Broomwood Hall Upper School

Innovative glulam roof structure

Client: Broomwood Hall School Ltd

Location: London

Completed: 2010

Architect: Dinwiddie MacLaren

Materials: Glulam, steel connections

An otherwise unachievable project made possible with timber engineering

Broomwood Hall Upper School is a private school based in Wandsworth, South West London, that needed a new dance and assembly hall, with the design calling for a timber engineered structure to be incorporated into an existing Victorian four storey building.

The 1872 building was originally a private house in the Italian gothic style. Alterations over the years had compromised the original proportions, but the striking six-storey ‘campanile’ had been preserved.

The structure for the new dance hall at Broomwood Hall School was originally envisaged by the architects, Dinwiddie MacLaren, to be a grid shell roof, with no visible impact from street level.

The benefit of gridshell is that it gets its strength from curvature but from a grid or lattice structure. However, the school had a finite budget, so a gridshell structure wasn’t possible, making a significant aesthetic compromise extremely likely.

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