In keeping with its educational ambitions, the Academy is housed within an architecturally striking and advanced two-storey structure where engineered timber is a key element to a hybrid design, optimising space and the beauty of the materials employed, aiming to promote collaborative working, sustainability and innovation in an environment that is both carbon neutral and optimised for productivity.
HLM’s design has pushed the boundaries for the application of engineered timber, seeking to create an inspirational learning environment by maximising the technical and aesthetic capabilities of the materials. This required innovation solutions, most evident in the panoramic glazed elevation and the extensive roof structure. Close collaboration between project partners Morrison Construction, B&K Structures, Waterman Group, Engenuiti, Stora Enso, and Rubner was required to deliver the diagrid style roof structure together with the diagonal glulam columns which define the building’s striking appearance.
Highly visible externally and internally, NMIS’s unique structure identity offers an 18 x 80m column-free space, maximising flexibility, and the potential for reconfiguration. The prefabricated diagrid structure and panelised CLT rood were assembled onsite, with bespoke CLT rooflight frames being formed as an offsite solution to increase efficiency, speed, and accuracy. Visible on the skyline, the 32 x 12m ‘window to the world’ provides a view into the facility, framed by the dramatic glulam structure that springs above the office and collaborative spaces – an emblematic architectural statement for the project.
The dramatic glulam diagrid frame has earned acclaim and is a material client would look to use again as it exemplifies the innovative and sustainable goals they value.
When properly maintained and protected, CLT proves to be a durable construction material, making it particularly advantageous. Its long-lasting nature reduces the need for frequent replacements or demolitions, thereby promoting resource efficiency and extending the lifespan of buildings. This aligns with the circular economy’s core principles of waste reduction and maximising resource value, as demonstrated in the NMIS Glasgow project.
Furthermore, the use of wood CLT contributes to carbon mitigation by capturing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This carbon sequestration persists throughout the building’s lifespan, leading to a reduced carbon footprint. Additionally, CLT panels exhibit exceptional thermal insulation properties, enhancing energy efficiency and reducing the dependence on artificial heating and cooling systems. This, in turn, lowers energy consumption and diminishes environmental impact.
By incorporating CLT into construction practices, multiple facets of the circular economy are advanced, including resource efficiency, waste reduction, carbon sequestration, recyclability, and support for local economies. Consequently, CLT serves as a valuable component of sustainable building practices, aligning with the principles of the circular economy.
The Skills Academy has been designed to operate without the use of fossil fuels for its energy generation. Instead, it prioritises ‘fabric first’ passive principles, low U-values and energy efficiency, making use of 100% renewable energy generated onsite. Not only does engineered timber store significant amounts of carbon for the lifetime of the development, but the relatively low total of man hours required for its erection and the type of plant require, further reduce the embodied energy of the development.
Thanks to offsite manufacturing, waste materials in this project were minimised. The manufacture of the CLT superstructure utilised 33% of each tree, with the highest quality timber used to make the prefabricated panels. Thanks to Stora Enso’s integrated supply chain, 66% of the lower quality material was directed from the sawmills to consumer products such as renewable packaging, using 99% of each tree.
We wanted our design to live and breathe the values of NMIS, ultimately creating a space where people can work together, feel inspired, and push the boundaries of manufacturing using the latest facilities and infrastructure at their disposal