Heath Robinson Museum: meeting low energy ambitions with PEFC-certified timber
3 July 2020 Construction
Communicating the story, personality and ingenuity of British illustrator and painter Heath Robinson, a new contemporary building uses PEFC-certified CLT to make a place for community arts, activity and exhibitions.
The dynamic new Heath Robinson museum in Pinner, UK, combines permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, an archive and a heritage learning centre.
Primarily a new building, it is connected to a much modified Georgian house. A PEFC-certified cross laminated timber (CLT) external and internal structure allows large spans and room heights, without additional roof or wall supports.
The distinct form of the building reflects the idiosyncratic style of Robinson’s illustrations. An innovative and visible structural approach was adopted, much like the beautifully crafted strange machines Robinson drew in his illustrations.
Creating a low energy building was a key design consideration, but also a challenge, due to the large amount of energy needed to provide highly conditioned spaces suitable for sensitive artworks. This ultimately led to the use of CLT for the wall, first floor and roof structure.
The use of CLT substantially reduced the energy required to construct and run the building. Traditionally, museums have high embodied energy and running costs due to the tightly controlled internal conditions. Using CLT for large parts of the building significantly reduced its embodied energy.
Overall, the building has exceeded expectations in the local community. It has delivered the gallery spaces, but also a key home for many community groups, who have come to love this CLT building that provides them with a high-quality, flexible space on a beautiful site in Pinner Memorial Park.
Photo credits: Tom Fish