One of the latest in a series of landmark building showcasing sustainable architecture and PEFC-certified timber is London’s Black & White Building.
The new seven-storey mass timber building in the heart of Shoreditch showcases timber as an alternative to conventional concrete and steel.
Design-led workspace specialist The Office Group (TOG) has come together with leading timber architectural practice Waugh Thistleton to explore a new approach to workplace design that is as efficient and sustainable as possible.
The previous building on the site – a 11,000sq ft structure painted black and white – couldn’t meet the area’s growing workspace demand, but was also unviable for extension, so TOG and Waugh Thistleton set out to create a building that minimised carbon in both its construction and, once complete, its operations. The architects proposed a structure built using cross laminated timber (CLT) and laminated veneer lumber (LVL).
The Black & White Building’s site was originally occupied by James Latham – one of the UK’s largest independent trade distributors of timber and with a history reaching back over 260 years – and was actually James Latham’s first drying shed and warehouse.
James Latham provided timber for the building’s curtain walling system that was installed by specialist contractor Pacegrade Ltd using PEFC certified European Spruce from German supplier Holz Schiller. One of the most sustainably engineered woods on the market, the material met the project’s low-carbon requirements and provided a sustainable and stylish finish to meet the specifiers’ exacting brief.
As the timber components are prefabricated offsite and precision-engineered to be slotted together, the ‘screwed not glued’ building can be disassembled, rather than demolished at end-of-life, and therefore plays a part in circularity as the materials can be recovered and reused.
Overall, The Black & White Building creates 37% less embodied carbon than a comparable concrete structure and serves as a long-term carbon store for 1,014.7 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (55% of the building’s total) sequestered in the timber structure. It is expected to archive a BREEAM Excellent rating.
“The principal message of The Black & White Building is sustainability,” says Andrew Waugh. “This is a mainstream, grade-A central London office building, built entirely from timber. It clearly demonstrates that mass timber is a viable replacement for concrete and steel in the mainstream office market, saving thousands of tonnes of CO2. We’re trying to change the way we build, to transform the industry.”