Bing Thom Architects - Trafalgar Square Installation Print
Friday, 06 February 2009 03:11

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Inspired by the interwoven twigs of birds’ nests—a form that supports and steadies itself—Bing Thom Architects and Fast + Epp Structural Engineers joined forces to showcase a new and unexpected design innovation using wood from British Columbia.




As part of the “Embassies Project” for the London Festival of Architecture (LFA), Canada House was transformed into a demonstration of Vancouver architectural and design expertise with an undulating, 30-foot-high wooden wall wrapped around the corner of the historic embassy building.


Photographs courtesy of Morley von Sternberg, Photographer

BTA_Trafalgar_02.jpgBTA_Trafalgar_06.jpgBTA_Trafalgar_05.jpgThe site at Trafalgar Square afforded a very narrow construction zone between the Grade 2 Listed, Robert Smirke designed Canada House’s walls (which could not be touched), and its perimeter wrought-iron fence.

Western Red Cedar was selected for its lightweight, durability and unique design flexibility. The wood blocks could be easily machined to the right size and fit. Western Red Cedar’s natural resistance to moisture, decay and insect damage made it a good choice for the installation.
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Using three-dimensional modeling software, the continuous flexible 200-foot-long, 27-foot-high “snake-like” Western Red Cedar structure was carefully shaped and strategically placed. This form was chosen to rise high, while maintaining stability in all directions.

“Our wall is meant to inspire people to think about the new, endless possibilities of wood in design and commercial applications,” said Bing Thom. “We didn’t want to simply use straight-edged blocks of wood. So we came up with a system of faceting wood to create curved structures.”
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The self-supporting wall is the first step to exploring this construction system, which can be further developed for many potential commercial applications including retail showrooms, open-concept offices and other similar uses.

Project Credits:

Architect: Bing Thom Architects
Structural Engineer: Fast + Epp Structural Engineers
Contractor: StructureCraft Builders


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Last Updated on Friday, 20 November 2009 14:53