New Automated Factory Coats French Timber School

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2024

The new Bourdonnières School in Nantes, France, has reportedly become the first project to be completed using cross-laminated timber coated on the world’s largest automated coating production line.

The facility, which offers coatings to protect CLT elements from moisture, UV damage and insects, is owned by renewable product provider Stora Enso.

About the Project

Designed by French architecture firm forma6, the 2,150 square meter (23,142 square foot) school was constructed using Stora Enso’s Sylva prefabricated kit of parts.

The parts were automatically precoated with hydrophobic protection against moisture in the new fully automated production line at the Stora Enso mill in Ybbs an der Donau, Austria. The facility started product at the beginning of this year, and this project is reportedly the first to be completed at the site.

According to Stora Enso, coatings are applied as part of the prefabrication of the components and help streamline on-site construction to protect the mass timber elements, as well as increase the speed of the project.

The school’s façade is reportedly designed with recycled materials and certified bio-based wood fiber insulation, in addition to sustainable and reusable wood. Once open, a total of 230 students will be attending classes at the building, spread across two levels.

The building also features “excellent” indoor air quality, a biophilic design and high acoustic performance, contributing to a strong learning environment for both children and teachers.

Timber specialist OBM explained that the City of Nantes faced an “urgent need” for new sustainably built schools in the area. The range of prefabricated wood-based applications coated with hydrophobic protection shortened construction and installation time, as well as decreased noise pollution and traffic in and around the school area.

“For the construction of the Bourdonnières school we were working on a very tight timeframe and had several constraints at the site itself,” commented Kim Ekberg, Product Manager at Stora Enso.

“For example, we knew that we would have to leave the elements exposed on-site for a period of time, which can be a risk due to the weather. Our hydrophobic coating from our new coating line combats this risk by protecting the wood from absorbing moisture and making it easier to keep the surfaces clean from dirt.”

Recent US Timber Building Projects

Last year, work began for what was anticipated to be the nation’s first net-zero energy government office building made from cross-laminated timber in San Mateo County, California.

The County Office Building 3, or COB3, is expected to be the “new cutting-edge home” for over 600 county employees and will produce 100% of the energy to keep the facility functioning and operational.

The American Society of Civil Engineers reported that the five-story structure with a gross area of 207,000 square feet was designed as a testament to San Mateo County’s environmental stewardship,” as it plans to target Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system.

The facility will combine various county functions that previously had been dispersed among several sites throughout the region in one facility, said Eric Long, a partner at San Francisco-based SOM, which was responsible for the architectural, structural engineering and interior design of the new facility.

The building was reportedly founded on a concrete slab and deep concrete piles, with four steel cores and steel braced frames as its lateral support system. However, COB3 uses mass timber for its columns, beams and flooring.

As a result, the building features an estimated 70% reduction in embodied carbon compared with a similar structure made entirely of steel or concrete, Long said. Additionally, the building is I-shaped in plan, with narrow wings that measure 65 feet wide to facilitate natural ventilation and natural lighting throughout, reducing the facility’s energy footprint.

Building renderings courtesy of forma6; video courtesy of Stora Enso via Youtube.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Building design; Building Envelope; Building facades; Coating Application; Coating Application - Commercial; Coatings; Completed projects; cross-laminated timber; Design - Commercial; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Green building; Latin America; North America; Program/Project Management; Projects - Commercial; Schools; Sustainability; timber; Z-Continents

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