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Case Study #2: Crawford Partnership

Kentish Town, London by Crawford Partnership

Start on site date
September 2007
Completion date
July 2008
Structural engineer
Malishev Wilson
Gross internal floor area

The rear extension to this three-storey Victorian terraced house consists of an extra room on the first floor, which provides a roof for a new kitchen and dining area.

A timber and birch plywood stressed-skin construction technique usually used for industrial buildings was employed to create the new spaces. This makes the extension much lighter than a metal-framed design - and 10 per cent cheaper to build.

The structure comprises of timber ribs, to which 15mm-thick birch plywood was glued, forming a rigid box. The plywood serves as a flange in the I-beam, increasing stiffness.

Once set, the newly formed box-panel has a structural efficiency roughly equal to that of an equivalent aluminium structure in terms of its strength-to-weight ratio. Spans of up to 6m can be achieved, even longer if the ribs are laminated.

Gennady Vasilchenko-Malishev, partner, Malishev Wilson Engineers

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