Maggie’s Oldham – the world’s ﬁrst building made from hardwood cross-laminated timber (CLT) – opened earlier this year. The ﬁrst ever structural use of engineered tulipwood for an entire building was created from CLT manufactured and installed by ZÜBLIN Timber and could be a trailblazer for future CLT adoption.
Maggie’s is the well-known charity that provides practical and emotional support to people living with cancer. Built on the grounds of specialist NHS cancer hospitals, Maggie’s Centres are warm and welcoming places with qualified professionals on hand to offer a programme of support shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing.
Designed by dRMM Architects, engineered, manufactured and installed by ZÜBLIN Timber, Maggie’s Oldham is constructed from 20 panels of five-layer cross laminated American tulipwood, ranging in size up to 12m long.
American tulipwood CLT was pioneered in 2013 by dRMM, AHEC and Arup for its unparalleled strength and lightness, speed of construction and sustainability and tulipwood CLT is one of the most sustainable timber species because of how fast it replenishes, through natural growth alone. American tulipwood is approximately 70% stronger in bending than a typical CLT grade softwood with the structural CLT panels for Maggie’s Oldham developed by CLT specialists, ZÜBLIN Timber.
“From the Oldham project inception we knew it was the right material for Maggie’s, not only structurally and visually, but conceptually,” says dRMM co-founder Alex de Rijke. “An elevated, open plan, all-timber and glass building – with trees growing through it and every detail considered from the perspective of use, health, and delight was always going to be special. The applications for sustainably grown hardwood, particularly fast growing tulipwood CLT is endless.”
For ZÜBLIN Timber (and all project participants), Maggie’s Oldham is one of the most important developments in a decade of research and development into structural timber innovation and one that could broaden the use of CLT in the construction industry.
“This centre proves that a building made of tulipwood CLT is possible and it can be done on a strict budget and in record time.” says David Venables, European Director of AHEC.
A difference between the Endless Stair and Maggie’s panels was that the former were handmade, while the panels were machine-produced by seasoned German CLT manufacturer ZÜBLIN Timber – who also produced tulipwood CLT panels for AHEC’s The Smile – a 34m upward curving rectangular tube designed by Alison Brooks. Some panels used in Maggie’s Oldham were also curved. They also included custom cut-outs and a routed recess detail, so doors could close ﬂush without additional door frames. The centre stands atop 4m steel legs on concrete pads within Royal Oldham Hospital grounds. Its garden slopes down before and panoramic vistas stretch to the Pennines.
dRMM chose tulipwood for the design of Maggie’s Oldham for the positive influence wood has on people. Wood is known to significantly reduce blood pressure, heart rates and recovery times: it has more health and wellbeing benefits than any other building material, according to Wood Housing Humanity Report 2015. Among those won over is Maggie’s Chris Watson.
“Our initial nervousness about using this wood this way proved ill-founded,” he said. “It was an extremely efficient construction process, completed in a year, due to the large amount of offsite fabrication.”
“ZÜBLIN Timber pioneered CLT back in 1993. Now, with over 25 years of experience in designing and building in CLT, ZÜBLIN Timber prooves again to be a pioneer and CLT specialist by introducing hardwood CLT.” said Daniel Kreissig, Project Manager of ZÜBLIN Timber and responsible for UK projects.
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