Structural and facade engineering for a new multi-storey office building in Shoreditch with an innovative timber frame.

The Architectural Review Future Projects Award for Best Office 2022

The Black & White Buildings is a new office building comprising two adjacent blocks five and six storeys tall, featuring a timber superstructure and a concrete substructure. Our structures and facade engineering groups have collaborated on the project, allowing for an efficient, integrated design approach in-house.

By using engineered timber for the building’s entire superstructure – including core and staircases – we have limited the embodied carbon to just 165kgCO2e/m2, below the 2030 LETI target for office buildings.

Our structures team was tasked with achieving long spans of up to 10 metres between internal columns within a restricted floor-to-ceiling height. Enabling these long spans, we specified high performance Laminated Veneer Lumber and designed internal beams as continuous over their supports, resulting in unconventional connections between beam and column.

Lateral stability presented another challenge; the fully glazed north end of the building resulted in significant eccentricity that couldn’t be dealt with solely in the CLT core walls. Steel cross bracing carefully integrated in the lightwell’s façade – the only non-timber structural elements above ground – added enough stiffness to prevent excessive twisting of the building.

Our facades team has been responsible for developing facade options and types, designing the curtain walling and creating solar shading, which uses a timber fin design. Every element has been assessed to ensure the best fire rating, with an advanced sprinkler system integrated that would drench the facade in the event of fire.

London, UK

TOG (The Office Group)

Waugh Thistleton