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Saturday26 July 2014

Insulation solutions for Flimwell workshops by The Architecture Ensemble

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Wood fibre and sheep’s wool insulation have been specified for a set of eight sustainable timber workshops that are being constructed in 20ha of ancient woodland in East Sussex.

It seems an appropriate choice to use timber waste to insulate new timber workshops situated in a
picturesque woodland.

Gutex, a German-made insulating wood fibreboard, has been used to insulate four workshops that are being constructed in Yellowcoat Wood, 20ha of managed ancient woodland in East Sussex.

The units, which will eventually number eight, have all been designed by The Architecture Ensemble and are arranged around a central courtyard. They form phase II of a development spearheaded by David Saunders and Graham Peters of Woodland Enterprises, a charitable trust which supports the construction of sustainable timberbuildings.

Phase I was a barrel-vaulted timber office building, built in 2003 and designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley. The phase II workshops have been designed as flexible workspaces (B1 use) mainly for small local businesses that work with trees and wood and are involved in rural activities.

The buildings are virtually all timber, built from a combination of frames, prefabricated cross-laminated timber panels and douglas fir timber cladding. Each unit is 6m x 15m (a floor area of 90sq m) with a double-height cruck frame and the flexibility for a mezzanine floor to be inserted or interconnected to an adjoining unit.

The first two units have been completed using a panelised system with sheep’s wool insulation and 35mm-thick Pavatex external sarking board – a recycled wood fibre.

The next four units, nearing completion, have been built slightly differently from the first two, using cross-laminated timber panels by Austrian company Binderholz for the walls and roof, as well as using Gutex fibreboard insulation.

The piling for the final two units is in place, but construction cannot start yet since it is dependent on the funding generated through the sales of the preceding units – although five have already been sold.

Unusually, because this project is being completed in phases, it has given Steven Johnson, director of The Architecture Ensemble, a rare opportunity to learn from the
construction method used on the first two units and to alter and refine his design.

As a result the last four workshops have taken half the time – three months – to construct compared with the first two, and have also cost less to build – £90,000 per unit compared to approximately £100,000 for the first two.

Project team

Client Woodland Enterprises, Structural engineer (shell) Buro Happold, Main contractor W G Pritchard & Sons, Groundworks contractor Derek Greenwood & Sons, Carpenter stage 1 The Green Oak Carpentry Company, Timber fabricator Inwood Developments, Cross laminated panel producer Binderholz, Insulation stage 1 Second Nature Thermafleece PB20, Insulation stage 2 Ecological Building Systems Gutex Woodfibre Insulation Boards, Joinery Westgate Joinery, PolycarbonateTwinfix

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