Dalston Works

Waugh Thistleton Architects, London, 2017

 

Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

The project is the world’s largest cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure, reaching a high point of nine storeys 

Daniel Shearing     Download Original

  • The project is the world’s largest cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure, reaching a high point of nine storeys    
  • Brick detail on the elevations    
  • The CLT structure used, composed of 140-200mm floor slabs and 100-140mm wall slabs, weighs 2,300 tonnes     
  • The building’s structural CLT panels are precisely machined, with prepared window openings, vapour and fire barriers and M&E channels    
  • View of the balconies    
  • The CLT was brought in 111 lorry-loads from Austria    
  • Main living space    
  • The equivalent of 2,325 trees were used to build Dalston Works    
  • The reception area    
  • 4,500m3 of timber was used in the structure    
  • Location plan    
  • Site plan    
  • Typical floor plan and ground floor plan    
  • Section AA    
  • North elevation    
  • Roof terrace detail section    
  • External wall and window junction detail    

This high-density, low-carbon mixed-use scheme in east London is one of the world’s largest CLT structures.

The scheme is a continuous composition embodying four segments set out asymmetrically in plan. The highest portion, on the west side of the slightly sloping site, continues the skyline of tallish buildings on Tyssen Street, which runs along the south-west of the site. Most of the 121 apartments are in this part of the development, which has a gated central courtyard and sits on a double-height concrete base structure. This, in turn, rests on a concrete raft, isolating the building from the HS1 tunnel (and forthcoming Crossrail 2) beneath it. 

There are more rental apartments in the seven-storey segment on the west side, facing into the central public realm space. On the west side of these, facing Dalston Lane, are five storeys of affordable and shared ownership apartments, and this grouping also sits on a concrete podium and raft. The east and west parts of the scheme are connected across the south side of the site by the five-storey Dalston Studios office block, whose east end faces Dalston Lane. 

A four-storey portion of the back wall of the Studios wing is no more than 300mm away from the flank wall of another apartment building – so bricklaying was impossible. The solution: high-pressure laminate cladding sections were attached to CLT panels in the factory, craned into the gap and there fixed to the superstructure.  

The CLT structure is wrapped with over 500,000 load-bearing brown and red Petersen-Tegl bricks, chosen to reflect surrounding Victorian and Edwardian housing. The two tones of brick emphasise the changing forms, giving a distinct appearance to each block. 

The full-height apartment windows are recessed to visually differentiate residential spaces from commercial ones, where windows have flush finishes. Deep brick reveals help animate the façades, providing a sense of solidity. 

The building’s structural CLT panels are precisely machined, with prepared window openings, vapour and fire barriers and M&E channels. Once the structure is up, internal walls can be fitted immediately. This seems a considerable advantage in Design and Build situations. The only unusual details are the concrete grout-plugs sunk into the edges of the floor panels, which the vertical panels bear down upon.

The architect conceived of the scheme as a village within a city, with the plan carefully modulated to break the large site into discernible volumes, orientated to maximise daylight into courtyards and living spaces. The building’s intricate brickwork references the surrounding Victorian and Edwardian housing and the detailing of local warehouses, and provides a contemporary addition to the local streetscape. Similarly, the landscaped courtyards provide calm spaces within an otherwise hard urban environment. 

Data

  • Begun: Jan 2015
  • Completed: Jun 2017
  • Floor area: 14,420m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Procurement: JCT11 Design and Build with bespoke amends 
  • Address: Martel Place, London, E8 2FR, United Kingdom

Professional Team