Ramboll recently presented at the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE) conference on Elegance in Structures in Nara, Japan. The conference theme dealt not only with the physical forms of structures, but more widely elegant structural solutions including analytical procedures, sustainable structures and solutions to natural disasters.
Oliver Neve presented a paper titled Combining Timber and Concrete for a Sustainable Future which he co-authored with Jonathan Bawcombe and Gavin White. This discussed the hybrid construction of the Julian Study Centre at the University of East Anglia and how it has achieved its status as a very low carbon building.
In a world first the centre, which is also known as Building 57, combines a sustainable low carbon ethos with innovative construction methods to create a truly unique building with an exceptionally low carbon footprint. Its humble appearance cloaks an ambitious structure which provides creative solutions to some of the challenges faced by the modern construction industry. Modelling a range of possible construction methods allowed the optimum combination for the lifetime embodied and operational carbon implications of the building to be determined. Cross laminated timber (CLT) walls with precast concrete floors were found to produce the lowest carbon dioxide emissions.
The Julian Study Centre has exceeded expectations and demonstrated a sustainable approach that is scalable to other buildings. In the long term, it will provide a fully flexible space that continues to meet both the client’s requirements and the needs of society in relation to carbon dioxide emissions. Playing to each material’s strengths, the timber/concrete solution has produced an elegant structure that makes a clear advance in sustainability.