Stratford marks the entrance to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Achieving a rare BREEAM Outstanding score of 92%, this social and restaurant hub showcases the value of timber as a low carbon material, flexible for modern methods of construction.
Working closely with the project team, Arup engineered over 1,100m² of restaurant, visitor and café space, along with 770m² of accessible external terraces.
How can timber cut carbon and add value?
Situated on a bridge above Docklands Light Railway tracks, the three-storey IQL Pavilion needed to be extremely lightweight. To solve this challenge, it is constructed almost entirely from cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glue-laminated timber (glulam). These dramatically reduced weight and carbon compared to concrete, steel and hybrid alternatives. The CLT had 70% lower embodied emissions than concrete when leaving the factory gate, with additional savings on site and sequestration benefits. All timber used on site was sustainably sourced, as certified by the FSC.
Originally intended as a visitor centre and café, the lightweight timber structure allowed an extra level of restaurant space and roof terrace to be added without overloading the bridge. It also avoided the need for expensive transfer structures and minimised foundation depth, saving additional carbon and costs. The choice of timber provided design flexibility too, with glulam beams shaped and CLT panels cut to create the Pavilion’s natural sculptural form. The team optimised the grids to maximise the effectiveness of the timber material, and using Arup’s shake table, we were able to demonstrate to the client the expected levels of vibration to drive a more efficient structural solution.
70% lower embodied emissions using CLT instead of concrete
90%of superstructure prefabricated off site
1%in top percentage of new buildings in UK for sustainability
Embracing modern methods of construction, the timber frame took 14 weeks to erect. Around 90 % of the superstructure was prefabricated off site, with timber arriving precision-cut for immediate use on site. As carpentry joints, alterations and measurements were already completed, the main work for the site team involved lifting and placing the timber, then bolting it into place.
The site was highly constrained, barely larger that the building footprint and located next to railway tracks, occupied buildings and a busy thoroughfare. The use of prefabrication minimised site traffic and cut construction noise and dust for local office workers. In addition, the lightweight timber components could be lifted by small cranes, facilitating approvals for works above the railway tracks. With a smaller site team and fewer hours worked in a high-risk environment, there were also health and safety advantages.
How do you create one of the UK’s most sustainable new buildings?
The Pavilion achieved a BREEAM Outstanding rating, placing it in the top 1% of new buildings in the UK for sustainability. Alongside timber, lower carbon material choices included 70% cement replacement (GGBS) in the shallow foundations. The external timber fins are made of Accoya for a long-lasting exterior.
The Pavilion is connected to the Stratford district heating and cooling network, which supplies low carbon energy. The LETI-aligned façade U values and air tightness levels improve operational energy efficiency and contribute to the project’s EPC A-rating. Arup provided a climate adaption strategy to help futureproof the design against likely future scenarios.
Green spaces and roof terraces on the Pavilion are designed to encourage biodiversity across the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Nesting boxes provide new habitats for protected bird species and local bats. Multi-sensory flowers act as a food source for pollinators and native plants provide habitats for insects.
How do you unlock the power of digital?
The whole design and engineering team collaborated using BIM Level 2, creating a federated model to coordinate and explore issues together. Lendlease then used this model to manage construction, sequencing site works and programme.
3D foundation modelling was vital in designing around the railway exclusion zones and minimising the basement footprint. It led to the lift pit and plant rooms being moved to the north of the building to avoid breaching exclusion zones. In addition, the heavy power network room was located above the plant basement to simplify construction, as this area was not subject to stringent load restrictions.
Arup used advanced footfall analysis to identify where timber beam depth needed to be greater and where steel beams were required, allowing for crowd-loading. The beam depths vary to allow for the generous dining terraces and provide clear service routes in central spaces and planned kitchen areas. To add future flexibility, strategically placed holes were also coordinated in BIM and then precision-cut off site.
The completion of the Pavilion is a real landmark moment for Stratford and recognises Lendlease’s efforts in putting placemaking at the top of our agenda, whilst setting the highest standards of environmental performance in our buildings. ” Kristy Lansdown Project Director for IQL at Lendlease