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Farnham Place

Farnham Place

Structural Highly Commended 2014

Project Title: Farnham Place, Southwark, London
Client: Allies and Morrison
Architect: Allies and Morrison
Structural Engineer: Davies Maguire + Whitby
Main contractor: Balfour Beatty Construction Scottish and Southern Limited
Joinery company: Raphael Contracting Ltd
Timber Cladding Contractor: NDM Metal and Roofing and Cladding Ltd
Structural Laminated Timber: KLH UK Ltd
Structural Timber: Houston Cox

Farnham Place completes the group of buildings that form Allies and Morrison’s studios in Southwark, London SE1. The expansion includes the refurbishment of a Grade II listed Victorian warehouse at 89 Southwark Street and, to the rear, the construction of a new timber building which completes the street edge along Farnham Place.

The new-build component has been constructed using a cross laminated timber structure

clad in a stained Siberian Larch rain-screen, referencing 18th Century timber buildings typical of Southwark. The rain-screen appears to fold as it wraps up and over the roof.

The cross laminated timber structural system was selected, in part, to provide speed of construction, allowing the overall development to be made weather-tight as quickly as possible. The wall panels resist lateral loads extremely well, removing the need for cross bracing or special connections required for a steal frame. Substantially fewer components were used which reduced the site fixing time: the superstructure for the new build element was complete in 6 weeks.

The timber panelling system also helped limit overall costs. It allowed us to dispense with some internal linings which, in turn, minimised waste and the lightweight construction provided savings in foundation design.

The structural strategy of using cross laminated ply to form the walls, floors and roof of the new building created a clear space free of structure and obstacles. The timber soffits are exposed and stained white. The joints between the panels in the ceilings are opened up to accept track from which the lighting, incorporating fire detection, is suspended. This detail also allowed us to co-ordinate the standard cross laminated timber panel with a 1.5m planning grid.

Cross laminated timber performs well in fire: the panelised nature of the structure allows allternate load paths and any charring resulting from fire protects the unaffected material beneath. The requirement for fire protection to the structure was therefore reduced. The floors and walls also form fire compartments, negating the need for additional work and reducing the programme.

The cross laminated timber panels provide an excellent thermal performance which reduces energy demand. In the Victorian warehouse, the roof has been replaced with a new timber roof incorporating a composite timber structure and clad in zinc. Combined with the reuse of the Listed Building, this reduces the scheme’s embodied energy when compared with a full new build and other construction methods, such as concrete or steel.

The new building sets back to form a roof terrace at 2nd floor. This deck, and the benches in the hard landscaping to the south of the building, are finished in European oak. The timber selection was based on a predicted durability and the wood’s anticipated silvering over time.

Extensive use was also made of timber in the fit out. Timber tongue and groove painted softwood boarding was used to line the cores of the existing building and in the modelshop on the ground floor, work benches and storage cupboards are all formed from high quality birch ply.