AJ x Roca Event | Timber Innovation in Retrofit: Are Hybrid Structures the Way Forward?

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This was the fifth in a series of Roca/AJ thought leadership discussions focused on design in response to climate emergency. This panel brought together an architect, a leading client and a structural engineer to explore the opportunities and challenges of retrofit, with a particular focus on timber.

Chaired by AJ sustainability editor Hattie Hartman, the speakers were:

Amr Assaad, director at Buckley Gray Yeoman (AJ100 Practice of the Year) on the retrofit and extension of Technique (2022), a 1960s gin distillery in Clerkenwell, where almost 70% of the existing structure was retained while carving out new vertical spaces and adding three new floors using glulam and CLT.

Tyler Goodwin, founder and CEO of Seaforth on the retrofit of Victorian buildings on Greville Street, Clerkenwell (2022) with Groupwork, and the brutalist Space House (Richard Seifert and Partners, 1968) with Squire and Partners, currently on site.

Kelly Harrison, director at Whitby Wood, on Gramophone Works, Camden and Human Nature’s pioneering Phoenix project in Lewes.

Discussion topics included maximising the potential of existing foundations and structure, using whole life carbon assessments to inform material choices, fire risk, sustainable timber sourcing, specification to avoid use of toxic adhesives, end of life scenarios and more.



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