William Perkin High School in Greenford, West London, officially the UK’s largest timber building – a four-storey complex containing some 3,800 cubic meters of timber. Ramboll, the leading engineering, design and consulting company, were invited to draw on their decade of experience in Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) to produce the structural design for the buildings frame, panels and connection details.
The new £19 million school will specialise in science and languages, and offer 1,200 pupils aged 11-18 years facilities such as a 750-seat performance auditorium, sports hall and sunlit central atrium running the full height of the building.
Gavin White, Associate Structural Engineer at Ramboll UK, commented:
“While originally planned as a concrete frame building, the school’s design shifted to a timber superstructure due to the distinct advantages timber offers in both cost and time. Even with snow on the ground and delivery restrictions from the surrounding residential area, the majority of the CLT structure was assembled in only 19 weeks. This is because CLT can be put up in any weather or temperature, and with a much smaller and less intrusive delivery schedule than concrete.
Internally the timber also forms a key design feature for the school – with both the sports hall and the buildings sunlit central atrium showcasing this bright, natural material.”
Other parties involved in the build included:
- William Perkin High School (client)
- KLH UK Ltd (CLT specialist)
- Kier Construction (main contractor)
- Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (architects)