Winner: Wiehag – Abbey Wood Crossrail Station
Wiehag scooped this award for its outstanding work in designing, manufacturing and installing a ‘free form’ timber roof over the new Abbey Wood Crossrail station.
The complexity of the design and the unusual choice of material saw the timber specialist score highly on the judges’ cards, as the project required innovative thinking and has produced a roof that is very low-maintenance and has strong sustainability credentials.
Wiehag used glued laminated timber (also known as glulam) as the main material for the roof, which is modelled on a manta ray fish. Glulam is commonly used to form beams, columns and rafters in the UK, and rarely features as the main material of a roof.
Using timber in this way means some of the project’s carbon footprint is offset by the roof, which stores carbon instead of emitting it.
What’s more, the material boasts significant longevity, as it can be left exposed for up to 75 years without any maintenance.
The judges commented: “The way Wiehag used the timber to create the shapes and the architectural impact the roof has when you walk into the station is very strong.
“The way Wiehag used timber to create the shapes and the architectural impact the roof has when you walk into the station is very strong”
“It also required a lot of technical innovation to create an irregular shape in an irregular fashion.”
Creating the curved design while maintaining structural rigidity was achieved using a “hybrid construction technique”, as the company put it.
This involved the use of single and double-curved glulam, steel and cross-laminated timber (CLT) to form the distinctive shape.
The project involved close collaboration with main contractor Balfour Beatty, architect Fereday Pollard, and engineers Tony Gee and Partners.
Wiehag said its early engagement with the client’s design team and Balfour Beatty helped ensure the most cost-effective design was reached, which came it at just under £1m.
Weihag also had to overcome challenging logistical restrictions, as the site was very compact and involved working over a live railway. The company devised craneage and lift plans to ensure the components of the roof could be unloaded and installed correctly in the 52-hour possession period window.
The company hopes the success of the project can demonstrate how engineered timber can offer a genuine alternative to normal steel structures, and that glulam timber can be used successfully in a wide range of applications.
The roofing project was delivered on time and to budget, with Abbey Wood station opening in October 2017.
Its successful upgrade and striking roof are not only contributing to local development but transforming the image of the surrounding area.
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