The truly unique commercial redevelopment of two adjoining mid-20th century properties is located in Clerkenwell, London. It has succeeded in harmonising and extending the useable space in a way that offers exceptional flexibility in its new commercial role, while simultaneously achieving outstanding levels of sustainability. The imaginative yet sensitive unification of the two outdated industrial buildings has created three attractive new floors, which helped achieve the ambitious overall financial, practical, and environmental goals for this building.
Working with developer General Projects, the client set out to deliver a development encapsulating high standards of architecture and specification, which would minimise waste of energy and resources. The result us a BREEAM Excellent rated building that is on course to be classified as Net Zero within its first year of operation, and Technique has earned wide acclaim for its attractive remodelling, utilising extensive elements of exposed engineered timber.
The lightweight glulam and CLT structure, designed by architects BGY and structural engineers HTS, has seen the redevelopment double the usable floor area to 74,000 sq ft, through the addition of three extra floors atop the original structure. The additional workspaces are light, open, and highly adaptable - occupants will benefit from large plan and airy working environments, where the exposed glulam columns and monolithic CLT floor slabs express the building's sustainability credentials.
This integrated package was delivered by specialist timber subcontractor B&K Structures in cooperation with Binderholz (CLT) and Derix (Glulam). The quality and accuracy of BKS' CNC cut elements in combination with advanced scheduling and site erection tools helped attain program deadlines, while lorry deliveries were cut by 70% on a site where space and complexity presented significant challenges.
Technique is considered to be a pathfinder project, amongst central London office redevelopments, to have utilised CLT to create a significant scale upwards extension. The offsite methodology not only answered the challenges of delivering greatly increased usable space, but the adaptability of the structure has ensured the property will remain flexible in the future.
Cross laminated timber proves to be a durable construction material when properly maintained and protected; its longevity reduces the frequency of replacements or demolitions. It therefore promotes resource efficiency and extending the lifespac of buildings. These aspects align with the circular economy's objective of waste reduction and resource maximization, which served as the central focus of the Technique project.
Use of CLT facilitates the capture and storage of CO2 from the atmosphere, contributing to climate change mitigation. By advocating for CLT in construction, carbon remains sequestered throughout the building's lifespan, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint. CLT panels exhibit excellent thermal insulation properties, improving a building's energy efficiency and reducing the need for excessive heating and cooling. Consequently, energy consumption is minimized, leading to a decreased environmental impact, which aligns with the circular economy's goal of optimisting resource use and minimising energy waste.
Across the additional upper floors in particular, occupants will benefit from large plan and airy working environments, where the exposed glulam columns and monolithic CLT floor slabs express the buidling's sustainability crednetials. The 600m3 of engineered timber were supplied with 100% PEFC chain of custody, locking in carbon for the life of the building, while the construction methodology, including the demountability of floor panels, will facilitate future adaptations.
When the time does come for eventual redevelopment, the engineered timber will save energy and resource in the dismantling process and allow for subsequent recycling versus other materials. The mass timber solution further reduces embodied carbon and transport requirements, while fabrication offers far better predictability and accuracy, resulting in minimal waste on site or in the factory.
Technique features low energy building services, draws on renewable power sources, and enhances biodiversity with both green and blue roofs. Correspondingly, the 600m3 of engineered timber carries PEFC certification and, coming from sustainabily managed European forests, can be shown to have regrown in just 142 seconds.
"Our team has worked together as pioneers in mass timber, delivering unique spaces which prioritise quality aesthetics over lettable space. For Technique we were also able to ensure cost certainty on the structural elements, meaning we had a pain/gain share agreement, so the client had reasonable cost certainty during construction"