Regent's Park Theatre London: Timber Performs Perfectly

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre has used PEFC-certified cross laminated timber (CLT) to provide a stunning series of sustainable buildings.Regent's Park Open Air Theatre 2012. Photos By David Jenson Smaller

The first phase of the development had successfully used CLT with a series of buildings designed by Haworth Tompkins Architects and erected by Eurban. The new backstage area comprised of a new office block, dressing rooms, wardrobe area and workshops and front of house, a new box office and sheltered seating canopy. 

In 2018, Reed Watts Architects, brought Eurban back on board to deliver a new two-storey building located in the very sensitive site in a Royal Park and Conservation area. The new building provides 480sq m of rehearsal, catering and administration space. 

The specification of solid timber as the superstructure is a key part of the success of the design. CLT was specified not only for its wider environmental credentials, its aesthetic potential and its light weight, but also for its speed of assembly.

Studio 1. Photo David Jensen Smaller

The CLT was manufactured in Austria by Stora Enso using Spruce grown in sustainably managed forests. The glulam was manufactured by Pabst in a factory located close to Stora Enso in Austria. 

All the material is PEFC-certified and a total of 130m3 of solid timber was used in the walls, floors and roof of the building. 

It takes only seven minutes for this volume of timber to be replenished by the sustainably managed Austrian forests. 95 tonnes of CO2 was removed from the atmosphere when the trees were growing and will be stored in the structure over its lifetime.

For the duration of the assembly of the solid timber structure a crane was used to offload and distribute the materials around the site. CLT and glulam were offloaded directly from the articulated lorries into position and just-in-time delivery is one of the selling points of this type of construction.

With fewer deliveries coming to site there is improved safety at the site access, as well as reduced pollution in the surrounding roads which is another key benefit of this ‘offsite’ method of construction. High profile projects located in central London such as this prove how successful the use of CLT and offsite manufacture can be and are landmark examples of the benefits of designing and building solid timber structures.

Images courtesy of Eurban and David Jensen/Regents Park OAT