Stadthaus

Stadthaus

There is nothing in the building regulations that prohibits high-rise timber buildings, although the practical limit (and current
code limitation) for stud wall timber frame is seven storeys. The Stadthaus (German for townhouse) is – with eight floors of timber structure – the tallest habitable timber building in the world.

There is nothing in the building regulations that prohibits high-rise timber buildings, although the practical limit (and current code limitation) for stud wall timber frame is seven storeys. The Stadthaus (German for townhouse) is – with eight fl oors of timber structure – the tallest habitable timber building in the world. And architects and structural engineers are already working on timber buildings that will be considerably taller. The building is insulated and airtight beyond UK requirements. Mechanical ventilation of all rooms includes a heat recovery system that retains 70% of the heat that would normally be lost when return air is expelled. Photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof generate a modest supply of renewable energy. With sustainability high on the agenda, the design meets the Lifetime Homes standard and includes a green-wall wrapping on the southern elevation of the building to encourage local biodiversity. A variety of new shrubs and trees will create an ecologically sustainable ‘pocket’ park. The development includes a landscaped playground for children on the south side, which parents can overlook from half the apartments. The unusual feature is the cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels used as load-bearing walls and fl oor ‘slabs’. There are no beams or columns anywhere and the structure is amenable to openings being created in walls with relative ease. The architects and engineers had prior experience of CLT, gained through a variety of low rise housing, commercial, educational and industrial projects. Their interest in using CLT arose from an ‘environmental’ position and a desire to make timber more readily accepted in the UK, especially for tall structures that have hitherto been feasible only with inorganic building materials such as concrete, masonry and steel.

More case studies

In 2015, the architectural practice Squire and Partners purchased a dilapidated three storey department store in the centre of Brixton.

In 2019 an explosion of colour appeared on the sedate lawn of Dulwich Picture Gallery. It was the Colour Palace, a timber pavilion painted in exuberant geometric patterns and stripes in a kaleidoscope of zinging neon colours.