Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

AJ Specification 05.12 – Timber

  • Comment

Case studies by Burwell Deakins, Murray O’Laoire/A&D Wejchert and Aukett Fitzroy Robinson

Editorial - Felix Mara

It is just over two years since we reworked the focus and layout of AJ Specification and, although the revised format is working well, we’ve decided to give our introductory section a new lick of paint. Our news editor, Rakesh Ramchurn, winner of the PPA (Professional Publishers Association) affiliated Periodicals Training Council’s Most Promising Postgraduate Student Journalist of the Year award for 2012, has played a central role in this makeover and our designer, Tom Carpenter, has also tweaked the layout of this section to accommodate slots for news coverage, an opinion piece, an interview a calendar and a book review.

This month’s theme is timber and our overview looks at engineered timber, focusing on three industry specialists, architect Liam Dewar of specialist timber contractor Eurban, structural engineer Steve Webb of Webb Yates and Chris Brunsdon of The Performance Window Group. We’ve eschewed timber rainscreen-clad buildings in this month’s case studies and focused on timber applications in other specific areas.

Our first case study, Burwell Deakins Architects’ exquisitely executed Loughborough Design School is interesting for its internal joinery. Murray O’Laoire Architects and A&D Wejchert & Partners science, arts and technology facility for Clongowes Wood College has some very accomplished timber ceilings and furniture and Aukett Fitzroy Robinson’s M&S Cheshire Oaks is of particular interest as an environmentally intelligent retail project.

Finally, for the second year running, our designer, Tom Carpenter, has been nominated as Business Media Designer of the Year in the PPA awards for his work on AJ Specification. We wish him luck at the awards ceremony next month.

Design School, Loughborough University by Burwell Deakins Architects

An arrangement of volumes underpinned by the teaching and learning practices of the Design School, this building is an assemblage of concrete, timber and glass that creates a collaborative working environment that communicates the University’s expertise to industry and the wider world.

The design prioritises passive sustainable solu- tions, with extensive natural ventilation within a deep plan building. The spatial arrangement, materials and products specified combine to create a thermally stable and low carbon home for the University’s various design disciplines.

Contemporary materials and technically innovative products are used throughout the building. Timber was specified for internal finishes due to the range of products available with a timber finish and its inherent natural warmth, which is enhanced when juxtaposed with the industrial palette of exposed concrete, coloured accent panels and neutral walls.

Nicholas Burwell, director, Burwell Deakins Architects

Science, Arts and Technology Facility, Clongowes Wood College by Murray O’Laoire/A&D Wejchert & Partners

Clongowes Wood College is a Jesuit- run boarding school with more than 450 students in the fine pastoral landscape of County Kildare. Murray O’Laoire Architects was appointed to design a series of new buildings to complement the existing college campus at Clongowes, working to a masterplan prepared by A&D Wejchert & Partners Architects.

The Science, Arts and Technology Facility comprises physics, chemistry, biology laboratories, an art room and a lecture theatre. It replaces the existing science laboratories and art room and is designed to incorporate the latest sustainable concepts and teaching methods, achieving the highest international standards. This new facility has itself become a teaching tool, demonstrating how buildings work and how careful use and management affect running and maintenance costs.

The palette of materials was chosen to stand the test of time, in keeping with the college motto ‘Aeterna non caduca’ (‘Things that last, not things that perish’). Internal walls are board-marked, in- situ concrete with GGBS aggregate. The soffits are also concrete, with extensive use of acoustic panels and radiant panels at high level. In the sports hall, the walls are lined with oak acoustic panels at high level and glulam Finnish Douglas fir beams span 33 metres.

Stephen O’Driscoll, associate director, Murray O’Laoire Architects

M&S Cheshire Oaks, Ellesmere Port by Aukett Fitzroy Robinson


M&S’s new BREEAM ‘Excellent’ store at Cheshire Oaks is part of the company’s drive to become the world’s most sustainable major retailer by 2015. Aukett Fitzroy Robinson’s aspiration for the design was to set a new benchmark for sustainable retail and achieve carbon neutrality in the construction and end use through an emphasis on reduction of CO2 emissions.

Sustainable design techniques and materials, including FSC-certified timber and a hemp and lime combination known as Hempcrete, reduce the environmental impact of the building. In place of a traditional steel structure and roof, 1,400m3 of FSC-certified European whitewood glulam timber has been used, supported by steel columns, creating a striking and attractive wave-style roof. The objective of using as few materials as possible allowed Aukett Fitzroy Robinson to expose the timber and other structural materials, which then become the finished surfaces.

Suzette Vela Burkett, studio director, Aukett Fitzroy Robinson

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs

AJ Jobs