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Case Study #2: Crawford Partnership

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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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