A simple looking framing project with a number of challenges
Timbers of large lengths tend to twist slightly over their length when cut. Extreme precision was needed when cutting the slots and bolt holes. Many elements of the framework weighed close to a tonne, lifting and fitting the timbers required accurate communication from the carpenters and crane driver. Each post and beam was 300mm x 300mm over varying lengths, the longest being 7m. As the last aspect to go up, the timber frame needed to cater for any inconsistencies in the concrete.
A considered and bold statement
The exposed steelwork makes a bold statement. In a traditional frame, the bolt holes are plugged to hide any additional steelwork. There is no diagonal bracing, wind resistance coming from either steelwork or the structure of the building. The oak frame is attached to the building using steel flitch plates. The individual posts butt together and fix to cruciform steelwork. By ensuring posts are joined end to end at the steelwork junctions, rather than at beams that shrink in their width, the shrinkage associated with green oak is mitigated. Each floor has its own post, each being 3m in length.
In 2008, Accordia won the RIBA Stirling prize – the award given for the best building by a British architect. The judges commented: ‘This is high density housing at its very best, demonstrating that volume house-builders can deliver high quality architecture’