Also last night at the TDA, Andrew Waugh from Waugh Thistleton Architects gave a talk about their nine-storey timber structure apartment building, the Murray Grove Tower or Stadthaus. He was a fantastic speaker and really brought to life the amazing feat they created with this building. They used laminated timber panels for all floor slabs (except the concrete slab on ground) and internal and external walls. Not sure if you’ve seen these panels before (they’ve been on Grand Designs), but they are created from three to five layers of 25mm x 75mm spruce planks and come precisely manufactured from Austria. They come pre-cut with door / window openings etc, and basically just go together with a few steel angles and nails. Amazingly fast construction, Andrew was saying a group of two installers, a truck driver and a supervisor would rock up from Austria with a truckload of wall panels on Tuesday, do another lot on Wednesday, and install the floor slabs on Thursday – so each floor was complete in three days. So the nine storeys were finished in nine weeks, or 27 days. Amazing! And over the nine storeys they lost 24mm due to the compression of the timber, and vertically I think there was about 3mm difference from floor to roof, meaning the installation of the applied external facade was much easier.
So time and cost savings all round, this is what you call a successful building. Also the Client was not interested in sustainability at all, they just wanted a cheap, standard development. So the internal and external finishes were standard – internally the walls were all finished in plasterboard. In some ways I like this, although it would be nice to see the natural timber in some areas, I like that you can have a building with ‘silent’ sustainable features, that looks like any other building. It’s so easily integrated, and I think will help make sustainability normal practice rather than visible fruit that is added on to get points.
This is a copy of the powerpoint Andrew ran, might not make as much sense without his phenomenal talk, but you should still get an idea of the building anyway.
And a WA News Article here.