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Homerton College

Homerton College was first established in 1768 so has a rich history and heritage to consider when investing in new facilities. Because of this the design team decided to use timber as their primary structural material. This was to echo other timber buildings in the surrounding area which have been around for centuries. The use of engineered timber gave the frame a harmony between those traditional building methods but also cutting-edge technology in timber engineering. The timber for the structural frame was Sweet Chestnut Glulam, an unusual but bold choice which allowed the structure to stand out from other projects. The vast majority of engineered timber is constructed out of softwoods, but in this case a hardwood timber gave a unique aesthetic whilst also providing a strong structural grade. 

The Dining Hall has eight imposing scissor trusses supported off glulam columns. These trusses span 13m and impressively don’t feature any steel connecting plates. All the joints are traditional mortice and tenon connections, fixed together with hardwood timber dowels. This resulting in a cost saving but also helped reduce the environmental impact of the frame. To ensure a smooth install, each frame was built in the Constructional Timber factory before being disassembled prior to dispatch. The site team expertly installed the frames with outstanding accuracy showing a very high level of workmanship. 




The servery features twelve 100 x 400 Sweet Chestnut glulam roof beams spanning across the roof at 1m centres. The beams were notched in two locations to allow for M&E to pass through seamlessly. The beams were then topped with a 60mm thick spruce CLT roof deck which provides the roof diaphragm. The servery is now a beautiful space where members of the college can select their meals.

The Buttery is constructed using a series of post and beam frames. The roof beams are connected to the columns with large mortice and tenon joints to avoid any steel plates. The frames then had a series of purlins to create an architectural grid shell roof. The frame was then topped with 100mm thick spruce CLT.

All three of these buildings combine to form a uniquely beautiful space that promotes the ethos of the college. They represent important traditions partnered with innovation.


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