Wood In Architecture Issue 2, 2018

ENGINEERED WOOD 29 WOOD IN ARCHITECTURE • ISSUE 2 • 2018 T he result of a collaboration between Waugh Thistleton Architects, Arup and the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), MultiPly is a modular cross-laminated tulipwood pavilion, located at the V&A Museum’s Sackler Courtyard in London, United Kingdom. Comprised of a series of maze-like interconnected spaces that overlap and intertwine, the structure will encourage visitors to re-examine how to design and build. The flexible three-dimensional structure will be made out of 17 modules of American tulipwood cross-laminated timber with digitally fabricated joints. Owing to itsmodular structure, the pavilion can be taken apart and reassembled relatively easily. But on a deeper level, MultiPly faces the two biggest challenges we face today – housing and the effects of climate change, and presents the fusion of modular systems and sustainable construction materials as a solution. “The main ambition of this project is to publicly debate how environmental challenges can be addressed through innovative, affordable construction,” Andrew Waugh, co-founder of Waugh Thistleton Architects, said. “We are at a crisis point in terms of both housing and CO₂ emissions and we believe that building in a versatile, sustainablematerial such as tulipwood is an important way of addressing these issues.” TWO SIDES, SAME COIN In the day, the structure will offer promises of fun and play, labyrinths ushering visitors through stairs, corridors, over bridges, and open spaces in a merry dance, encouraging them to explore the potential of wood in architecture. The permeability of the space will also allow visitors to explore the concepts of space and light, drawing them in even as they peek through the façade and experience new and carefully considered views around them. But in the evenings, as day gives way to dusk, MultiPly turns in a quiet space, extending an invitation for peaceful contemplation and showing off the beauty of its natural material. At the bottom of it all, however, MultiPly explores a new, more sustainable way of building, and pioneers an innovative use of wood in architecture as it combines a modular design with a readily available carbon-negative material to demonstrate the aesthetic, structural and environmental properties of wood. MATERIALS Engineeredwood, CLT can be used to build walls and floors, and even the structure of entire buildings. A layered construction with the wooden planks turned at right angles with each successive layer, the resulting panel boasts strength in both directions, similar to plywood. As it can bemachined to incredibly high tolerances, CLT has been proven to be stronger than steel and concrete, making it ideal for prefabrication and rapid assembly, as it can lower construction time by an estimated 30 per cent. “Continuing our exploration of hardwood CLT on installations such as Endless Stair and The Smile, MultiPly provides a playful opportunity to experiment and innovate with this tactile and adaptable material,” concluded Carolina Bartram, project director of Arup. “CLT is usually made of softwood trees. TogetherwithArup, AHECstartedaprocess of experimenting with CLT made from fast-grown North American tulipwood. The planks are imported from the United States, but the panels themselves will be manufactured in theUnitedKingdom’s own fledging CLT factory in Scotland,” Roderick Wiles, AHEC regional director, concluded. “Testing has shown that the tulipwood is considerably stronger than spruce; it also has a superior appearance. We are positive that MultiPly will prove to be another great learning experience for us and a unique story that will serve as an inspiration for anyone wanting to design with wood.” | WIA Scale model of the pavilion Sketch of the render from above Sketch of the render looking into the Sackler Courtyard from Exhibition Road Unless otherwise stated, all images are credited to Waugh Thistleton Architects