21.09.2016  | ZÜBLIN Timber

ZÜBLIN Timber supplies LENO® CLT elements to present ‘The Smile’ at London Design Festival 2016

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  • ‘The Smile’ – First project worldwide to use large hardwood Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) panels made from tulipwood.
  • Züblin Timber produced and installed the entire timber structure consisting of 12 massive LENO® Cross-Laminated Timber elements.

Aichach, 21 September 2016 The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) has collaborated with Alison Brooks Architects, Arup, London Design Festival and ZÜBLIN Timber to present a cross-laminated tulipwood structure, ‘The Smile’, at the Chelsea College of Art Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground from 17 September until 12 October 2016.

‘The Smile’ is one of the Festival’s landmark projects, which can be inhabited and explored by the public. The spectacular, curved, tubular timber structure is a 3.5m high, 4.5m wide and 34m long beam curving up at both ends. Showcasing the structural and spatial potential of cross-laminated American tulipwood, Alison Brooks' concept is the first ever ‘mega-tube’ made with construction-sized panels of hardwood CLT. 

Züblin’s timber construction entity has an important part in the project: The contract for the delivery and installation of all LENO® Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) elements for the entire timber structure was awarded to Züblin Timber of Aichach, Germany. 

CLT is an engineered timber that can be used to make walls and floors of entire buildings. It has a layered construction with the wood fibres turned at right angles in each successive layer, creating a panel with equal strength in both directions, just like plywood. Weight for weight, CLT is stronger than concrete and it can also be machined with very low tolerances. This makes it ideal for prefabrication and rapid assembly, reducing construction times by up to 30%. 

CLT is usually made of a softwood spruce. Together with AHEC and ARUP, ZÜBLIN Timber has started a process of experimenting with CLT made from fast-grown North American tulipwood. Testing has shown that the tulipwood is considerably stronger than spruce; it also has a superior appearance.

‘The Smile’ is the first project in the world to use large hardwood CLT panels. In fact the entire structure is made from just 12 huge tulipwood panels, each up to 14m long and 4.5m wide. Fabricating these panels in a real CLT production plant at Züblin Timber has been an important step forward, showcasing how the material can be used for commercial projects.