Glue laminated timber, (GLT) is a sustainable, elegant and practical alternative to steel. Regional Architects made an ambitious move, considering habitually overlooked timber, for the curved structural components of the Cork Medical Centre - a move that paid off.
Dorrigo’s Cork Memorial Medical Centre is an exquisite example of the synergy between environmental sustainability and the architectural beauty of timber. The environmentally friendly components of this remarkable building extend from the use of timber and other natural materials in the design and construction, to its power, heating, and sewage systems.
Using Hyne Timber’s Beam 21, the three curved beams, each measuring 36.6m in length, make up the key structural element of the building which was designed to complement the shape of the surrounding landscape.
Produced within four weeks at Hyne Timber’s GLT Plant in Maryborough, the beams were easily transported as four equal parts, and were prefabricated with their connections either supplied or already attached. They simply required lifting into place onsite and the structure was complete.
Architect, Dan Stevens from Regional Architects praised the level of reliability, professionalism and courtesy throughout the beam production stage.
“When Hyne Timber told the builder and I that we could rely on a tolerance of less than 10mm over the 36.6m length of the beam, I must confess, we each raised an eyebrow! However, Hyne Timber knew what they were talking about. We ended up with 3mm at each end and three cigarette paper thin join lines. They were simply perfect.” Architect, Dan Stevens concluded.
The hardwood curved beams demonstrated in the Cork Memorial Medical Centre can be produced with a curvature down to a 5m radius for the more creative and unique designs featuring a soft, arch style finish.
The building’s unique design also assists the heating system through the immense thermal mass stores created by the use of timber in the construction of the building, which helps regulate the interior’s temperature, reducing the energy needed to power artificial heating and cooling. Other elements such as the use of high value insulation, double glazing, low VOC paints, cross ventilation, natural light, and the living roof all contribute to the comfortable environment of the interior, and provide passive health benefits to staff and visitors.
The need for eco-friendly projects is more important than ever due to the environmental damage of our mass energy consumption, which is ever increasing through our expanding population. Building with sustainably sourced wood is an obvious solution to reduce carbon footprint while pushing the boundaries of modern design and architecture.
Federal, state and local governments are part of the shift towards sustainable building materials with Tasmania recently announcing themselves as the first state to introduce a Wood Encouragement Policy. They won’t be the last.
Hyne Timber has recently developed innovations that enable production of small section pine GLT members with a curvature down to a 1.5m radius.