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London’s Newest Office Tower Was Built Entirely From Timber

Thanks to its materials, the Black & White Building in Shoreditch generates 37 percent less carbon than a concrete structure of the same size.

black and white building london Jake Curtis

Not only is the Black & White Building making headlines as the tallest timber office tower in London, it’s also one of the most sustainable.  

The Office Group’s (TOG) new six-story workspace has officially opened its doors in Shoreditch, and it swaps traditional construction materials with beech, pine and spruce wood. Designed by the UK’s Waugh Thistleton Architects, this marks TOG’s first project out of 50 to be built from the ground up. While the foundation utilizes concrete, the rest of the framework is made up of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and laminated veneer lumber (LVL). In comparison to using steel, iron or cement, working with mass timber allows the building to generate 37 percent less carbon than a concrete structure of the same size. 

“Putting up a timber construction is also about four to six months faster than conventional building methods,” Andrew Waugh of Waugh Thistleton Architects explained to Wallpaper. “What is important to us design-wise is that the building is a sophisticated kit of parts: you can take it apart if you wanted to.”  

black and white building london
The Black & White Building, TOG’s latest workspace in London, has officially opened its doors. Jake Curtis

Since the timber has been slotted together, it can be easily disassembled instead of demolished and better yet, the individual components can be reused. Using passive design techniques, the Black & White Building is powered in part by 80 solar panels that have been installed on the roof. Elsewhere, a central lightwell spans the length of the building bringing natural light to all levels, while the timber louvres that line the exterior help to conserve energy and draw in heat.  

“The Black & White Building represents a major step forward for us, and—I hope—the wider industry too,” said TOG cofounder Charlie Green in a press release. “It’s a statement of who we are and how we will approach sustainability; we don’t need to build the traditional way with concrete and steel anymore.”

black and white building london
The timber-clad tower was constructed by Waugh Thistleton Architects with interiors by Daytrip Studios. Jake Curtis

TOG tapped Daytrip Studios for the interiors, which includes 28 offices, six meeting rooms, multiple lounges, a yoga studio, kitchens and a roof terrace. Naturally, the overall aesthetic has the same organic look and feel as the exterior. “We reacted to the original concept and the sustainable drive and wanted to continue that in the interiors,” Daytrip cofounder Iwan Halstead told Dezeen. “We wanted to respect and celebrate the timber part of the architecture.”  

Halstead added that roughly 80 percent of the furniture was locally sourced from UK suppliers. In addition, timber beams from the old Victorian warehouse that the Black & White Building replaced have been given a new life—they’ve been turned into wooden sculptures that now decorate the lobby.  

Click here to see all the photos of the Black & White Building in London.

Jake Curtis

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