Waugh Thistleton uses cross laminated timber to great effect

Waugh Thistleton Architects enlisted the help of Finnish company Stora Enso to create a privately built home in Highgate London.

This 400m2 home, built in just 9 months around an existing swimming pool comprises open living spaces, 3 bedrooms, an internal recording studio and is the second private contemporary home completed by Waugh Thistleton on Hurst Avenue, Highgate.

Groundworks started in January 2013, and the completed home delivered to the client in September 2013. The cross laminated timber (CLT) superstructure was erected in only 2 weeks.

CLT is increasingly used in the UK for education, healthcare and social housing projects where it has gained widespread recognition for its remarkable structural, environmental and wellbeing benefits. But, building one-off private homes from solid engineered timber is a relatively new concept in the UK, where single family homes have tended to be built using either traditional forms of construction or new innovative forms of timber frame construction. CLT is however providing compelling evidence of its suitability for this type of project.

CLT has important selling points for both social and private domestic architecture such as speed of construction, thermal insulation and good sound insulation. It also achieves excellent carbon savings and opens up design possibilities that are difficult to achieve in steel and concrete. Building with CLT means that it is possible to span large areas without the need for joins or other additions enabling dramatic cantilevers and other architectural features.

Restricted by the height of the previous building on this site CLT enabled us to minimise the structural zone in order to maximise the floor to ceiling heights. We also wanted large open spans without the need for down-stand beams Artificial light in the house is kept to a minimum, with the natural light captured and exploited by the use of large strategically placed windows.