We get all excited in North America when we see cross-laminated timber (CLT) or other fancy solid wood technologies, but in Europe, they have been doing it for years. Here is a small office in Bischofsheim, Germany that shows how it’s done with CLT from KLH, the Austrian company that was a pioneer in the industry (it supplied the CLT for the first wood tower we ever showed on TreeHugger)
The architects, Mind Architects Collective, describe the project:
The dream of the client was also to move his office back to where he lived and to nevertheless take advantage of all the urban possibilities of modern, contemporary work (co-working) in a small space and in a small village. In addition, the new structure was expected to offer cost security, also with a view to a potential later sale or a reduction in the size of the office. Sustainability was to be a key consideration in all areas.
The design is simple and flexible:
From a long-term perspective, the interior with its separate cores is designed in such a way that the house could be easily transformed into a pure or partial residential building at any time. The deliberately exclusive use of wood as a construction, insulating and aesthetic material both inside and out was intended to meet the guiding principles of sustainability and simplicity.
CLT is built up of small slats of wood laid up and glued together under pressure. In most of the buildings we have shown with exposed CLT such as in Susan Jones’ house in Seattle, the slats of the wood are left exposed. Unusually, in this project, there appears to be a layer of plywood laminated on top.
Judging from this construction photo, it appears that the plywood was installed on site. It is a bit of a shame actually, CLT exposed is quite beautiful.
The architects describe the benefits of CLT:
The elements are statically stressed construction elements and are used as wall, ceiling and roof panels in solid timber construction projects. Thanks to the cross-wise structure of the wood, expansion and shrinkage in the panel plane is reduced to an insignificant minimum. At the same time, this raises the structural load capacity and dimensional stability in the panel plane. Using the KLH elements gave us the freedom to create a spacious and flexible architecture without restrictions regarding sustainability and increasing building costs.
One of the complaints we hear in North America, where people are used to stick-framing, is how much wood is actually going into these buildings; you certainly see that here. But it is all sustainably harvested wood from forests that have been reforested and regenerated for generations. More photos at Architizer and at Mind Architects Collective.