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NEW case study – Wales Institute for Sustainable Education building

4 May 2012

 The multi-award winning design for the Wales Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE) building is a showcase for sustainable building techniques. Timber plays a key role, with the primary structure being a braced glulam timber frame, timber used for the windows and prefabricated timber cassettes used for high
load floor and roofing areas.

The WISE building is part of The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), which is housed in a former quarry just outside Machynlleth,
Powys. It provides the setting for courses in tertiary education and conferences on environmental subjects. The accommodation includes a restaurant, bar, foyer and 200-seat lecture theatre, offices, seminar rooms and other
teaching spaces, and 24 double bedrooms with en suite facilities.

Architects, David Lea and Pat Borer, have designed the WISE building to reflect a modern aesthetic but with environmental performance at
its heart. As a result, it is constructed from materials with low embodied energy, such as the glulam timber frame, hempline walls, windows made with FSC timber frames and home-grown timber floors.

The innovative primary structure sees a series of large gulam beams (supplied by Lilleheden) supported on 200mm square sawn Douglas fir
posts; the connections are made with galvanized steel flitch plates. Meanwhile the timber cassettes used for the floor and roof construction enabled the designers to create large spans while sequestering significant amounts of CO2
into the frame.


View the case study here
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