UK’s largest full timber structure approved for London

THE FORMER Holborn Town Hall is to be redeveloped into the UK’s largest and tallest timber building. The office block will be the first of its kind in the UK and will be built on the corner of Gray’s Inn Road and Clerkenwell Road.

The embodied carbon rating of the building’s timber structure should outperform the UK Green Building Council’s Building the Case for Net Zero Office baseline target by more than 50%.

Planning permission was granted by Camden Council and developers Piercy&Co will deliver the project, which was commissioned by Global Holdings.

The 95,000 sq ft full timber frame building has been designed by Piercy&Co to include eight floors of bright, light workspace, a communal roof terrace and yoga deck, and five landscaped terraces with city views. A restaurant at ground level will bring occupants and locals together, while a fully equipped active commuting hub will promote green travel to and from the building.

The main building’s full timber structure will be made from a highly sustainable glulam frame with cross-laminated timber slabs, resulting in an embodied carbon intensity much lower than that of a typical office development.

Significantly, the embodied carbon rating of the building’s timber structure, combined with its high-performance façade, should outperform the UK Green Building Council’s ‘Building the Case for Net Zero Office’ baseline target by over 50%. The structural embodied carbon is very low, and with over 2,400TCO2e stored within the timber, the timber structure is effectively carbon negative during its lifetime.

Piercy&Co director Harry Bucknall said, “The decision to replace a building is not one that is ever taken lightly, and in this instance is a consequence of detailed whole-life carbon studies, concluding that this was the most environmentally responsible approach.

“[With this approach] comes the responsibility of designing a building that sets a high standard for ecologically responsible construction, and a design that is of a quality and adaptability that ensures the building has the best possible chance of still being here in 100 years’ time.”

The building will use 100% renewable grid electricity and feature rooftop photovoltaic panels, all-electric heating, hot water, and cooling systems, as well as demand-driven displacement ventilation to the office floors.

Enabling works are set to start on site in late summer with the project completing in early 2026.


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